Did President Donald Trump inadvertently give the New Jersey Republicans a gift horse? It is no secret that the cap of $10,000 on the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) will hit many Garden State residents hard. Many residents of the Hudson County Gold Coast are paying $20,000 to $30,000 in property taxes plus New Jersey income and sales taxes, and New York City and state income taxes. These residents are used to taking the full SALT deduction from their federal taxes and often receive a tax refund from the Treasury. Now there is a high probability that these people will be sending a check to the Treasury instead of receiving one. Some will blame the president for the additional tax liability, but the national tax laws have to be applied equally. Where the changes hurt New Jersey they actually help Texas since Texas has much lower property taxes and no state income tax. So why is this a gift horse?
NJ ELEC needs to improve its service to the citizens of New Jersey
By Harold V. Kane
Harold V. Kane
The print and electronic media have, since last September, shone a spotlight on the Middlesex County Democrats fundraising activities. The Democrats established a number of Political Action Committees designed to subvert the 2006 changes to the NJ election finance laws. The question arises-why did they think that they could get away with it, when all contributions are reported to the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission. One answer could be because of a flaw in the ELEC computer program. The ELEC program is, at best, difficult to use. However once persons making queries understands how the programs work, then they also determine that all contributions and expenditures are there, somewhere. Even the administrators/treasurers for the Democrat PACs dutifully complied with the reporting requirements.
The ELEC reporting program offers a category of “Simple Search by Contributor”. When a user clicks on this category a page opens that states: “The Simple Search will search the campaign finance database for a contributor to campaigns, Political Party Committees, Legislative Leadership Committees and Political Action Committees.” Except that it doesn’t!
Trenton, NJ – Today, Governor Chris Christie accepted the recommendation of NJ Transit Executive Director Jim Weinstein to continue the orderly and expeditious shutdown of the ARC Project. Despite intense negotiations with federal and state participants, no agreement was reached on terms that would assure New Jersey’s taxpayers would not pay more than $2.7 billion for a completed Trans Hudson Express ARC project.
Frank Pallone Jr.Disappointed to hear Governor plans to cancel ARC tunnel at a time when New Jersey needs more mass transit options.
Well, if Pallone had any clout in Washington after 22 years, maybe he could have gotten the Feds to cover the cost over runs on the project. Or maybe he could have gotten his friends in the New York delegation to lean on Albany to contribute their fair share to a project that would have benefited New York more than it would have helped NJ anyway. Think of all those tax dollars New Jersey residents would have been paying to New York after we spent $15 billion dollars to give them a way to leave the state to go to work.
As our friend Harold Kane, the next Middlesex County Clerk, pointed out last week, New Jersey has 40 million square feet of vacant office space. What do we need to spend billions of dollars to send people to work in New York for?
Christie did the right thing and come Tuesday Pallone is going to be despondent.
In the editorial page of October 12 Paul Mulshine, correctly, continued to question the ARC rail tunnel. Inadvertently, the Star Ledger business section supported Mr. Mulshine’s position.The business section (page 7) stated that there is almost 40M square feet of office space available in NJ. 40M square feet of space will support 200,000 employees, at an average of 200 square feet per employee. The ARC supporters refuse to consider that NJ residents would actually prefer to work near their homes in NJ, rather than commute to NYC. Even if they had to take a pay cut to work near home, it would be worth it. As a former commuter I can make this statement.
Governor Christie was correct to cancel the tunnel. It will be New Jersey’s version of Boston’s “Big Dig”. One major difference between the two projects is that Massachusetts was forced to pay the lion’s share of the cost as the cost spiked from $8B to $24B. But, in this case the benefit accrued to Massachusetts and the Mass. construction unions. In the case of the ARC tunnel all of the benefits accrue to NYC, with NJ getting the cost overrun tab. If you do not think that there will be cost overruns, then you know nothing about construction-related activities in NYC.
New Jersey needs to get out of this 1960s mindset that states that anything that the public sector proposes has merit and must be done. A great first step in this direction would be to stand by the decision to cancel the tunnel and to implement tax and economic policies designed to fill up these 4M square feet of empty space.
Harold V. Kane is the GOP candidate for Middlesex County Clerk