Unemployment needs to be addressed and reduced. New Jersey remains at 8.7%. It is more than one full point above the national average which is 7.6%. New Jersey ranks 45th in unemployment nationally. We need to do better to put folks who want to work back to work.
The property tax situation finally needs to be addressed and changed to a more equitable method of paying the tax bill in New Jersey. People have talked about finding a better solution for years but no one will take on the issue and attempt to make it better for the tax payers in New Jersey. Governor Christie has pledged to make changes, but there has been no action from him on this issue. As an Independent Assemblyman, I would be able to offer alternatives without the issue being viewed as political.
The state needs to cut the amount of tax money that is given to large wealthy corporations under the guise of tax breaks and subsidies. I personally believe that it is morally and ethically wrong to give the Revel Casino 261 million dollars, Prudential Financial 211 million dollars, I Cap North America 105 million dollars, Panasonic 102 million dollars, Wakefern Food Corporation 87.3 million dollars, Pearson Inc. 84 million dollars, Goldman Sacks 80.8 million dollars, Goya Foods 80 million dollars that could certainly be better spent on education issues in New Jersey. The 8 grants listed total over a billion dollars. That’s a lot of tax money to be giving away! How much are the CEOs of these corporations being compensated? No doubt they are paid many millions of dollars per year. Why should New Jersey taxpayers subsidize excessive CEO compensation?
Address the issue of New Jersey consistently being last out of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia in how much financial return we get from the federal government. For every tax dollar New Mexico sends to Washington, they get $2.03 back. For every dollar New Jersey sends to Washington, we get $.61 back. We have been last for years! The situation needs to be discussed and addressed. Our U.S. Congressmen and Senators need to work with the NJ Assembly and NJ Senate to develop a strategy to obtain more federal dollars for New Jersey.
The condition of our bridges in New Jersey needs to be addressed and action must be taken to ensure that we have safe bridges that have rigorous inspections. When problems are found they need to be remediated immediately. We also need prudent planning as we move forward. When we add miles of new highways and add new bridges, few people think long-term regarding the money that is going to need to be allocated in the future for repairs and/or replacement. We need to fix our current assets before we take on extensive new bridge-building projects.
Reduce the blood alcohol limit to 0.05 from 0.08. Drunken driving kills 10,000 people each year in the United States – that’s a third of all traffic deaths! More than 100 nations have the 0.05 limit. According to research, by the time the casual drinker gets to 0.08 he is already impaired. Even at 0.05 there is a 38% higher probability that a person is likely to crash. At 0.08 the probability is 169%. By cutting the limit to 0.05 driving deaths could be cut by 70%. That would seem to be a no-brainer.
Stop the political wheeling and dealing in New Jersey. The AshBritt fiasco is the latest example of how New Jersey doles out unprecedented amounts of money for goods and services just because someone happens to be politically connected. Haley Barbour gave Chris Christie a great deal of money for his 2009 Governor campaign so Mr. Christie pays him back for the favor by giving Mr. Barbour’s Florida hauling company, AshBritt, a no-bid, 150 million dollar contract to haul waste here in New Jersey. Mr. Christie also used political patronage when he gave out over 5 million dollars-worth of high-paying jobs at the Port Authority. All of these taxpayer dollars being used to give paybacks to political donors and political friends is wrong and both parties need to end that practice. Clearly an independent would be able to speak to this issue and perhaps be able to initiate some changes.
Institute the millionaire’s tax. The governor continues to protect his wealthy contributors and his rich friends by vetoing the proposed millionaire’s tax. Every bit of research has shown that the rich are the socioeconomic group that has weathered the recent economic hard times with ease. From 2009 to 2011 the wealthiest 7% of the population had their wealth grow by 28% while the lower 93% had a 4% decline in their wealth. It seems rather obvious that those at the top of the economic spectrum could easily afford to give a bit more to the society that has helped them to prosper. The proposed millionaire’s tax is fair and just and should become law in New Jersey.
A comprehensive plan must be formulated to confront the issue of beach erosion and protection of beachfront communities from future severe hurricanes and the dreadful damage that was inflicted on the shore areas. There has to be a difficult decision made as to how best to minimize the threat of catastrophic damage to shore communities by building sea walls or fortified dunes. The problem and the risk of more damage are not going to go away.
Stop the politics in New Jersey. Every decision, every cause, every appointment is a political sideshow in this state. My motto on the November 5th ballot is “Principle before Politics”. That should become New Jersey’s motto. We need to base our thinking and our actions on principle – not politics! If we all did that, we would certainly all be better off. If elected, that is how I will conduct myself in all that I do. Perhaps we can start a new trend in Trenton!
In our public schools, high stakes, standardized testing needs to be shown to be what it is – a fad put forth by the crowd of politicians who believe that teachers should be evaluated based on strictly a business model of market-driven student assessment. As a long-time educator, I wholeheartedly disagree with the evaluation scenario that is presently being forced on all New Jersey educators. If this foolhardy quest isn’t modified drastically or abandoned, the New Jersey public schools as we know them will, in a very short time, have no resemblance to the public schools that have long been some of the best in the country, and that have been appreciated and supported by the majority of New Jersey citizens. Standardized tests should not be the barometer of how well a student or a school is progressing.