"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Friday, June 10, 2005

That’s Why We Hold Elections

Roberto at DynamoBuzz points out that Acting Governor Codey is trying to revive state senate interest in legislation proposing a constitutional convention on property taxes.

Codey has proposed two key changes in an attempt to jump-start the measure that cleared the General Assembly last month but became bogged down in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where some lawmakers believe the issue would best be resolved through a special session of the Legislature.

The Assembly version calls for the convention to target how property taxes are raised and would block lawmakers from serving as elected delegates to the convention. But, according to Codey's office, the acting governor, who also serves as Senate president, wants the convention's focus to include how property taxes are spent and to allow lawmakers to serve as delegates.
There remains another aspect to property taxes that appears to be ignored by the state assembly bill and Codey’s proposed changes for a constitutional convention – the property tax relief side of the equation.

New Jersey’s income tax is collected for the sole purpose of property tax relief. In addition to state and local governments spending without restraint, the inequitable distribution of state income taxes back to municipalities is a major cause of the crushing property tax burden in New Jersey. Why ignore a major aspect of the property tax system? The entire property tax structure needs to be examined and revamped. A piecemeal approach to the problem has brought us to the crisis we face today.

We believe amendments to the state’s constitution will be required to ensure equal treatment of all New Jersey citizens under the law, to bring about real property tax relief and to protect taxpayers going forward. However, we do not believe a constitutional convention is necessary to bring about these necessary changes. The legislature has the power and responsibility to pass laws and propose constitutional amendments for the consideration of the people that will solve our problems.

The call for a constitutional convention is an abrogation of responsibility on the part of the Governor and the state legislature. If those currently holding the reins of power in Trenton can’t get solve the state’s taxing and spending problems, then we have the wrong people in power.

The majority in the assembly have made it clear, with their vote for a constitutional convention, that they lack the ideas or political will to solve the state’s most pressing problems. Why reelect these people?

There’s nothing magical about a constitutional convention. Just as the legislature is supposed to identify problems and recommend solutions, convention delegates would do the same. Why waste more time and money to hold a convention? A convention is strictly political cover for career politicians.

New Jersey will hold an election for Governor and state assembly this November. Let office seekers present solutions to the state’s tax and spending problems and then let the voters decide the winners in the ideas race. That’s why we hold elections.



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