Matt Rooney calls out the Democrats on their hypocrisy

This is a must read from Matt Rooney – one of New Jersey brightest Republican stars (and, hopefully, a future candidate for public office).  Rooney is a South Jersey attorney and editor of the Save Jersey news website.  He often teams up with NJ 101.5’s Bill Spadea both on radio and on Fox’s Chasing News program.

Rooney’s latest column is titled, As rich white guys battle for control, N.J. Democrats’ rhetoric doesn’t match their reality.  In it, Rooney makes these important points:  

For all the progressive/woke/social justice warrior BS we hear from New Jersey Democrats these days, their party’s power structure is remarkably simple and boils down to two mega rich white guys (Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive and Norcross, a labor leader turned insurance industry titan) battling over the Garden State’s Iron Throne.

Power, money, tax credits, crony capitalism, special legislation… even loyalty oaths.

…My issue here is one of intellectual integrity. The public sector unions are powerful, you bet, but the NJEA couldn’t touch Steve Sweeney (the Senate President and the Norcross-led machine’s top elected asset) in the 2017 election.

Diversity gets a lot of lip service from the Left in this state, but New Jersey’s most powerful Democrat decision-makers (Murphy, Sweeney, Norcross, Assembly Speaker Coughlin) are all older white dudes. We hear a lot about the “working class” from Trenton, but each and every policy and budget are designed to put the screws to taxpayers in favor of keeping these rich guys and their power structures chugging right along.

What I’m saying is that Democrats’ lofty rhetoric doesn’t match their reality. On either side of this fight. New Jersey’s true form of government is a blend of socialism and oligarchy (with a sprinkle of kleptocracy for good measure).

They may disagree with one another on tax credits and a small handful of other issues, but Leftist economic policies supported by both sides of the Murphy-Norcross divide haven’t helped the Middle Class in this state. New Jersey’s women, minority communities, and millennials are being left out of the economic BOOM sweeping the rest of the country as a direct result of the aforementioned bad decision and sometimes self-serving business decisions of the Democrat power elite which has dominated the legislature (and therefore Trenton) for almost two full decades.

Helping the Middle Class = lowering property taxes. None of these guys are talking about that. Ever wonder why?

Yes, why indeed?

You can read Matt Rooney’s entire column here…

https://savejersey.com/2019/05/as-rich-white-guys-battle-for-control-n-j-democrats-rhetoric-doesnt-match-their-reality/

Jeff Brindle just destroyed NJELEC's reputation

Jeff Brindle is the NJELEC executive director who recently waded into partisan political campaigns in two legislative districts.  Brindle posted a column on David Wildstein's old website, Observer.com (formerly PolitickerNJ.com, AKA PoliticsNJ.com) which was quickly picked-up by Wally Edge alumnus Matt Friedman over at Politico.

For the record, here is what Wally Edge wrote about Jeff Brindle at the time of his appointment:

Brindle was active in Republican politics before taking a post at ELEC. He worked as a political consultant in the 1970's, served as New Brunswick GOP Municipal Chairman, worked on the legislative staffs of State Sen. John Ewing and Assemblymen Walter Kavanaugh and Elliot Smith, and as Deputy Somerset County Clerk. He was the Republican candidate for State Assembly in the 17th district in 1977, but lost the general election to Democrats David Schwartz and Joseph Patero. He joined state government after Thomas Kean's election as Governor and was the Communications Director at the Department of Community Affairs from 1982 to 1985.

http://www.politickernj.com/wallye/30639/elec-picks-ex-gop-operative-executive-director

Old Wally knew his stuff.  By-the-way, did you catch the name of Brindle's political godfather? 

For someone who is supposed to be a fair-dealer in these matters, Brindle's tone and language in his Observer column is in marked contrast to what he employed in the past.  For instance, when commenting in 2015 on the more than $3 million raised by a SuperPAC named the General Majority PAC, Brindle was positively sanguine about it:  "Usually, an election with just Assembly candidates on the ballot is a low-key affair.  But the involvement of the independent committees is definitely adding some drama this year."

"Drama," is it?  Well compare that with Brindle's breathless -- and deeply subjective -- alarm in Thursday's Observer column:

"The active participation of Stronger Foundations Inc. in the Republican primaries in the 24th and 26th legislative districts is a fresh example of why legislation needs to be enacted to require registration and disclosure by independent groups.

The group has spent $275,100 on these primary races in North Jersey, but the public knows very little about where the money is going or what the group’s agenda is."

As opposed to what?  The General Majority PAC?

We know that "this group" spent $275,000 on two primary races in New Jersey., which Brindle, using the group's disclosures with NJELEC, was able to break down.  From these disclosures, Brindle was able to discover that the money was being spent on advertising and polling, as well as who was behind the group and why it was organized:

"To its credit, Stronger Foundations Inc. filed independent expenditure reports with ELEC, showing it had spent $63,300 in the 24th district and $211,800 in the 26th district as of May 25.

Among the information the public can glean from Stronger Foundations expenditure reports is that that the group is working with MWW Group, a highly regarded public relations firm, and McLaughlin and Associates, a nationally respected polling firm.

...A Google search did indicate that the person who registered on behalf of the group is employed by International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 in Springfield. The union helped spear-head last year’s successful efforts to raise the state gas tax and enact a new long-range transportation improvement plan. It’s political action committee also is a top contributor to New Jersey campaigns."

Brindle then writes this most curious sentence:

"A voter reading the independent expenditure reports filed by Stronger Foundation Inc. wouldn’t know any of this."

Well hell, has he seen what information is required by NJELEC to file a political action committee subject to full disclosure?  To find out anything really useful about the mission or policies or current political goals of any organization subject to full disclosure by NJELEC, you would have to use Google and find the group's website or news articles written about it.

At present, NJELEC requires only the vaguest information be disclosed by political action committees and those filing an A-3 are required to disclose practically nothing at all.  As weak as the NJELEC's D-4 PAC registration form is to start with, it soon becomes useless as an organization grows, adds or removes leadership, or changes its direction.  Why isn't the D-4 required yearly?  Without a yearly D-4, even for basic information, any voter would have to consult Google.

And yet, knowing this, Brindle bangs on and on about "the group" painting an ever-darkening picture of what is -- at the final accounting -- perfectly LEGAL behavior that has been codified as such by the UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT.

Writing as one might about gay marriage, Brindle employs phrases to give the impression that something very bad is going on when, in fact, it is perfectly legal and has been ruled so by the highest Court in the land:

Let's start with the headline:  "Mystery Spender on NJ Races Again Shows Need for More Disclosure."

"...the public knows very little about where the money is going or what the group’s agenda is."  Under NJELEC's weak rules, they never do.

"These groups do have a First Amendment right to be engaged in the electoral process and spend unlimited sums. That much is clear. At the same time, the public has a right to know who is behind the group and what it stands for."  That is Brindle's opinion (and we agree) but unfortunately, neither NJELEC or, more importantly, the United States Supreme Court appear to agree with us.  And, as Brindle works for NJELEC (and it follows federal law, we assume), why is he painting this nefarious picture?

"Political parties, candidates and political action committees are subject to registration and disclosure requirements. Why shouldn’t the same guidelines apply to these groups?"  Brindle knows darn well why -- the Supreme Court said so.  Besides which, Brindle's NJELEC "registration and disclosure" requirements are a joke and are out-of-date.

"...If they finance advertisements that do not specifically call for the support or opposition to a candidate in their communications, there is no filing requirement at all. And anyone familiar with the process knows it is easy for high-powered operatives to finesse the language and avoid reporting."  Once again, Brindle full well knows that this is federal law.  As for finessing language, that is precisely what he is doing here.

"Disclosure is important because independent groups can become surrogates for candidates they support, undertake harsh attacks against the opponent, and do so with no accountability."  Yes, we agree, but -- once again -- no law made in New Jersey will overturn a U.S. Supreme Court decision.  So, why are you writing as though it would?  Simply to paint a nefarious picture?

"At the same time, the candidate who benefits from the independent spending can claim to have no association with the group, thereby not being accountable for its activities."  Now this shows Brindle to be something of an accomplished liar.  He darn well should know that it is illegal for a candidate to have an "association" with such a group.

"Because it is the mission of the Election Law Enforcement Commission to bring disclosure of campaign finance information to the public, the staff often will dig more deeply into these organizations to ascertain where its support comes from. When that information can be obtained, ELEC makes the information available to the public."  So NJELEC is doing opposition research on groups operating legally under the Constitution of the United States of America?  Why?  Because E.D. Brindle thinks the law is wrong and so a little spying is in order?  And you are using taxpayers' money for this?

"The public, however, does not have the time nor inclination to investigate these groups and therefore is often robbed of the opportunity to make informed opinions about a group’s motives or even the veracity of its message."  Maybe they don't care about it in precisely the way E.D. Brindle does -- or whoever put him up to writing this obvious hit piece.  In any case, it is NJELEC Brindle's "motives" that are at question here because, after all, they are taxpayer-funded.

"This is why it is important for the Legislature to pass legislation that would bring greater transparency to the process by requiring registration and disclosure by independent groups. Both parties have introduced bills to bring about more disclosure."  Yes, we agree, start with an annual D-4 for those who currently do disclose and then fashion legislation that will pass Constitutional muster.  Don't spend a lot of taxpayers' money and waste a lot of taxpayer-paid staff's time only to have your law chucked out by a federal court.  If your staff have so much free time on their hands, cut some and save the taxpayers some money.

"...If the primary figure is any guide, these largely anonymous groups will once again dominate the general election at the expense of more accountable political parties and candidates.  It is long past time for matters to be set right in New Jersey by bringing balance back to the electoral system, by strengthening the political parties, requiring registration and disclosure by independent groups, and offsetting the growing influence of organizations that would often operate anonymously."  This is coming from the man who, in 2015, dismissed this as little more than "drama"?  What's changed? 

What this is, is a hit piece, written by a political consultant turned career bureaucrat with a mentor named Tom Kean.  It was a disgraceful act for NJELEC's executive director to wade into partisan political campaigns the weekend before an election and offer his words in a way he knew or should have known would have an outcome on that election. 

 Jeff Brindle is himself an undisclosed independent expenditure.  We cannot be sure who put him up to this.  What we can be sure of is that he should go, for so long as he is at the head of NJELEC its veracity is in question and its trustworthiness is shit.

Did Guadagno and others "hide" from fiscal reality?

By Wm. Winkler

From all quarters, this is the season of madness.  We have the "Trump Derangement Syndrome" of the Left and in New Jersey, we have the irrationality of those who believe that you can go on forever without paying the cost of basic infrastructure.  And the madness is growing in its intensity and violence.  Recently a GOP county committeeman showed up at a meeting looking for me, walking up and down the rows of folded chairs, brandishing a firearm -- and all because I had disagreed with him on the gas tax. 

The police have had to investigate this and other incidents because certain demagogues have painted as monsters those who said it was time to face up to a debt crisis.  What should have been a rational, civil debate over tax policy has produced such violent emotion that there are now a number of people who wouldn't mind relieving themselves on our graves -- and the sooner the better, they say.  Hence a political environment where a gunman comes calling.

Is this America -- or Weimar?

Two recent direct mail pieces by Republicans illustrate the irrationality that has poisoned the debate.  One mailer, by Assembly candidate John Cesaro, attacks an opponent for voting to increase the tax on gasoline that funds the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).  Mr. Cesaro, an incumbent Morris County Freeholder, makes his attack apparently oblivious to the fact that the county he runs and the half-dozen municipalities he works for have applied for and received millions in TTF funding for road and bridge repair and maintenance, as well as for other construction projects.  Without the money from the TTF, those repairs and maintenance would have to be paid for by increases in local property taxes.

Another mailer, this one from the gubernatorial campaign of Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, goes into histrionics over the "outrageous 23 cents gas tax hike" that she was directly responsible for.  Even before taking power, her transition team endorsed $1.2 billion in new borrowing for the TTF.  They kicked the need for a gas tax increase down the road by relying on massive borrowing -- the very thing that they had criticized Governor Jon Corzine for and claimed that they would not do.

There was another enormous influx of borrowing in 2012, with the Transportation Trust Fund Renewal (V) that authorized $1.6 billion in spending each year until 2016.  More spending was authorized despite the fact that the last time the gas tax produced enough revenue to pay for transportation infrastructure needs in New Jersey was in 1990. 

The gas tax remained at 14 1/2 cents since 1988.  While every other state in America raised its gas tax to keep up with inflation, while President Ronald Reagan doubled the federal gas tax to keep up with inflation, New Jersey's political establishment did the dishonest but popular thing of not raising the gas tax and instead borrowed more and more -- and New Jersey fell deeper and deeper into debt.

While everything else was adjusted for inflation again and again, the gas tax was not.  Why?  Because politicians could point to low gas prices whenever a property taxpayer complained about having the highest in the nation property taxes.   As property taxes doubled and then doubled again -- costing taxpayers thousands upon thousands each year -- politicians would point to the gas tax and tell them they'd saved a couple hundred. 

But they hadn't saved anything.  They just passed the costs on to their children and grandchildren. 

It was all an illusion, a dishonesty willingly believed by a public who on some level must have known that it was all bunk.  After all, the average new car cost $10,400 in 1988.  Today it is $33,560.  It went against every knowledgeable fiber in their bodies to believe the nonsense that the cost to maintain the roads and bridges they drove those cars on would remain the same for 28 years.

The average citizen understands "adjustments for inflation" because they depend on them.  Retirees and others on social security receive yearly cost-of-living increases based on such inflation adjustments.  Here are the adjustments for inflation that should have triggered increases in the gasoline tax, year-by-year, since 1988:  4.0% in 1988, 4.7% in 1989, 5.4% in 1990, 3.7% in 1991, 3% in 1992, 2.6% in 1993, 2.8% in 1994, 2.6% in 1995, 2.9% in 1996, 2.1% in 1997, 1.3% in 1998, 2.5% in 1999, 3.5% in 2000, 2.6% in 2001, 1.4% in 2002, 2.1% in 2003, 2.7% in 2004, 4.1% in 2005, 3.3% in 2006, 2.3% in 2007, 5.8% in 2008, zero in 2009, zero in 2010, 3.6% in 2011, 1.7% in 2012, 1.5% in 2013, 1.7% in 2014, zero in 2015, and .3% in 2016.  But instead, New Jersey's gas tax remained at 14 1/2 cents since 1988.

They ignored the fact that the principal revenue source funding transportation in New Jersey hadn't been adjusted for inflation since 1988 and hadn't produced enough revenue to pay for New Jersey's transportation needs since 1990.    Because of the debt that was allowed to accumulate, by 2015 the annual cost of that debt to taxpayers was $1.1 billion -- outstripping the $750 million in revenue from the gas tax.

Last year, we were treated to cries about how much it cost to build a road in New Jersey.  The source was a report from the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank.  One was led to believe that the report was a singular event.  In fact, these problems were first identified in October 2008 and then annually after that.  Why were they not addressed?  Why was there no outcry over "road costs" from the politicians, the press, and the public when more billions were borrowed in 2009 and again in 2012?  Why was no one concerned about "road costs" so long as the state was borrowing more and kicking the costs down the road?  Why did it only become a problem when some people suggested that, after 28 years, it was time to face up to reality?

In public the politicians fretted about the size of the gas tax increase, but all the while they knew exactly why.  If members of New Jersey's political establishment wanted to know why it was necessary to raise the gas tax by 23 cents, all they had to do was look into a mirror.  23 cents a gallon, all in one hit, is what you get when politicians suspend the iron rules of economics and tell people that they can have something for nothing.  This is what happens when you don't adjust the cost of something for inflation.  A business would have gone bankrupt, but politicians know they can be heroes today and get re-elected, by passing the bill to a future generation.  It will be some else's problem.

Freeholder Cesaro and Lt. Governor Guadagno are not bad people.  In their records of public service, there is much to commend them for.  They are both good Republicans who have had positive effects on the growth of our party and on the well being of their communities.  As a stand-alone position, their opposition to a tax increase on gasoline is perfectly defensible and could well be described as "conservative."  But it is not defensible in the context of the immoral dereliction, nonfeasance, and dishonesty by the political establishment in New Jersey, who wantonly ignored the fact that for decades the gas tax had not produced sufficient revenue for the state's transportation infrastructure needs as defined by the Legislature and the Executive. 

And the violence of the emotions, deliberately stirred-up, hasn't illuminated the discussion any. 

Are social conservatives being duped by AFP?

On Monday, the state director of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) put out a letter outlining the economic problems in New Jersey and opposing any new tax on petroleum products.  Of course, AFP is run by David H. Koch, a New York City billionaire ($43.3 billion and counting) who is an owner at Koch Industries and whose core business is the refining and distribution of petroleum. 

The letter was signed by six organizations whose principal mission is the advancement of traditional values and conservative social and cultural ideals.  They backed-up AFP, but would AFP ever back up them?  That's not likely, because the Chairman of AFP -- yes, the same David H. Koch -- is a social liberal.  But don't take our word for it.  Here is what Wikipedia had to say about him:

(David) Koch considers himself a social liberal,[22] supporting women's right to choose,[23] gay rightssame-sex marriage and stem-cell research.[3][24] He opposes the war on drugs.

Ditto for Frayda Levin, the co-founder of AFP's New Jersey chapter.  AFP has been AWOL on every issue from same-sex marriage to illegal immigration. 

Ronald Reagan was a social as well as an economic conservative.  He believed in an America built on Judeo-Christian values and the Western tradition of free speech and free markets.  David Koch is no Reaganite.  In fact, he opposed Ronald Reagan in 1980 -- as the Libertarian Party's candidate for Vice President -- running on a platform  that included the following planks:

"We therefore call for the elimination of all restriction on immigration, the abolition of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Border Patrol, and a declaration of full amnesty for those people who have entered the country illegally."

" We support an end to all subsidies for child-bearing built into our present laws, including all welfare plans and the provision of tax-supported services for children. We further support the repeal of all laws restricting voluntary birth control or the right of the woman to make a personal moral choice regarding the termination of pregnancy."

"We defend the rights of individuals to engage in (or abstain from) any religious activities which do not violate the rights of others. In order to defend religious freedom, we advocate a strict separation of church and state."

"The repeal of all laws regarding consensual sexual relations, including prostitution and solicitation, and the cessation of state oppression and harassment of homosexual men and women, that they, at least, be accorded their full rights as individuals" 

"We believe that 'children' are human beings and, as such, have the same rights as any other human beings. Any reference in the Platform to the rights of human beings includes children."

"The repeal of all laws prohibiting the production, sale, possession, or use of drugs, and of all medical prescription requirements for the purchase of vitamins, drugs and similar substances".

"The repeal of all laws interfering with the right to commit suicide as infringements of the ultimate right of an individual to his or her own life".

"We support recognition of the right to political secession. Exercise of this right, like the exercise of all other rights, does not remove legal and moral obligations not to violate the rights of others."

"We call for the withdrawal of all American troops from bases abroad. In particular, we call for the removal of the U.S. Air Force as well as ground troupes from the Korean peninsula."

"We favor immediate independence for all colonial dependencies, such as Samoa, Guam, Micronesia, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico".

"Government interference in transportation is characterized by monopolistic restriction, corruption, and gross inefficiency. We therefore call for the dissolution of all government agencies concerned with transportation, including the Department of Transportation, the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Civil Aeronautics Board, the Federal Maritime Commission, Conrail and Amtrak. We demand the return of America's railroad system to private ownership. We call for the privatization of the public roads and national highway system."

And that, as they say, is how David H. Koch rolls...

AFP's letter takes a stab at the nagging problem of finding the money to keep our roads drivable and our bridges from falling down on our children's heads. Mainly it tells us what not to do -- don't increase the retail cost of a product that billionaire Koch makes money off of.  It doesn't give us a pathway forward.

A couple weeks ago, AFP released its own version of the state budget for 2017.  It reminded us of an earlier budget, written by the same expert, back in 2011. The current document is less explicit, but you can see where things are heading quite clearly in the earlier one.  Under the section "Department of Transportation", there is a discussion about how road projects should be prioritized.  There we find this gem:

"Projects with the least cost and greatest benefit to the state should be chosen first, there by encouraging local governments to commit greater resources in order to 'tilt' the cost-benefit ratio towards their projects.  AFP believes this method of incentivizing local participation will not only help bridge the funding gap but more importantly provide a model for moving forward with more efficient utilization of taxpayer funds for future projects."

That word -- "resources"-- scares us.  Isn't that bureaucrat-speak for "tax money"? 

So let's see.  Local governments (municipal and county) get their "resources" from property tax revenue.  AFP is advocating that local governments increase the "resources" they pledge towards a road project, thereby decreasing the cost to the state.  But not to the people who pay property taxes.  Their cost will go up because property taxes will go up.

Really?  Is this how we are going to "bridge the funding gap"?  With higher property taxes?  The highest in America... still going higher?  Really?  Think again.

GOP for 2017: Abolish the State Income Tax

Why not?  The tax is a scam based on a lie.

It was passed on the promise of property tax relief... and then the Courts, that failsafe of the political and corporate establishment, got in on the action to redirect (steal) most of the money paid by suburban and rural taxpayers to urban political machines so that they can give generous tax breaks to their corporate co-conspirators.  Of course, they gave the poor as their reason for doing so and forty years later... New Jersey is facing a poverty explosion with the highest poverty levels in 50 years. 

So it wasn't done for the poor because the poor are still poor and there are more of them than ever before, but there are lots and lots of politicians who got very fat and very rich off the income tax scam and lots and lots of corporations that got millions in tax breaks because of it.  Why should suburban and rural taxpayers subsidize rich corporations and make corrupt political machines more powerful?

After 40 years, maybe suburban and rural taxpayers are tired of the scam, built on a lie?

After 40 years, maybe the urban poor are tired of having their hunger-wracked bodies used as a means to make the rich richer and the corrupt more powerful?

Maybe it is time for some truly revolutionary action like abolishing the state income tax?

Professor Murray Sabrin thinks so.  Here is his opinion column from today's Bergen Record/ NorthJersey.com:

 

Opinion: Why New Jersey should abolish the state income tax

JANUARY 27, 2016    LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2016, 1:21 AM

BY MURRAY SABRIN

THE RECORD

NEW JERSEY'S motto, "Liberty and Prosperity," was adopted in 1777, a year after the colonists declared their independence. Although the state motto implies that New Jersey would be a free and independent state, the truth of the matter is that New Jersey's state government has adopted an anti-liberty agenda for decades.

In a free society, which is based upon a market economy, all participants make voluntary choices in order to improve their lives. I call this a Mutual Consent Society, where no one is coerced to buy or sell any good or service against their will. Isn't this the "American" way? The freedom to choose?

In other words, involuntary exchanges — theft, robbery, murder, etc. — which Frederick Bastiat identified as "illegal plunder" in his 1850 monograph, "The Law," are prohibited in a civilized society, because these acts violate the natural (property) rights of every individual in society.

Conversely, Bastiat then concluded that governments must not engage in "legal plunder," for the same reason individuals cannot engage in illegal plunder. They are acts of aggression and coercion. Bastiat identified legal plunder — progressive taxation and public schools, among other government polices — as detrimental to a harmonious society.

For Bastiat, the law (force) should not be used to force people how to live their lives and spend their money. Using the law to coerce people, argues Bastiat, negates the principle of justice and violates the rights of individuals.

Although most people across the political spectrum consider "public education" an indispensable institution in a democracy, the truth of the matter is that education has become a political football. Instead of providing students with the skills necessary to become independent thinkers, our public schools have become indoctrination centers.

In place of having a curriculum that focuses on basic skills, yes, the three Rs, K-12 public education has morphed into a cheering gallery for anti-free-enterprise propaganda, extolling the virtues of activist government policies to solve social problems.

Legal plunder

An income tax, whether it is progressive (tax rate increasing as incomes increase) or flat (one rate on all incomes, usually with a substantial standard deduction, making a flat tax somewhat progressive in reality), is a classic example of legal plunder, because it is a gross violation of private property.

In the 20th century, a stinging critique of progressive taxation by Frank Chodorov, "The Income Tax: Root of All Evil," was published. He argues that the so-called ability-to-pay doctrine is a pernicious assault on private property and undermines the productivity of the economy. Chodorov shows that the income tax, ironically, hurts poor people more than wealthy income earners, because taxation in general and the income tax specifically reduces the amount of capital in society and therefore job creation.

As far as New Jersey's 40-year income tax is concerned, it began in 1976 with only two rates, 2 percent and 2.5 percent, and was enacted to provide property tax relief and increase school aid. As the U.S. economy was on an upswing from the depths of the 1973 — 1975 recession, tax revenue flowed to Trenton, making Gov. Brendan Byrne's promise a reality.

Over the years, New Jersey's income tax has become more progressive. Currently, incomes less than $20,000 are taxed at 1.4 percent and incomes greater than $500,000 are taxed at 8.97 percent, a far cry from the relatively flat tax that was imposed in 1976.

The income tax was supposed to provide tax relief for all taxpayers but instead has turned into a massive redistribution of income from suburban taxpayers to urban school districts, courtesy of a series of state Supreme Court decisions calling for more state aid to provide a constitutionally mandated "thorough and efficient education" to all public school children.

Eliminate school funding

The reforms needed to create a Mutual Consent Society in New Jersey is clear: Abolish the state income tax and eliminate taxpayer funding for K–12 education and pre-K, so education decisions can be made by parents and provided by competent teachers instead of career bureaucrats in Washington and Trenton.

In addition, abolishing the income tax would provide the fuel for a more robust economy, the best anti-poverty program there is.

The wisdom of both Bastiat and Chodorov is more relevant today given the widespread legal plunder that exists in New Jersey and throughout the country. If the people of New Jersey want to live up to the state's motto, "liberty and prosperity," we must abolish the state income tax and return education decisions to parents and teachers.

Murray Sabrin is a professor of finance at Ramapo College.