This week two things happened that demonstrate without new leadership in Trenton our state will become increasingly unaffordable. And that’s saying a lot considering we are already one of the highest tax burdened states in the nation.
The Republican Governor and Democratic Senate President met and discussed how to fund the Transportation Trust Fund. The didn’t find a mutually agreeable solution, but they agreed on one thing…the gas tax should be raised by $0.23.
Then in another blow to commuters and residents, the leader of the Republicans in the NJ Assembly, Jon Bramnick embraced the hike in the gas tax as a “strategic necessity“.
In “Trenton Speak” the phases “Strategic Necessity” and “Tax Fairness” means YOU will pay more to live and work here. A lot more.
So the Governor is away. He left after signing a budget and taking out the red pen to exercise his line item veto power. Given that the budget is nearly $35 Billion a few hundred million in vetoes don’t exactly make the state’s financial situation any better, but it’s a start.
Too often politicians are looking for a huge statement, a grand headline, a game-changing move. And more often than not the big move is blocked and the voters and taxpayers are left holding the bag. In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker, elected in 2010 with a new Republican majority in both houses, successfully made that move changing the way pensions and benefits for state workers and teachers. That state went from a $3.6 billion deficit to a $900 million surplus. As you know, Governor Christie has had to deal with both houses of the NJ legislators solidly under Democratic control. Given the ineptitude of the GOP opposition in this state, that’s likely to be the case for some time.
This morning I had an opportunity to spar with Governor Christie over his proposed gas tax. It took a bit of an ugly turn… Take a listen!
Late night, closed door meeting in Trenton. Can’t be good. And it wasn’t. Governor Christie saved the Democrats from themselves by giving them an opportunity to pass a tax on gas that will supposedly fund the Transportation Trust Fund. Well, it’s ain’t gonna be that easy.
First of all, the tax on gas will raise the cost for NJ commuters by $0.23 per gallon. This will potentially cost you hundreds of dollars every year in additional money just to get back and forth to work. If you’re a delivery truck operator, commercial fishing captain, landscaper or any other business in the Garden state, the cost will be much more.
Quite a morning on the air today. My day got jumpstarted by an article about State Senator Steve Oroho who has already conceded that the gas tax will be raised and wants to offset the tax with an income tax deduction. Wow. What a shell game being played by the NJ Legislature. More specifically the Republicans. I’ll get to them in a minute.
Yesterday the Governor of New Jersey appeared, as he does once a month, on New Jersey 101.5 FM “Ask The Governor”. Governor Christie covered everything from taxes to Atlantic City and took calls from listeners. Thought I’d write about a funny sidebar conversation that the Governor got into after asking Eric how my ratings were doing on the morning show.
He’s apparently a fan of the show and if I heard him correctly referred to my performance as “Hot Stuff”. He also joked about spilling the beans on my exclusive interview this morning and made it clear that he and Eric Scott are more interesting, in fact may be the two most interesting people in New Jersey!
Had a great conversation with New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno this morning during her visit to NJ 101.5. She had originally been scheduled to come on my show as she’s done several times before, to discuss the NJ job market and the jobs that have been created over the past year in the private sector. The challenge was that I had started the morning off talking about heroin in Jersey, specifically reacting to Governor Christie’s comments yesterday about how many lives Narcan has saved over the past year and a half. Anytime you bring up addiction, specifically the growing heroin epidemic, the phones get flooded with calls from concerned parents, former addicts and friends of people who have fallen victim to the drug. Gotta give the LG credit, she rolled with the new topic immediately and was helpful to several callers calling about the red tape at our state clinics preventing some people from getting the help they need when they need it. Obviously we weren’t going to solve the heroin problem in a couple hours on the radio but as she pointed out, keeping the conversation going is critical as we work toward solutions.
Had a great conversation with New Jersey State Senator Jennifer Beck earlier today on the morning show. It’s clear that she’s one of the few Jersey politicians who’s not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for her constituents. Our conversation ranged from Atlantic City to the Gas Tax to whether she was considering a run for Governor. Best part was that she was able to jump right into the conversation immediately as she walked in from the parking lot. No delay, no break, just a real conversation about issues impacting you.
Had a great opportunity this morning to have a conversation with Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian. He’s a thoughtful, intelligent leader committed to bringing his city out of the financial mess it’s current suffering through. The war of words in Trenton has been stepped up recently as Governor Christie pulled no punches regarding the bill to allow the state to takeover the operations and finances of Atlantic City. Going so far as to say that if Guardian were a CEO of a company the board would have him fired.