O’Scanlon: Gopal lacks credibility on property taxes

By Declan O’Scanlon

Vin Gopal and the Easter Bunny photo via @gopalforsenate

Democratic state Senate candidate Vin Gopal, in his Aug. 20 oped “Consolidate small towns,” extolled the virtues of municipal consolidation as if he were presenting a new, fresh approach to the concept. An honest reading of his own words destroys both his credibility on the property tax issue, and his paralyzing duplicity as a candidate.

Let’s concede up front that in order to solve our high property tax problem we will need consolidation and sharing of services. But that’s a very small piece of the essential reform pie.

Gopal, who is seeking to unseat incumbent Republican state Sen. Jennifer Beck in the 11th District, tries to suggest that because those of us — like Beck and me — fighting the fight to reduce property taxes haven’t yet declared victory, he might be able to do a better job. But in his own words he actually says he would make things worse — actually make it harder to consolidate or enact reforms that will reduce property taxes.

Collective bargaining and rigid civil service rules are two of the most significant obstacles to mergers and shared service deals. Gopal makes it clear that he won’t advocate imposing reforms on those fronts. One cannot both claim to be an honest proponent of sharing or merging municipal governments or school district services and endorse the very rules and practices that have paralyzed efforts to encourage those policies. Yet Gopal does exactly that.

We also need to be honest with taxpayers and admit that share/merge polices alone won’t solve our property tax problem. In order to truly cut property taxes we will need to do much more. We will need another round of pension and benefits reform. We will also need to renew, and reassert our dedication to, the other property tax policies passed over the last few years that have dramatically reduced upward pressure on property taxes. Yet Gopal opposes, or has avoided taking a position on, all of these measures.

Gopal, insultingly and untruthfully, says we’ve gotten nothing done. Guess he wasn’t paying attention when we led the nation in passing unprecedented pension and health benefits reform, a substantial and innovative property tax cap and binding arbitration reform. Collectively those reforms have dramatically bent our property tax curve — and are saving taxpayers billions of dollars a year. Let’s not forget that if property taxes marched on at their then-current rate of increase — which was widely expected prior to enactment of our reforms — they would be more than 20 percent higher than they are today.

We all know we still have a long way to go. On that front too, we’re leading the charge and fighting for the next round of reforms essential to truly cutting property taxes. We have written and introduced what must be the next round of health benefits reform that will save billions of dollars a year. I have designed and begun to promote an innovative method to facilitate sharing of police services — the largest line item in most municipal budgets — that, if embraced, will save municipalities hundreds of millions of dollars more. From sick pay reform to civil service and pension reform, we continue to lead the way.

An accurate reading of Gopal’s words proves he has no plan, and no sincere commitment to reducing property taxes. On the contrary, he would harden the paralysis we’ve been battling so hard against, and foster accelerated property tax increases in exchange for support of the special interests to whom he panders.

Those special interests have blocked 99 percent of our efforts to merge/share services, opposed reforms at every opportunity and are bankrolling Gopal’s campaign to the tune of millions of dollars. That’s brainwash money, folks. We shouldn’t permit ourselves to be manipulated by such transparent tactics.

Make no mistake about it: We know exactly what we need to do to cut property taxes and fix our state’s structural deficit. Why haven’t more of these things happened? Because the Democratic majorities running the Legislature slavishly stand against the passage of policies that would permit and promote merger and sharing plans and the other major reforms I outlined above.

The election of Gopal would only strengthen the stranglehold of those majorities. Even worse, we’d be losing one of the fiercest, bravest, most outspoken taxpayer defenders in the Legislature in Beck. God willing there isn’t enough money to wash that reality from District 11 voters’ brains. We don’t need to replace Beck; we need to elect more like her.

Declan O’Scanlon is a Republican assemblyman who represents the 13th Congressional District, which includes 16 Monmouth County municipalities. He is seeking the state Senate being vacated by Sen. Joe Kyrillos.

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Posted: September 8th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: 11th Legislative District, 2017 Elections, Declan O'Scanlon, Monmouth County News, Vin Gopal | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

3 Comments on “O’Scanlon: Gopal lacks credibility on property taxes”

  1. Truth said at 11:09 am on September 8th, 2017:

    Vin Gopal never voted to increase my taxes; Declan did.

  2. Don't worry, said at 1:08 pm on September 8th, 2017:

    he will be worse, if given the chance. Only things missing in that photo are Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Great Pumpkin: arbiters of happy freebies: Democrats are great in giving away other people’s money, unendingly. This guy will be even much more generous, with our tax dollars!

  3. Mike Harmon said at 12:06 pm on September 11th, 2017:

    Just remember the MURPHY MAGIC MONEY TREE – is you and me. When Murphy promises to raise taxes, BELIEVE HIM. I have spent many years as a forensic accountant and CPA. Typically whatever the perp admits to stealing can be tripled to estimate the real amount of theft. So I can safely predict Murphy’s promise of $1.3 billion in new taxes will be tripled to $3.9 billion in short order. Murphy has had one goal and that is the VP slot in 2020 and NJ is just a stepping stone in his plan. His lack of involvement in Monmouth and NJ prove his disinterest in NJ. To establish his credibility with the Occupy Wall Street, Antifa, Obama and Pelosi crowd he has to pillage and plunder the taxpayers of NJ and redistribute. Gopal is another guy who doesn’t want to do some due diligence in a local office but spends his time spouting cliches as solutions. Pathetic all the way around.