Opinion Newjerseynewsroom.com News for New Jersey http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/opinion/ Sat, 22 Nov 2014 01:37:12 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Keeping N.J. Politicians Accountable: Increasing Transparency is Essential to Instilling Trust http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/commentary/keeping-nj-politicians-accountable-increasing-transparency-is-essential-to-instilling-trust troytalk_opt.pngBY TROY SINGLETON
SPECIAL TO NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
COMMENTARY/OPINION

Voters of all political persuasions who went to the polls on Election Day consistently noted one fundamental flaw in government — they feel they cannot trust their elected officials.

But can we blame them?

It’s utterly impossible to overemphasize the importance of trust — and consequently, transparency — in our political landscape. Increasing transparency in government is essential to instilling the trust and accountability of elected officials to our bosses, the residents of New Jersey. In order to reduce the cynicism residents feel about government, its citizens must be truly included in the mechanics of government. We can do this only through the free flow of information, which cannot be obstructed or diminished in the interest of political expediency.

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Commentary Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:12:12 +0000
The Drawback to Applying Sales Tax to Gasoline: How Not to Fund N.J's Transportation Trust Fund http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/commentary/the-drawback-to-applying-sales-tax-to-gasoline-how-not-to-fund-njs-transportation-trust-fund gas_opt_copy_copyBY SAL RISALVATO
SPECIAL TO NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

"In recent months, the dire state of New Jersey's infrastructure network and the depleted Transportation Trust Fund have been the focus of numerous legislative hearings and discussions by New Jersey Legislators and various interested parties. Many possible solutions have been put on the table, each with their own merits and drawbacks. As the nonprofit trade association representing the roughly 2,300 motor fuel retailers in this state, it is my contention that extending the 7% New Jersey sales tax to motor fuel would be disastrous, not only to consumers and businesses, but also to State government."

"This plan has numerous drawbacks, all outlined in the aforementioned report, which is available online here. For one, gas prices are unpredictable, and do not necessarily track with inflation. There are professionals who dedicate their lives to analyzing gas prices, who are incapable of estimating what the average price of gas will be over any given 12-month period. As such, drafters of the State Budget will be unable to calculate how much revenue to anticipate. Massive shortfalls are the primary reason why several other states with percentage-based taxes on fuel have changed their laws in recent years to move away from this policy," Risalvato stated.

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Commentary Tue, 18 Nov 2014 15:44:17 +0000
Understanding Atlantic City’s Future http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/commentary/understanding-atlantic-citys-future busler_optBY MICHAEL BUSLER
SPECIAL TO NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
COMMENTARY/OPINION

Atlantic City is facing some very uncertain times. After about 30 years of solid growth with good opportunities available to most people, the market dramatically changed. Because of the almost exclusive reliance on gaming revenue, the 50% decline caused severe problems for the casinos industry, Atlantic City itself and most of the people who live and/or work in AC area.

Governor Christie is preparing a strategy to turn things around and redevelop the city. He has listened to a number of local government, business and civic leaders as well as the public. There is, however, a great deal of uncertainty and nervousness being felt by the locals who rely on a prosperous Atlantic City economy for their livelihood. So how will this redevelopment likely occur?

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Commentary Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:13:16 +0000
N.J. Pensions: All Payers Treated Equally? http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/commentary/nj-pensions-all-payers-treated-equally pension_opt-1_copyBY JOSEPH MONZO
SPECIAL TO NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
COMMENTARY/OPINION

Your local tax collector is a payment point for a number of other entities and obligations. A very large portion of the property taxes collected are sent to fulfill County and School obligations. In that list of payees is the pension payment due to the local pension systems to meet the obligation of the local employment contracts. The State of NJ has similar obligations for its employees.

You as a taxpayer have paid your tax bill and we as local government entities have subsequently paid the local pension obligations. So where is the problem?

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Commentary Fri, 14 Nov 2014 00:03:28 +0000
A Wise Approach to Ending Child Poverty in N.J. http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/commentary/a-wise-approach-to-ending-child-poverty-in-nj poverty_opt.pngBY NANCY PARELLO
SPECIAL TO NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
COMMENTARY

With more than half of New Jersey’s children living in families where no parent is fully employed, a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation calls for a comprehensive effort to lift children and families out of poverty.

The report focuses on the importance of delivering high-quality early childhood education, while simultaneously providing parents with access to job training, career paths and other tools that enable them to support their families.

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Commentary Wed, 12 Nov 2014 19:41:26 +0000
Lockheed Martin Tax Break a Bad Deal for NJ Taxpayers http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/commentary/lockheed-martin-tax-break-a-bad-deal-for-nj-taxpayers tax_break_optBY JON WHITEN
SPECIAL TO NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

(Please see the statement below from New Jersey Policy Perspective president Gordon MacInnes on the NJ EDA's approval of a $107 million Grow NJ tax incentive to Lockheed Martin this morning.)

"The state's approval of a $107 million tax subsidy to Lockheed Martin is just the latest in a string of tax breaks highlighting the insanity of New Jersey's economic development efforts. In exchange for $107 million, Lockheed - which has posted $17 billion in profits in the last 4 years - will shift 250 jobs from one part of New Jersey to another, at the steep cost to taxpayers of $428,000 per job.

Thanks to last year's legislative overhaul of the state's business tax subsidy programs, there is also a real risk to New Jersey taxpayers in this deal – despite the constant reassurance of tax-break boosters.

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Commentary Mon, 10 Nov 2014 20:02:19 +0000
Will Asphalt be the Last Crop? New Jersey Voters say No! http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/commentary/will-asphalt-be-the-last-crop-new-jersey-voters-say-no byers_opt_copy_copy_copyBY MICHELE S. BYERS
SPECIAL TO NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

For the 14th time since the first Green Acres bond act in 1961, New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot question to support open space and farmland preservation funding.

This vote marked a critical juncture for this state we’re in, with two million acres of undeveloped land remaining. Will it be paved or preserved? Will asphalt be the last crop?

Fortunately, by a margin of almost 65 to 35 percent, voters endorsed Ballot Question 2, which amends the state constitution to allocate a percentage of existing corporate business tax revenues toward preserving open space, parks, farmland, historic sites and flood-prone areas.

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Commentary Sat, 08 Nov 2014 03:21:41 +0000
The Future of the Affordable Care Act http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/commentary/the-future-of-the-affordable-care-act Sarno_interview_optBY JOHN SARNO
SPECIAL TO NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
OPINION/COMMENTARY

With the GOP now in control of both chambers of the Congress, what are the likely scenarios regarding the Affordable Care Act? It depends of course on political calculations within the Republican Party.

The GOP appears split on whether the ACA can, and should, be re-litigated to 2016. House Speaker John Boehner will probably post a bill for a repeal of the ACA in its entirety. The new Senate Majority leader, Mitch McConnell, will have no choice but to post a Senate vote. In the absence of a Democratic filibuster, the President will obviously veto the bill, telling Republicans he is willing to “fix” some parts of the law.

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Commentary Thu, 06 Nov 2014 16:08:39 +0000
N.J. Ballot Question on Bail Reform http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/commentary/nj-ballot-question-on-bail-reform justice_opt_1_copy_copyBY JEROME C. HARRIS, JR.
SPECIAL TO NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
COMMENTARY/OPINION

Dear Fellow Advocates for Social Justice,

As a reminder, tomorrow New Jersey voters will have the opportunity to reform our state's bail system by voting on Ballot Question No. 1. Passage of this ballot measure is supported by a broad coalition of statewide organizations as well as numerous faith leaders.

A report released early last year found that nearly three-quarters of the people in New Jersey's jails are awaiting trial rather than serving a sentence. A huge number of these New Jerseyans are in jail only because they cannot afford bail. Relying on money bail as the primary mechanism for pretrial release promotes a system in which dangerous individuals with financial resources are able to easily secure their freedom, while others who pose no risk to the public languish behind bars for months and sometimes years. This costs taxpayers millions of dollars annually.

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Commentary Mon, 03 Nov 2014 16:08:01 +0000
10 reasons to vote yes for New Jersey open space http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/commentary/10-reasons-to-vote-yes-for-new-jersey-open-space byersmichele102814_optBY MICHELE S. BYERS
OPINION/COMMENTARY

On Tuesday, Nov. 4, New Jerseyans will vote on a critical question about the future of our state. Public Question #2 proposes to use part of the state’s existing corporate business tax to fund open space and farmland preservation.

Here’s why we should all vote YES:

No new taxes or debt. This proposal does not increase the state’s debt load by selling bonds that must be repaid. Nor does it create new taxes. The proposal would take a small percentage of the existing corporate business tax and use it to preserve open space, parks, farmland, historic sites and flood-prone places. It is fiscally conservative – the only solution in a time of tight budgets and reduced revenues.

Clean drinking water. Preserved lands filter rainwater, removing impurities as the water trickles down into underground aquifers that provide clean drinking water for much of the state. Without clean water, a healthy economy is impossible.

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Commentary Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:59:14 +0000