Originally Published September 28th, 2011 at More Monmouth Musings
It is impossible to disagree with the Tea Party’s fierce insistence that budget reform is necessary. It is no secret that New Jersey is in dire financial straights. While our impressive near-$33 billion debt has the stains of many administrations, it cannot be ignored that Senator Jennifer “Romney” Beck and Assemblywomen Caroline Casagrande, Mary Pat Angelini and their cronies have made decisions which have halted progress and placed enormous, unwarranted burdens on tax payers.
This is not fiscal conservatism, this is political theater. The Twisted Sisters have saved the state money for their own sake by taking it directly out of the pockets of those they claim to protect.
With February marking our second credit downgrade since 2008 at the hands of Standard and Poor’s, the only way to ignore the fact that poor is rapidly becoming our new standard would be to bury your head in Asbury Park’s tourist-friendly sand.
While balancing the budget is important, effectively stepping on the necks of residents by forcing local governments, schools districts, and individual taxpayers to shoulder additional costs defeats the purpose of spending cuts. The “tough choice” Ms. Beck made in order to keep that budget of ours balanced was the choice to advance her own political career, even if it meant harming the very voters that allowed her to have one at all. I’m sure she lost a lot of sleep over that.
Budget cuts are indeed necessary. Even destructive budget cuts may be justified if they effectively do what they are intended to do: lower taxes. But the cuts that Ms. Beck, Ms. Casagrande and Ms. Angelini advocated for have increased property taxes significantly. If you were worried that New Jersey’s status of having the highest property taxes in the country was going someplace, breathe a sigh of relief. So long as the Three Blind Legislators are in office, you can be confident that we will retain the title.
Here’s the rundown:
- Freezing Senior Freeze: Program that freezes property taxes for seniors so they don’t continue to increase over time. Beck, Casagrande and Angelini voted for the budget that gutted it and against the budget that restored it.
- Cutting School Aid: Cutting billions in aid to schools - including $50 million in aid to District 11 schools alone - has resulted in serious budget holes that have been closed by raising taxes, cutting programs altogether, forcing students to pay for previously funded extracurriculars, and in some cases going as far as to force student teaches to pay a fee to work.
- But! A few districts will receive more aid this year than under Corzine’s last budget. One of those that did is Colts Neck, Caroline Casagrande’s hometown, which is patently absurd, considering the average family income in Colt’s Neck is $109,190, while the average family income for the state is $55,156. Why, instead of providing that aid to a district that needs it - a middle class district for instance - is that aid being given to one of the wealthiest communities in New Jersey?
- Slashing Property Tax Rebates: The average citizen now receives 75% less in property tax rebates than they did under the previous administration.
- Cutting Municipal Aid: This has resulted in serious budget holes which have been closed by catastrophic cuts and paralyzing tax hikes.
A political parade of careless cuts results is nothing more than the violent trampling of taxpayers. Ms. Beck, Ms. Casagrande and Ms. Angelini have not only run over their constituents, they have proceeded to back up over their bodies before running over them again. Ms. Beck, of course, is driving.