We are facing an important gubernatorial election on Nov. 3. Unfortunately, it seems that too many of the ads focus on Chris Christie’s girth or, worse yet, contain gross distortions of his positions. I know Jon Corzine and Chris Christie and I find both to be very bright and well-intentioned individuals. However, this election should not focus on personality and physique. We need to address the difficult issues facing our state.
According to the Star-Ledger, we have lost over 150,000 private sector jobs in the last decade, while adding almost 50,000 public sector jobs. Even before the great recession, New Jersey ranked eighth nationally in job losses.
New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the country, making it increasingly difficult for seniors to stay in their homes and creating a real barrier to young people who would like to live here. Increasingly, middle-income earners are being forced to move to a more affordable Pennsylvania and endure a daunting daily commute.
Our state income tax is also among the highest. We tax our most affluent at a top rate of 10.75 percent compared with 3.1 percent in Pennsylvania and no income taxes at all in Florida. We all know individuals who have left the Garden State to take up residence in the Sunshine State and others who are planning on leaving. It is easy to say, “Let’s tax the wealthy more,” but look what happens: As marginal rates increase, the wealthiest leave New Jersey in growing numbers and take their businesses with them, making it even more difficult to balance our state budget. It is a vicious cycle that must be broken.
According to the non-partisan Pew Center on the States, New Jersey ranks among the bottom tier of state governments with respect to performance. They recommend a number of changes to the way our state hires, purchases, and most importantly the way in which we budget. Columnist Tom Moran recently wrote that if New Jersey were a private company, we would be “General Motors.” The bottom line is that our state government is broken!
We have two real choices on Nov. 3 — Corzine or Christie. (I leave out Chris Daggett because according to all the polls he is not a realistic contender.)
Corzine has said that he would consider increasing the income tax rate again in order to balance our budget next year. He also said that he would consider proposing an increase in our state gasoline tax. If he is saying this during an election campaign, imagine what will happen if he is re-elected. The Governor sincerely believes in more and more government spending and greater taxation.
I don’t think for one moment that Christie has a silver bullet which can solve our state’s problems. However, he, unlike Corzine, is fundamentally committed to smaller government, less government regulation, and lower taxes. Christie represents a change in direction.
The choice in this election is clear: bigger government and more taxes vs. limiting the size of government and the taxes it collects.
If you are satisfied with the way in which state government is operating and you are willing to pay the price of ever-growing income and property taxes, then you should vote for Corzine. But whatever you do, don’t make your decision based on personal attacks and distortions.
For me it is clear that we cannot afford more of the same. We have had one party rule for eight years, with no checks and balances. It is time to put a new leader at the top who will take a different approach to solving our state’s problems. Therefore, I intend to vote for Chris Christie on Nov. 3.