"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Monday, May 30, 2005

Corzine Is Out Of The Mainstream

According to an article in the Star-Ledger:

Over the past four years, New Jersey raised taxes more per capita than any state while piling up multibillion-dollar budget deficits.
Those are some mighty stark facts - facts, not our opinion. The politicians in Trenton can’t raise taxes fast enough to keep up with their unchecked spending. The state of New Jersey has gone through billions upon billions of new spending, but can you name one thing the state has accomplished in the past four years?

Small wonder the director of the Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers poll came to this conclusion based upon a recently conducted survey of New Jersey residents:

"People aren't confident government will do the right thing with revenues they raise," poll director Jeffrey Levine said. "A lack of trust in government makes something like increasing taxes hard to sell."
The Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers poll found:

Nearly 90 percent think budget savings should be sought by targeting dead wood and unnecessary spending

80 percent opposed a higher gasoline tax

Nearly 75 percent like the idea of a constitutional amendment that would limit state and local spending and return any savings to taxpayers

74 percent are against a boost in income taxes

51 percent support layoffs of state workers to save money
Based upon these findings, is Jon Corzine in sync with the citizens of New Jersey? Corzine has proposed a number of new state initiatives – Corzine universal health care; Edison Innovation Fund; Creation of "urban investment banks; and Enhancing the capacity of New Jersey’s ports.

Every one of these new programs must be financed with taxpayer dollars. Are the people of New Jersey really clamoring for more state spending? The poll findings would suggest otherwise.

That’s the spending side of Corzine’s agenda. How about the his tax policy side? This from the same Star-Ledger article:

Corzine, said he would "do everything to avoid net new taxes." He said he is leaving the door open to redistributing the existing tax burden if a property tax convention or special legislative session recommends it.
There is one sure-fire way to “avoid” new taxes - don’t start new state programs and don’t increase spending on existing ones. Has this concept escaped Senator Corzine?

Corzine’s tax policy should be of little comfort to taxpayers looking for tax relief and not tax shifting. The key phrases in Corzine’s remarks are “avoid net new taxes” and “redistributing the existing tax burden”. Taxpayers are looking for a net tax reduction, not a reduction in local property taxes on the one hand and an increase in income or other state taxes on the other.

Corzine has adopted a tax and spending government template that does not fit the state’s needs or the people’s preferences. The Senator enjoys using the terms “extreme” and “out of the mainstream” for his political opponents – descriptions that more accurately define the Corzine agenda for New Jersey.

Contrast Corzine’s positions with those of his Republican rivals for the Governor’s seat. Approximately 75 percent of people polled favored a constitutional amendment to limit state and local spending and for savings to be returned to the taxpayers. Four Republican candidates -- Schundler, Forrester, DiGaetano and Caliguire -- have proposed plans with those key elements. Corzine points to a constitutional amendment or special legislative session that would redistribute the existing tax burden. Big difference.

“All seven Republican candidates rule out higher taxes to help solve the state's budget woes.” Corzine is “leaving the door open” to tax increases. It’s that open door policy that has us worried.

We often find pundits and bloggers expressing the notion that Jon Corzine, with his financial resources, can't be beaten. If policy postions and ideas matter in this election, we can't see how he can win.


At 10:30 AM, Blogger Mr. Snitch said...

It is our experience that almost ANY politician can be beaten, at almost any time. Corzine is no different. It does require some money (although not necessarily the MOST money - one need not be the top spender to come out on top). If the insurgent candidate is lesser known than the incumbent (as is almost always the case) (s)he must have a better strategy and message. It's the latter that's the sticking point. We just don't see the Republican candidates being up to the task in those areas. (But then, we see many more bad campaigns than good ones in general. It's good ones that are exceptions to the rule, no matter what any politician tells you about the 'good race' (s)he ran that fell short.)

While Corzine is not the incumbent in this race, the situation is such that he might as well be. He has the cash, he has the name recognition, he hold public office, he has the party backing, and there is no actual incumbent running. He does have a huge advantage, without question. The gap can only be countered by a superior campaign, and we aren't seeing it. We don't know Forrester that well, but we are pretty sure Schundler reached his level of competence as Jersey City mayor.

The candidate is not the campaign. The message is the campaign. And superior campaigns generally win.

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Sluggo said...

Fair's fair and the reformation of the DMV is a victory for the Democratic administration. The lesson there that seems to have escaped them is how much better things can be made without simply throwing money at them.

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Enlighten said...

Thanks Sluggo - you've made a great point. The DMV or MVC as they call it now has been reorganized and was made more responsive to the people of New Jersey, thanks to the work of Diane Legreide. We need more people like her in government.

The MVC is a legitimate role for government and Legreide was able to shake up an agency to improve the level of service for which the taxpayers were already paying. Still our question remains - can you name one thing the state has accomplished in the past four years with the billions of additional spending by state government?

Now that you bring up the MVC, it reminds us of the taxpayer money wasted by McGreevey on radio and TV advertisements to crow about the improvements from the old DMV. Remember the pricey airing of the commercials during the Olympics?

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Beck said...

When I first moved to Jersey, Corzine was just another politician whose name I'd heard, and with whom I was vaguely familiar.

Lately I have a hard time thinking of politicians I dislike more.

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