Okay, this is BillOrr’s proposal, what do you think, Blue Jersey? Agree? Disagree? This is about what’s next. – Promoted by Rosi Efthim
“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? she asked. Where do you want to go? was his response. I don’t know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn’t matter.” (Lewis Carroll)
Our Democratic legislators do not know where they want to go, but they better come up with an answer soon. In the face of Christie’s proposals, which are staggering in breadth and depth, legislators have only been nipping at the Governor’s heels. They are working on the budget but have reacted forcefully to too few Christie proposals. Their version of the Millionaire’s tax was a tactic, not a strategy nor coherent plan. Indeed, their non-appearance at Trenton’s largest rally only magnifies their indecision and lack of leadership.
Republicans had their “Contract with America.” However simplistic, it has the virtue of summarizing key positions and goals in a way that the public can understand. Democrats, starting with their leadership, need something similar.
To get us through the current economic malaise, below are some of the things legislators can do:
Increase taxes: Within the income tax there are billions of dollars of exemptions, some of which could be curtailed, and a variety of potential increased rates based on income over $400,000. There are many other taxes the state collects, including corporation, sales, inheritance, gas, insurance, casino, motor vehicle, realty, cigarette, bank, alcoholic beverage, public utility, etc.
Re-alter budget priorities: Reduce expenditures in a Christie priority to have more funds for another priority. Where new funds are raised through taxes, increase appropriate budget lines.
Take more advantage of federal and foundation grants: For each grant the State has to inject about 25% of the cost but receives 75% which goes into our economy and funds needed programs.
Borrow money: Difficult in today’s environment, but Christie borrows when he fails to fund the Pension Plan or adequately provide for the transportation fund. The feds are a source for loans.
Legislators have been talking individually about what programs or constituencies need more support, but now they must get together and formulate a coherent strategy. Christie has enunciated his plan, drawn his line in the sand, and gained enthusiasts as a result. People through a variety of rallies have indicated their concerns. It’s time for Democratic legislators to stop nipping at the governor’s heels and create their own clear, compelling plan – one we can understand and fight for. I expect them to develop soon a good answer for the Cheshire cat.