By Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco
I have had the privilege of living in New Jersey my entire life. I was born here, went to school here, raised my family here, and continue to work here. Fortunately for me, two of my children have chosen to stay here and raise my three grandchildren. Until recently, I believed we could make New Jersey more affordable to live, work and raise a family by working together on a bipartisan basis.
At this time, however, I have grave concerns about the course that has been set for the future of the state we call home.
As a legislator, I watched Gov. Phil Murphy propose a budget that increases spending by nearly eight percent with nearly $1.6 billion in new or increased taxes. Our debt has reached $60 billion and when added to the $150 billion in unfunded obligations to government pensions and health benefits, the Jersey tab exceeds $200 billion.
It is routinely reported that we have the highest taxes state in the nation. We are ranked the worst state in the country to retire. And, we rank 49th out of 50 states for the worst economic performance in the country. Is it any wonder why governors from other states, such as Texas, are placing ads in our newspapers seeking to lure our residents and businesses away from the Garden State? It should come as no surprise that we have one of the highest outward migrations for retirees and now millennials.
While this might be new to some, for the most part, this information has been known are reported for years. One would think that the state’s negative position among other states in the nation would served as an incentive to reclaim our competitiveness and improve our position in the national rankings.
Unfortunately, the exact opposite is happening in Trenton. Instead of comprehensive planning to reverse our competitive disadvantage and make New Jersey more affordable, the governor and my colleagues across the aisle are considering raising the sales tax to the second highest in the nation; raising the corporate business tax to the highest in the nation; taxing Uber, Lyft and AirBNB; raising taxes on phone usage; and cutting property tax relief in half to fund raises for public unions.
What surprises me the most is that no one seems to care or appear outraged. Is it just because our residents have given up and hope to leave, or are they simply not aware of what is happening?
If you believe that reducing our property tax burden and making New Jersey more affordable should be a priority as I do, I encourage you to show your outrage over what is happening in Trenton. Residents can no longer sit back and allow the Democrats to continue to make New Jersey more unaffordable or fail to address our highest-in-the-nation property taxes.
If there is one thing that I have learned during my time in Trenton, it is that my colleagues tend to respond only when the public becomes engaged. There are many ideas and solutions that would have a positive impact on reducing New Jersey’s high cost of living. Unfortunately, these ideas will not be considered unless the public demands fiscal accountability.
In that regard, I have decided to establish the website wherestheoutragenj.com. I intend to use this site to highlight some of the more outrageous policies coming out of Trenton along with some of the proposed solutions.
Please join me in helping to bring people’s attention to the issues that are affecting all of us, and working to make New Jersey more affordable.
Anthony M. Bucco, Assemblyman, 25th Legislative District