Once again, Tom Hester is right on the money. If you don't read the Times of Trenton reporter's column every Monday, you miss a good assessment of our current state of affairs.
Doug Forrester, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, opposes a convention and
insists his priority will be implementing his plan to require the state to pay 30 percent of the property taxes on each primary residence.
If Republicans gain an Assembly majority in November's election, he'll get that plan through that house, but regardless it's dead on arrival. Neither Assembly nor Senate
Democrats, who will still control the Senate, will support it, no matter how much noise Forrester makes about being given a mandate by the people to push it through.
Most property taxes go toward education costs, and the fairest way to fund education is through a progressive income tax. Corzine has noted the unfairness of using property taxes to pay for education, but he also won't suggest a change. He punts that suggestion to the mythical convention.
If a shift to income taxes is made, a large segment of New Jersey voters will be significant losers and they're not going to sit quietly. They're going to come after politicians just like they did former Gov. Jim Florio and no one wants to repeat that experience, especially a new governor and Democrats who enjoy their majority status.
The only other option is fiddling around with either some laws or the tax structure to provide some change, but that's not a solution. Lawmakers have done that for years and nothing has changed.
It's difficult to see a solution. Property tax reform will continue to be discussed, but it's going nowhere.
Yep, Tom, you're right.
I've heard it said before that the convention idea is cover for politicians. It is, and it's a shame that it's needed, but it is. More sessions of the legislature and further griping will get us nowhere- minor changes, silly miniscule tax structure alterations, that's it. We need real reform, and I'm sorry to say, I think a convention is the only way currently proposed to get there. I think it's a slim chance it will work, but I think we have to try.
Now, on to the money.
The Dems are rolling in it for this year's elections- over three times what the Repubs have raised. This is mainly about Assembly races, since the multi-millionaires who are running for governor are funding themselves, but some of that money may be used "to help their efforts." This looks good for the Assembly Dems, and some help for Corzine if he needs it.
So let's face facts: with Forrester trailing Corzine big time, it looks like Forrester has no chance of trying to get his ill-advised 30%-in-3 plan proposed. So, let's hope that Sen. Corzine can pull a rabbit out of his special session/convention hat and make it all work.