Murphy’s tax reduction claims defy reality | Letters


Gov. Phil Murphy’s recent op-ed, “I pledged to do something about New Jersey’s notorious taxes and I have,” presents a set of “alternative facts” that do not stand up to checking, and directly contradict the experience of New Jersey families who are desperate for real solutions to their very real pain at the pump, in the grocery store, at toll booths, and when paying their rent or mortgage.

First, he claims that through his ANCHOR rebate program, the effective residential property tax bill will fall to 2011 levels for those who qualify. New Jerseyans know that taxes are not going down. This program merely shifts tax money from one pocket to another in a classic street corner shell game.

The governor claims that state aid for our local schools means that localities can reduce property taxes imposed by school districts. Our state budget already supplies over $15 billion of the $30 billion being spent to support K-12 schools, so why aren’t these taxes going down anywhere?

Murphy claims that his budget is reinforcing the public employee pension system while protecting taxpayers. In reality, property tax bills will be impacted by a 10% increase in the cost of local and county employee pensions, and a 24% increase in health care costs, both well above our nation’s already sky-high inflation rate.

Despite the governor’s claims that these increases are not the his responsibility, those looming property tax increases are a direct result of Trenton’s failure to embrace common-sense reforms.

Finally, the governor claims that his budget has set aside $5 billion to further pay down or avoid state debt to the benefit of the taxpayers of today and tomorrow. But, according to the Murphy administration’s own reporting, public debt has increased by $11 billion on his watch.

Facts can be very inconvenient when they don’t match a desired narrative.

Regina M. Egea, President, Garden State Initiative, Morristown

Malinowski never took that ‘hard left’

This is in response to Dan Aronson’s letter, “(U.S. Rep. Tom) Malinowski should have listened to me.” The writer states he had urged Malinowski, D-7th Dist., to “take a strong stand against the self-defeating, bigoted hard left of the Democratic Party” and points to the outgoing congressman’s failure to do this as the cause of his defeat.

Leaving aside Aronson’s distorted view of progressives, he writes nothing about Malinowski’s voting record that warrants the criticism. Malinowski voted with the entire Democratic Party to pass several major bills this year. Does voting for the infrastructure bill put one in the radical left? Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices? Capping the cost of insulin? These and more are all extremely popular with millions of voters and hardly qualify one for membership in the “hard left.”

The reasons for Malinowski’s loss had more to do with redistricting. The state’s Democratic Party, in its desire to protect other congressional districts, added 30,000 registered Republicans to the 7th, which, in the eyes of some, amounted to throwing Malinowski under the bus. The district now stretches across New Jersey, from Linden to the Delaware River.

Another key reason for his loss, as Star-Ledger opinion writers have pointed out, is that Rep.-elect Tom Kean Jr. ran a dishonest campaign. He repeatedly described himself as “pro-choice” while receiving a 100% rating from New Jersey Right to Life, and refused to allow reporters into his campaign events.

Jim Price, Montclair

Which card are the winners under?

As of Friday morning, we still did not have full Nov. 8 election results, and we don’t know which party will control the U.S. House of Representatives or the Senate.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I guess a case could be made for expanded mail-in balloting and pre-Election Day early voting sites. However, it is long past time to return to voting at our designated polling places. My experience as an election worker was that 30 minutes after the polls closed, we would have an accurate count of the votes cast for each candidate at that polling place.

The systems now used to count the mail-in and early ballots can best be described as giving us three-card monte voting results, which the loser — no matter what party they represent — many times will not accept.

If the voters are willing to accept three-card monte voting results, then what we have is a three-card monte democracy.

Armand Rose, North Arlington

Cellar dwellers unite

While I agree that U.S. Rep-Elect Tom Kean Jr. “hid in his basement” during his recent campaign for the Seventh District congressional seat, I am curious as to why columnist Tom Moran, who has criticized Kean over this, did not treat Joe Biden the same way when he also hid in the basement during his 2020 presidential campaign.

Isn’t president a more important office?

Frank Scott, Rahway

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Read More: Murphy’s tax reduction claims defy reality | Letters

2022-11-13 20:26:00

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