It’s been a busy week coming back from a few days away. The Gas Tax battle rages on in Trenton and the politicians are getting agitated with the public’s lack of cooperation on new taxes. As I’ve mentioned many times, the real problem is with the Republican caucus in the New Jersey General Assembly and the State Senate. If the GOP stuck together and stood up for working and middle class New Jerseyans already suffering under the crushing weight of NJ’s current tax burden we might actually move NJ toward affordability. We had two different positions taken from two GOP lawmakers on the show this week.
The first was Senator Jennifer Beck who has stated unequivocally that there is no need for any new taxes. She’s gone so far as to propose cuts and renegotiations that will save billion. The other side is the thoughtful, but out-of-touch member of the Assembly, Declan O’Scanlon. Declan is a friend and a good guy. He’s just overthinking the problem and refuses to commit to a no tax position thinking that he can concede a new tax in negotiation for a cut. We all know that it’s never gonna happen. The only thing that politician understand is a firm position that forces a compromise. If the GOP is compromising before they even get to the negotiating table, the battle for the middle class is already lost. There are billions in renegotiated contracts and spending cuts that can be made over the next several years. There are immediate actions that can be made to pay for the emergency repairs to our state’s roads. There are pet projects, like Sweeney’s Gloucester county light rail that can be scrapped altogether. We know the truth. It’s time the politicians start acting on it. Here’s my interview with both legislators:
You asked for solutions. You got it. Senator Jennifer Beck joined me on air to discuss how her bill will get the ball rolling on negotiations regarding the state’s rising healthcare costs. The first part of her plan will save the taxpayers $1 Billion for state worker plans and another $2.7 Billion for local plans including teachers. It’s as simple as taking the current “Platinum” plans offered and costing an average of $40,000 a year per worker and creating an option that will lower the average cost to less than $30,000. The challenge facing state and local workers is that the compromise form 2011 between the Governor and the Senate President left workers with a cap on compensation without allowing for an increasing cost in health benefits. Jennifer Beck’s bill will change that and free up billions for tax relief and road construction.
After being a bit rough on my friend Declan O’Scanlon over the past few weeks for his failure to show up and vote on the last gas tax proposal in the Assembly. He’s #DigginIn but would not commit to you that he’d vote against new taxes. It would be nice to get the politicians on board with the very simple but smart plan proposed by our friend Senator Jennifer Beck to cut billions from the government health care burden. Maybe a cut to the pensions for former public official convicted of official misconduct? We found $700 Million in the current budget to cut over time. Until the legislature gets their head in the game there should not even be a discussion of ANY new taxes. #NoGasTax