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AFP-NJ Announces Taxpayer Tea Party to Protest Gov. Corzines’s Tax Hikes, April 15

In AFP-NJ, Jon Corzine, new jersey fiscal crisis, Stimulus Bill, tax protest, tea party on March 24, 2009 at 8:07 pm

New Jersey citizens urge Corzine to reduce spending, reject stimulus money

Join AFP-NJ along with grassroots activists across the country on April 15th at 5PM for a Taxpayer Tea Party to protest Governor Corzine’s proposed tax hikes.

NJ has the worst tax climate in the nation, and yet Governor Corzine continues to rely on tax revenues to support the state’s overgrown budget. This tradition has left us poorly positioned to deal with the economic recession.

Even with the so-called stimulus funds that are coming to New Jersey– totaling $2 billion– Governor Corzine has introduced a FY 2010 state budget with a $7 billion deficit, and massive tax hikes to go along with it.

Governor Corzine continues to increase taxes—it is the same mistake over and over again. Taxpayers have carried the burden of these mistakes long enough– It’s critical to fight back against this proposed budget and its tax hikes!

Urge Governor Corzine and state legislators to take the first step in mending this $7 billion deficit by cutting the size of the state budget and planning for New Jersey’s financial future.
What: Taxpayer Tea Party
Who: Americans for Prosperity
When: Wednesday, April 15, 5:00pm
Where: Johnson Park ( River Road, Piscataway Township)

For more information or to register, click here or call 201-487-8844

Do any of the people posting here have any specific recommendations related to closing a $2.5 million budget gap

In BOE, new jersey fiscal crisis, Ridgewood Public Schools on March 24, 2009 at 1:36 pm

I believe that understanding the situation and “doing your homework” applies to all of the people who want to contribute to this blog.
The District’s budget is not hidden. It is completely transparent to everyone in the community.

9:54 – what’s he hiding? Read the budget and find it yourself. Then tell us.
5:51 – how much would your recommendations, as vague as they are, save in real dollars? Anywhere close to $2.5 million? Read the budget, find some money there that’s wasteful, go to the BOE meetings, and make your specific recommendations.
8:57 – define incompetent, specifically as it relates to all aspects of Regina’s job. How much, exactly, are secretaries paid? If you know, then let us all know, so we can address that situation. How many supervisory people do we have, exactly, in math? How does that compare with the other disciplines like English, Science, Foreign Language, etc. Do you know? And what are your recommendations – specifically – for cleaning up the patchwork administrative structures? Do you have any? If so, please share them, because we all really do want to hear constructive ideas.

And finally, 9:19, I ask you…do you have any specific recommendations to make? If you don’t have the time, then please make the time. Read the budget. Remember, being a member of the BOE is an unpaid, volunteer position, and those people make the time…if you want to contribute, then you should make the time as well.
11:58 – Specifics please. Do you know how much the budget is? Have you read it? Historically how much does Ridgewood get from the state? Can Ridgewood fund it’s own schools? How much of our budget goes to teacher’s salaries and benefits? If that number keeps growing at a faster rate than Ridgewood can fund it (and there IS a limit there – do you know what it is?) then what’s available to fund the rest of the budget?

People, people…help SOLVE the problems by understanding the issues, and the rules surrounding them.

And by the way, I know the answers to SOME of the questions I’ve raised…not all. I’m not criticizing the BOE or the District here…I’m asking those who are criticizing to please become informed.

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Consolidating the art and music supervisors and departments: How much does this really save us?

In BOE, new jersey fiscal crisis, Ridegwood Schools on March 21, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Consolidating the art and music supervisors and departments seems like a political decision the Board of Education is making so they can say that cuts are being made at all levels.

How much does this really save vs. the impact it will have on our children? I wonder if the Board has even looked into other ways to save this nominal sum… Why are the arts always the first curricular area to suffer?

Are the arts something that we as Ridgewood residents are willing to sacrifice? It seems that this is one of the very aspects that sets Ridgeood schools apart from other school disticts. In the past the math and science departments used to be combined. They were seperated for a reason. Really…does a music supervisor know anything about successful art education and cutting edge Web 2.0 technology taught in advanced multimedia classes?

If you don’t want to see the art and music departments turn into the substandard norm that other school disticts have, it’s time to act. Cuts that directly make our children suffer should not be made. Let the Board of Ed. know, as I have, that this distruction of one of our most shining programs is not representivite of what this town wants or needs.

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What suddenly happened to all of our money?

In Betty Wiest, BOE elections, Jacque Harlowe, new jersey fiscal crisis, VC on March 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Maybe some of this Board of Ed reduction is long overdue reduction of bloated waste. But I have some questions: Why are we in a crisis? Our taxes didn’t go down. The budget didn’t go down. Why are we making it one year and failing the next?

Same question for the Village council. What suddenly happened to all of our money? Did we give it away to charity? Was it invested with Madoff? Why are we suddenly in dire consequences?

At the Daily Treat today, we discussed B. Weist’s letter to the Editor in which she pats herself and Jacques Harlow on the back for something or other in today’s Ridgewood News. Presumably this is in anticipation of the Weist Harlow campaign slogan of bring back the good old days, and she is just the person to take advantage of gathering storm clouds for her own benefit. But, did this council spend our way into the red? Or did the prior council (the one Betty was booted from)? Just what happened? Where did the money go? Who is going to be held accountable and when?

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BOE to Formally Announce Cost Cutting Measures on March 23

In BOE, new jersey fiscal crisis, Ridgewood Schools on March 21, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Excerpt from BOE Budget Summary:

“The administration has proposed consolidation of the supervision of the music and art departments; we are also eliminating 6.64 secretaries, 6 teachers (these teachers will be replaced with teachers who currently have out of classroom assignments), 9 aides, and one half of the lunch aides. In addition, we are cutting in all areas of co-curricular activities, including athletics. We are also making cuts in professional development and substitute allocations and are forced to use a restricted capital reserve account to make needed facility repairs. This list is not complete but does reflect the crisis we are facing. Also, the administration is committed to taking a hard line towards the renewal of contracts for maintenance and custodial services, purchasing services, energy management services, and health benefits.”

People are making the mistake of thinking the BOE has alternatives and they don’t

In BOE, new jersey fiscal crisis, Ridegwood Schools on March 13, 2009 at 2:49 pm

People are making the mistake of thinking the BOE has alternatives and they don’t. We have a huge budget deficit due to the continued increase in compensation, health care costs, deteriorating facilities, special education costs and the fact that the State of NJ has capped budget increases to 4% per year. 80+% of the budget is related to compensation for teachers, staff, etc…. You can only cut so much out of the other 20% and even doing that does not really have that much of an effect in total dollars because there really isn’t any one thing of size that can be cut. That leaves cutting staff as the one place where reductions can be made that will have a significant real dollar impact on the budget. We may not like it but it is probably going to be necessary.

The entire country is being “resized” as leverage comes out of the system. People and businesses are being forced to recognize the difference between “wants” and “needs.” Education is not going to be an exception. Jobs are going to be lost, programs are going to be cut, and class sizes are going to grow, it is inevitable. I would think in the next year or so you will see a fairly dramatic reduction in the course offerings at RHS as the realization that we are running a HS not a Liberal Arts College takes hold and some of the specialized courses that have a handful of students at the most are eliminated or offered on a fee only basis. “Wants” are going to be reduced or eliminated and “needs” are going to be streamlined and continued.

Real Estate values have shrunk and people are now much more aware of risk and they don’t like it. Saving rates are growing rapidly as people curtail their spending and they will be much more prudent in their spending habits going forward. They will be much more inquisitive on where their money is being spent and much more demanding that it be spent on things that truly matter. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Hopefully it will engage more people in the process and bring some new ideas to the table and it should bring us back to the core subjects and core needs for our kids. It will make us more aware and more appreciative of what our town and schools have to offer and the advantages our kids are exposed to. It will not come without pain and loss but the end result could be that we will be a more focused, more efficient, more relevant school district. The time for blame is past, we are all guilty of spending too much on things we really didn’t need and now it is time for us, the BOE, the Village of Ridgewood to pay. If we do it rationally and intelligently we can avoid real long term pain and come out on the other end with a better school system and a more attractive town.

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The Ridgewood Blog presents and Exclusive Interview with Gubernatorial Candidate Steve Lonegan

In big government, new jersey fiscal crisis, Obama, PJ Blogger, Steve Lonegan, the Ridgewood blog on March 6, 2009 at 12:01 am

So after a little phone tag I finally had an opportunity to sit down with Steve Lonegan and talk the campaign ,Chris Christie ,Governor Corzine and the New Jersey Supreme Court .What stuck me the most is that behind the visions of a tough veteran campaigner is a very passionate man that cares a lot about people .Our interview in the midst of a long day on the campaign trail was only interrupted by a call from his mom.

So I started with something that always bugs me How can a guy running against government subsidies ,take matching funds to run a political campaign ? You see ,he said and i paraphrase ,Corzine can reach into his pocket and take out $60 million bucks but my own mother can only give me around $3400 so either you have to lift the limits or I would be at a huge disadvantage in not take the matching funds.

I pressed him on why he thought he could really cut state spending and he assured me that cutting down and consolidating the number of departments in the state was very doable . He also reminded me that Pennsylvania one of the states New Jersey residents have been fleeing to ,has a flat tax so there was no reason we couldn’t do it here. He pointed me to his record running Bogota and how he enacted similar cuts .The difference being on a state level you had to add more zeros .

This moved our conversation to Bogota and that it had only 8000 residents and I wondered if he thought that was a fair comparison to Trenton ? Again he reminded me and I know this to be true from running this blog ,that in Trenton you have a lot of room to hide but at a local level you are looking people in the eye everyday who you might be dramatically effecting their lives.

This moved us to an other issue it seems Steve has his work cut out for him not only does he have to compete against the deep pockets of Jon Corzine and the Democratic machine but he also has to fight the “chosen one” every Republicans favorite son Chris Christie and the extremely liberal Republican party in this state .

Abbott and COAH were next on the table for discussion and changing the extremely redistributive almost socialistic NJ Supreme Court (my words ). Steve once again reminded me that as Governor he will have the opportunity to appoint 4 new justices and he assured me that the there is a pool of traditional constitutional defending judges.

Finally he stated that he is far more optimistic in the future than I and that the chief threat to New Jersey’s economy are the policies of Jon Corzine and in particular the very destructive policies of Barack Obama .

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Big Shocker : Corzine Looks to Raise taxes ..AGAIN!

In Jon Corzine, new jersey fiscal crisis, taxes on March 3, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Corzine may raise income taxes for N.J.’s wealthiest

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/03/corzine_may_raise_income_taxes.html

Posted by cjrothma March 02, 2009 20:06PM

Gov. Jon Corzine is considering raising income taxes on New Jersey’s wealthiest residents, a wage freeze and 12-day furlough for state workers, and increases in the cigarette, wine and liquor taxes, according to people familiar with budget negotiations.

Corzine, who will release his budget next week, is considering a 5 percent surcharge on the taxes paid by residents with incomes of $250,000 or higher, according to four people familiar with the budget who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the governor’s plans.

The Democratic governor is also weighing increasing the cigarette tax by 10 cents a pack as well as hikes to wine and liquor taxes as he grapples with a $7 billion shortfall. The liquor tax increases would not affect the tax on beer.

In total, the tax hikes would produce about $400 million in revenue, those familiar with the budget said.

Another $400 million in savings could come from freezing wages for state workers as well as requiring them to take off 12 unpaid furlough days, or one each month starting in July, according to an administration official.

The spending plan, which Corzine has projected in the $29 billion range, is still being finalized. Corzine is scheduled to present his budget proposal to the Legislature a week from Tuesday.

Corzine’s spokesman, Robert Corrales, declined comment.

“Everything is on the table,” Corrales said. “All options are open during this unprecedented national fiscal crisis.”

Corzine’s plan would increase taxes on those with incomes over $250,000 by 5 percent of their current income tax bill. For example, a resident paying $10,000 would pay $10,500. The levy would affect about five percent of New Jersey’s population, and would only be charged for one year, according to the administration official.

Some leaders in Corzine’s own party, however, criticized the possible levies on the rich, saying that will discourage high earners from living here and create a double burden for taxpayers who are also facing the rollback of former President George W. Bush’s tax cuts.

Last week, President Obama said he would let the Bush tax cuts expire in 2011, increasing the top federal income tax rate for couples making more than $250,00 from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. Those taxpayers would also face new limits on itemized tax deductions.

“The president already announced he’s going to go after that group. It’s a double hit,” Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney said.

He pointed out that New Jersey also raised the income tax on those making $500,000 or more in 2004, under Gov. James E. McGreevey’s so-called millionaire’s tax.

“We’ve hit that income bracket pretty hard. I’m not one of them, but we’ve hit them pretty hard,” said Sweeney (D-Gloucester).

Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) said he’s not against raising the cigarette tax but views an income tax hike on the wealthy as “a huge mistake.” As New Jersey tries to attract businesses, particularly those fleeing Manhattan during the recession, “it would be very counterproductive” to add to the tax burden of top executives, he said.

“I will aggressively oppose it,” Lesniak said.

The cigarette tax was last raised in 2006, to $2.575 per pack, and is among the highest in the nation.

The governor is also considering reducing or eliminating property tax rebates for all residents except the elderly and disabled, as well as slashing aid to towns and hospitals, those familiar with the budget said.

“Nobody wants to see most of these things done, but you’ve got a huge hole,” said Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex). “The governor’s back is against the wall. To his credit, he’s standing up and saying, ‘Hey, I don’t want to do it, but I’m the leader.'”

Mary Forsberg, acting president of New Jersey Policy Perspective, a liberal think tank, praised the idea of raising taxes on the rich “because the budget needs it and those are the people who can afford to pay.” She said the belief that the wealthy will abandon New Jersey because of higher taxes has not proven true.

“They’re not as grossly overtaxed as they think they are. For people whose incomes are under a million dollars, they are paying less taxes in New Jersey than they would be in New York state,” she said.

But Rugters University economics professor Joseph Seneca said the top one percent of New Jersey’s earners pay about 40 percent of its income tax, and Corzine would have to make bold spending cuts for a tax increase to fly.

“To raise that tax in this economy, at this time is an out-of-the-box proposal, in an economic situation that requires out-of-the-box proposals,” Seneca said. “But you would need an equivalent out-of-the-box proposal on the other side of the budget to give it credibility and political viability.”

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/03/corzine_may_raise_income_taxes.html

Trend in commercial owners appealing to lower taxes could hit homeowners with tax burden

In commercial real estate, new jersey fiscal crisis, taxes on February 24, 2009 at 4:41 pm

by The Star-Ledger Continuous News Desk

Tuesday February 24, 2009, 7:48 AM

Many owners of commercial real estate in New Jersey such as shopping centers, office buildings and industrial sites are planning to appeal this spring to lower their property taxes because their properties are making less money in the recession, but the trend could shift the tax burden to homeowners or cause towns to increase their debts, according to a report in the Record.

According to the report, New Jersey towns rely on residential and commercial property taxes for about half of their revenue, but an increase in refunding commercial property owners’ taxes could cause towns to take on debt to fill budget shortfalls, cut services, or raise taxes on homeowners.

Developers and commercial landlords seeking to appeal the assessments of their buildings often have a better chance than homeowners, according to the report. Many commercial property owners have working relationships with town officials, and they have the resources to come to the negotiating table with financial documents, attorneys and appraisers.

Legislators Should Share Pain of Furloughs

In furloughs, new jersey fiscal crisis on February 24, 2009 at 3:00 am

February 23, 2009
Contact: Andy Pratt / (609) 292-5199

Senator Kevin J. O’Toole (R-40) O’Toole: Legislators Should Share Pain of Furloughs

Senator Kevin O’Toole, R-Bergen, Passaic and Essex, asked all legislators to agree to give back the equivalent of two or more days of pay if Governor Corzine succeeds in winning approval for his proposal to furlough state workers in May and June.

“During these uncertain times, it’s more critical than ever that lawmakers lead by example. Fairness dictates that if we ask thousands of state workers to take two days off without pay, then 40 State Senators and 80 members of the Assembly should make an equal sacrifice.
“Every public servant must pitch in during these difficult times for New Jersey, especially those entrusted with elected office. Character and strong leadership can help us get past the economic crisis. I urge my fellow legislators to show their commitment to wise and just leadership by joining me in giving back a portion of state-paid salaries if furloughs are imposed.”

Link to Post:
http://www.senatenj.com/index.php/otoole/otoole-legislators-should-share-pain-of-furloughs/2330