Where’s the Outrage, New Jerseyans?

By Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco

I have had the privilege of living in New Jersey my entire life. I was born here, went to school here, raised my family here, and continue to work here. Fortunately for me, two of my children have chosen to stay here and raise my three grandchildren. Until recently, I believed we could make New Jersey more affordable to live, work and raise a family by working together on a bipartisan basis.

At this time, however, I have grave concerns about the course that has been set for the future of the state we call home.

As a legislator, I watched Gov. Phil Murphy propose a budget that increases spending by nearly eight percent with nearly $1.6 billion in new or increased taxes. Our debt has reached $60 billion and when added to the $150 billion in unfunded obligations to government pensions and health benefits, the Jersey tab exceeds $200 billion.

It is routinely reported that we have the highest taxes state in the nation. We are ranked the worst state in the country to retire. And, we rank 49th out of 50 states for the worst economic performance in the country. Is it any wonder why governors from other states, such as Texas, are placing ads in our newspapers seeking to lure our residents and businesses away from the Garden State? It should come as no surprise that we have one of the highest outward migrations for retirees and now millennials.

While this might be new to some, for the most part, this information has been known are reported for years. One would think that the state’s negative position among other states in the nation would served as an incentive to reclaim our competitiveness and improve our position in the national rankings.

Unfortunately, the exact opposite is happening in Trenton. Instead of comprehensive planning to reverse our competitive disadvantage and make New Jersey more affordable, the governor and my colleagues across the aisle are considering raising the sales tax to the second highest in the nation; raising the corporate business tax to the highest in the nation; taxing Uber, Lyft and AirBNB; raising taxes on phone usage; and cutting property tax relief in half to fund raises for public unions.

What surprises me the most is that no one seems to care or appear outraged. Is it just because our residents have given up and hope to leave, or are they simply not aware of what is happening?

If you believe that reducing our property tax burden and making New Jersey more affordable should be a priority as I do, I encourage you to show your outrage over what is happening in Trenton. Residents can no longer sit back and allow the Democrats to continue to make New Jersey more unaffordable or fail to address our highest-in-the-nation property taxes.

If there is one thing that I have learned during my time in Trenton, it is that my colleagues tend to respond only when the public becomes engaged. There are many ideas and solutions that would have a positive impact on reducing New Jersey’s high cost of living. Unfortunately, these ideas will not be considered unless the public demands fiscal accountability.

In that regard, I have decided to establish the website wherestheoutragenj.com. I intend to use this site to highlight some of the more outrageous policies coming out of Trenton along with some of the proposed solutions.

Please join me in helping to bring people’s attention to the issues that are affecting all of us, and working to make New Jersey more affordable.

Anthony M. Bucco, Assemblyman, 25th Legislative District

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  • Chris Rogers

    The problem stems from both Democrats and Republicans alike. Anthony Bucco knows what it will take to fix the state. Consolidation / regionalization of New Jersey’s 600 plus school districts and 500 plus municipalities, coupled with legislation to force NJ’s overpaid and overbenefited police and school employees to accept salaries and benefits packages the rest of New Jersey can afford are the two white elephants in the room. Cutting back on part time members of the legislature from holding lucrative municipal and school attorney appointments would also save millions.

    However, neither Republicans or Democrats in New Jersey will ever address these issues, as thier election donor bases and personal incomes would dry up instantly.

    New Jersey has the unique distinction of hearing Republicans and Democrats fight over New Jersey’s problems, but then never do anything meaningful to fix those problems.

    See you in Bankruptcy court New Jersey! I will be rooting for you from the sensible land of North Carolina!

    • D P

      “Sensible” as long as you don’t care about things like your child’s education.

      • Chris Rogers

        Typical response of a militant NJEA member. If you don’t want to pay 10x what other states pay, you must hate children and not value education. Its almost becoming cliche.

    • Bob

      ‘North Carolina’s score put it 40th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
      The state’s standing compared with the rest of the nation has been steadily declining since North Carolina was ranked as high as 19th in 2011. Education Week revamped the rankings in the annual report in 2015 with the state placing 34th. The state was 37th in 2016 and 39th last year.’ http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article195365259.html

      • Chris Rogers

        Please. States have no real way of doing an apples to apples comparison since there is no true common standards or universal testing system. How many waivers has NJ completed to opt out of the federal system “of the day”. Just keep repeating what the NJEA and the legislators tell you to say.

        I am glad to say that Steve Sweeney is on the right track. He knows you can go up against the NJEA and prevail. If I were still in NJ, I would vote for him over any of the fake Republicans who take NJEA money

  • 1Prop

    There is also the problem of the ridiculous school funding system that is crushing the middle class. Our invertebrates in the Legislature won’t touch that either. They want to increase the billions of dollars wasted on failing schools. (Which have never been audited.) Hey, Senator, instead of just complaining, why don’t you and you GOP colleagues create an alternative budget. It won’t become law, but the voters would be able to see that raising taxes is not the only solution. Oh, I’m sorry, that means you guys may actually have to do something.

  • hey now

    The problem is that Republicans have this completely incorrect theory that cutting taxes promotes economic growth—it doesn’t. However, Government spending in the right places (transportation, infrastructure, education) does promote growth. In addition, there is a direct correlation between the tax restructuring on the federal level in the early 1980’s to a rise in property taxes, the expansion of gambling to 48 states and the rise in other state taxes.

  • Michael

    Term limits? Initiative and Referendum? Easier recall process? School funding? Non-partisan redistricting? Constitutional Convention? Crickets (and hypocrisy) from both sides of the aisle!

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