Author Archive: IndependentNJ
Matt Rooney is the Blogger-in-Chief of SaveJersey.com and one of Christie’s biggest cheerleaders. However, he has decided to use U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg’s recovery from cancer to harp on about how HMOs are great and universal healthcare will result in massive deaths and dying.
From the entry Lautenberg Beats Cancer But Learns Nothing:
I tried anyway, and posed a controversial question to my readers shortly after the original diagnosis back in February of this year: “Would an elderly American like Frank Lautenberg survive cancer for very long under an ObamaCare-dictated system?” This admittedly weighty question unleashed a proportionally seismic response from the various ideological quarters who track such things. For example, our friends at National Review Online embraced my post as presenting a “morbid but fair question,” while many New Jersey liberals condemned me as a heartless jerk. It all comes with the Blogger-in-Chief territory, folks.
Thankfully Frank lived, and all we can be sure about today is that the perks associated with Senator Lautenberg’s generous congressional healthcare plan — all owing to the best attributes of the free market — have afforded the geriatric Senator additional years of work, leisure, and time with family and friends. Frank never once had to grapple with the horrors of rationed care, prolonged waits for vital procedures, the use of less-than-current technologies necessitated by reduced investment in R&D, or the exorbitant base costs typically associated with socialized medicine. He got the best that the “Free World” had to offer and it literally saved his life.
First off, let me just state as an independent progressive, I think Obamacare is substandard. I am a supporter of the alternative HR 676 which provides Medicare for all for modest increases in taxes on the rich, rather than an over 2,000 page corporate giveaway. Why do I find it funny when conservatives believe that Obamacare is socialist. Funny, because several Republicans in Pennsylvania’s state legislature, as well as several conservative voices within said state have come out in favour of single payer. And why wouldn’t it be surprising, the single payer act has only 27 pages and also would drive down the costs of doing business
More after the cut
New Jersey is in a quandary. Our property taxes are some of the highest in the nation, yet if anyone talks about consolidation or disincorporation, people are louder in their indignance.
You know what, when will our elected officials take a hard line against the home rule huff-and-puffs? Who will have the coglioni to say “you know what, there shouldn’t be two Freeholds, or two Princetons, or two Mendhams, or two Shrewsburies, so you should have to merge whether you like it or not”?
Talk is cheap; there is a need for drastic action in order to reduce the redundancies of local governments.
1. Put a “21 Counties, 21 School Districts Measure” On The Ballot
Since it seems like our elected officials are too spineless to do so, why don’t they let the PEOPLE decide on the merits of having school districts follow county lines. I am pretty damn sure it would pass if the message included 1) lower property taxes and thus reducing the need for affordable housing mandates and 2) helping children in the poorer parts of a given county get an equal chance to succeed and 3) reducing the need for state aid; I personally think that “state aid” should be a pool of special ed teachers and other specialized service personnel (ie: psychologists, social workers, paraprofessionals, speech pathologists, etc.) that are funded by the state but work for the school district, this allows for the state to chip in on an unpredictable and expensive part of public schools. It’s a win-win-win situation. Republicans would like it for 1., Democrats would like it for 2. and independents would like it for 3.
2. Reduce the 2.5% cap for only local governments, leave school districts and counties alone
If the hard 2.5% cap applied only to municipalities, but counties and school districts were left alone, it would make a lot more sense, and I could actually vote YES on it. But as it stands now, I am NO on Cap 2.5
By applying it only to local, it would further encourage consolidation of services without doing harm to schools and other services
3. Create a consolidation/disincorporation commission WITH TEETH
I don’t care what anyone believes, municipalities DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXIST. This is why I think there should be an independent non-partisan commission (think with the protections of SCI) which studies the impacts on consolidating communities in each of the 21 counties and, if an arrangement can be found that would lower property taxes and excess government, the commission should be able to issue binding orders that would mandate a municipality either:
1. Disincorporate (recommended for rural municipalities in the NW and deep south of the state)
2. Expand out (good for donut hole municipalities, in this case, the donut hole absorbs the surrounding township and all its assets, as the donut hole is a historic dense area)
3. Merge (would be good for the densely populated small municipalities near Philly and NYC)
There should be no appeals beyond this process. I am sorry if this sounds ham handed, but I think its time we say “we are going to consolidate your municipalities, and if you don’t like it, too bad”. It’s the only way New Jersey can be rescued from this dystopia. We need somebody who can put their foot down and demand a better way.
I have been thinking about how we fund education, and about whether state aid should be used at all in funding K-12 education. Some suggest the use of income taxation and countywide school districts, some suggest property taxed county-wide school districts, however, I think its not ratios of state vs. property tax funding, but what funding comes from the state.
I believe that the millionaire’s surtax should apply half for education and half for property tax relief, not only for the elderly, but for those with disabilities as well (some people who are on SSI/SSD do own real property, sometimes supplemental needs trusts buy houses and rent to the beneficiary, something that is almost impossible in New Jersey).
But, to get back on point, the item in which surtax funds could be used for is special education.
Now, I am a big advocate of special education, but the fact always remains that special needs are not always inexpensive and predictable (whether it be teachers, counselors, speech pathologists paraprofessionals, etc.). This is why I believe that perhaps most operations which are predictable should be done by a property tax (and preferably if the district is countywide), but (part or all of) the special needs/specialized services portion should be picked up by the state. Given the fact that there will always be those with special needs, and state administrative law providing for a free and appropriate public education, it is better that a larger governmental body have the pursestrings over the most unpredictable line items of a school district, and it would allow for resources to be allocated where they are needed most (especially if school districts are countywide).
In addition, I believe that counties should be able to implement (by local option) an additional income surtax and a restructuring of the sales tax in order to offset the costs of education in the district (including any special ed needs that the state doesn’t provide as per the above paragraph). Basically, give the counties the choice between additional sales and income taxes or higher property taxes. This would further put funding of public schools at the local level.
In a state where the average municipality has 14,867 people, the cries of consolidation are everpresent. Corzine wanted to ham-handedly force towns to merge, and Christie wants to implement bad policy that would put us further into debt. But we should look west, and I mean west of Pennsylvania for yet another solution, DISINCORPORATION
Today in the New Jersey state legislature; a bill is being discussed which states that local governments are.
….prohibited from adopting a zoning ordinance limiting the installation of a photovoltaic solar energy system on a residential property, unless the system fails to meet the following requirement:
(1) The photovoltaic panels and all accessory equipment do not extend more than twelve inches beyond the edge of the roofline or twelve inches above the highest point of the roof surface or structure, or
(2) The surface level or ground mounted photovoltaic system consist of no more than 10 photovoltaic panels and are situated more than 50 feet from the nearest property boundary line.
Sponsored by Sens. Smith and Bateman this bill is a step in the right direction and has the following benefits.
1) it would reduce dependence on the electric company. Although a house would never be able to go completely off-grid unless specific conditions are met, its more money in the pockets of homeowners
2) it would make it easier for the power needs of a single family home converted into a multifamily home.
In these days of environmental calamities and runaway home rule, this is a very good idea.
As I was doing some shopping in Toms River today, I noticed that all the high schools in Toms River (South, North, East, and the private Catholic Monsignor Donovan) have banners with their mascots. I know its kind of late to say this, and I never knew this in my 25 years of life, but Toms River South’s sports team is known as the “Indians”
Nicky Petrutz is a cook at a restaurant in Philadelphia who is a conservative republican that didn’t realize the deadline had passed until it was too late, then decided to run as an independent, under the banner “Defend America’s Constitution”.
Now, Mr. Petrutz is pretty much a non-factor considering:
-the extreme Democratic lean of the district
-him not being a Rock’Em Sock’Em Candidate
-Robert Andrews having the seat as long as he wants it.
(more after jump)
So, we are all familiar with Jersey Shore costar, upstate New Yorker who thinks the shore is hers, and future Republican Vice Presidential candidate Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi expressing her displeasure with Obama over tanning beds and voicing her support for McCain, and McCain responding back that he would never tax tanning beds.
Well, we tax tanning beds for the same damn reason that cigarettes are taxed, BECAUSE THEY CAUSE CANCER GODDAMNIT. I think if anything New Jersey needs to implement a 10% tax on top of the federal tax. Perhaps that will put money into our coffers, but I’m sure Christie would not support it; I’m guessing he must be a fan of Jersey Shore, and Jersey Shore is a fan of his.
I also would like to speak as an Italian-American who is actually from the New Jersey shore that we are not all sub-human conservative homophobic boors, and that the show seems to portray us all that way. Well, I do not fistpump, I am a tranny, I care about the world and its people, I am not sexually violent, I do not use tanning beds (and frankly, if you are Italian or Spanish, which the cast members are, you have the genes to tan really well and don’t need tanning beds). I am an Italian girl from New Jersey, and I enjoy pizza, love Lady Gaga, and am loyal to my friends.
So Snooki (who BTW, it turns out, is a Chilean adopted by Italian parents), stop representing my people, stop telling little girls they should get tanning beds, because you are not representing my people, neither is the show Jersey Shore.
I also would like to bring to people’s attention that at the Ocean County mall, there is a t-shirt stand near the food court and by the Subway/Verizon that has a t-shirt stating DON’T MAKE ME SNOOKI PUNCH YOU. Yes, Snooki is a ditz, but violence against women is something I am against, contrary to the media portrayal of my people. There are also t-shirts at a store called East Meets West that say “I Love My Guido” and “The Situation” in godfather font. Where does it end.
Here are the numbers for the mall, if you wish to voice your displeasure…
Main Line: (732) 244-8200
East Meets West: (732) 281-1081
This whole thing is just plain complicated and knotty and I think I will just go to sleep now.