Justin J. Rivera: His Thoughts On Creating a Better New Jersey and NJGOP
I volunteered for the Schundler for Governor Campaign because as a young conservative, I really saw him as a perfect example of how conservative values work anywhere you institute them. Even in the face of Hudson County Democratic Machine.
Unfortunately as the campaign progressed I saw how Party moderates basically turned their backs on Mayor Schundler because he was beating one of their machine moderates. I thought it spoke volumes about the NJGOP - they would rather hand New Jersey over to Jim McGreevey than support a conservative.
I did small local things politically over the years to follow, and even ran in a couple of School Board elections in Guttenberg, losing both times by slim margins, until I moved to North Bergen, where I currently reside.
I've been really discouraged over how spineless New Jersey Republicans have become while the GOP does so well all throughout the rest of the country. The day Doug Forrester won the GOP primary I knew that it going to be more of the same.
I really felt like there was no hope for me as a conservative Republican in New Jersey. That was until I read the day after the election that Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan was calling on NJGOP Chairman Tom Wilson to resign over the mistreatment of hard working conservatives who were silenced by moderates.
I decided to look Mayor Lonegan up and contacted him letting him know that he really put a spring back in my step. I'm motivated now more than ever to do whatever I can to give conservatives a voice and show what Republicans are REALLY supposed to stand for.
Of course the first thing I feel any aspiring New Jersey Republican legislator should be advocating is real and substantive tax relief and reform. New Jersey taxpayers are looking for answers when it comes to their heavy tax burdens and neither the Republican nor Democrat Party has given them any real answers. This has been going on for decades. There is no time like the present to show that CONSERVATIVE Republicans have the answer.
For starters, Jim McGreevey's disastrous "Millionaire's Tax" needs to be immediately repealed. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction and raising taxes on "rich" people is no exception. This tax will drive thousands of high-income residents nearing retirement age to relocate their tax residences to Florida, Nevada, Texas or New Hampshire, none of which have any income tax at all. The result is that instead of a 41 percent increase in tax collections, these new tax brackets will actually bring in less revenue which puts an even greater burden on the already overtaxed middle class.
We also need to do away with the "Inheritance Tax" or Death Tax as it should be called. This in my opinion is perhaps the most despicable tax of them all. When you wake up in the morning and drink a cup of coffee, you pay a sales tax. When you drive to work, you pay a gas tax. At work, you pay an income tax. If you flick on the light in your home, you get hit with an electricity tax. Flush your toilet, get hit with a water tax. Arrive back home and get hit with a property tax and then you turn on your television only to get hit with a cable tax. Finally when your life is complete you must pay a death tax! In your passing you can't even leave your loved ones some financial stability without Trenton wanting to get their grubby little hands on it!
We need to start lowering things like the income tax, the real estate tax and property taxes. For years politicians have thought that taxing our way out of our problems was a solution. In 1966 liberal politicians promised that a three percent sales tax would "control" property taxes. Then in 1971 it was raised to five percent and raised again in 1982 to the current six percent. The income tax was created in 1977 with a top rate of 2.5 percent. This was raised to 3.5 percent just five years later, then raised to seven percent in 1990 and finally to nine percent today.
New Jersey politicians, Republican and Democrat alike, have taxed and taxed and borrowed and borrowed. The end result? Nothing left with lots of bills to pay! It is absolutely imperative that Republicans stand up for the elimination of wasteful spending. This includes sweeping reforms in the state's welfare programs. Many people receiving assistance are blatantly abusing the system and cheating taxpayers simply because they do not want to work. It is also abused by people who work, but want to get one by on the system.
I can't tell you how many times I've seen this kind of abuse growing up over the years and working as a night manager of a convenience store. This behavior is costing taxpayers dearly and cannot be tolerated anymore. While these changes will take time and tireless effort to implement, I really feel that if Conservatives are given a chance to govern the NJGOP that we can get these reforms through.
I realize that I've said a mouthful and I’m really sorry if this is too long but once I get started it's really hard for me to stop! I would really like to thank you again for giving me the opportunity to go in depth with you about my views and my vision for a better New Jersey.
Justin J. Rivera