Thursday, September 13, 2012
RIGHT ON, CHRIS CHRISTIE!
While reading the Asbury Park Press during breakfast at The Chicken or the Egg (aka the Cheg) in Beach Haven on Long Beach Island (my usual “Cheeser Pleaser”) yesterday morning I came across an item on NJ Governor Chris Christie’s policy priorities.
Now that I live in PA I shouldn’t care about NJ politics. However the bulk of my clients and friends still remain in the “Garden State”.
I have always been a fan of “Uncle Chris” (the federal government is Uncle Sam, and I have always referred to NJ as “Uncle” or, in the case of one previous governor, “Aunt” when it comes to discussing taxes). I fully support his taking on the corrupt NJEA (NJ Education Association) – which I believe is the largest contributor to political campaigns in the state. Christie, and I, are not against NJ teachers – we are against the abuse of the corrupt union.
FYI - I am not a "card carrying" Republican (nor am I a "card carrying" Democrat). The only "cards" I carry are for NATP, AARP, the discount programs of Staples, Stop and Shop, and Rite-Aid, and various police organization "courtesy" cards (never used).
The newspaper item mentioned the following policy priorities of the governor –
· Reducing the NJ Gross Income Tax by 10% across the boards.
· Banning NJ politicians from holding multiple elected offices.
· Eliminating the indefinite accumulation of sick pay by government employees and the full pay-out thereof at retirement.
I wholeheartedly support all three of these proposals.
(1) I have frequently said here that I will reduce my annual living expenses by over $11,000 as a result of my move to PA. To be honest, I will actually pay more state income tax as a PA resident (a flat 3+% rate on gross taxable income with no deductions or exemptions). My major savings will come from housing costs – monthly inflated rent in NJ vs truly minimal real estate taxes and monthly maintenance fees from the purchase of a reasonably priced condo (no such animal available in NJ). I will also cut my insurance costs – health and auto – almost in half.
That said, NJ does have a high progressive state income tax, as well as excessively high real estate taxes and a higher state sales tax (NJ is 7% and PA is 6% - although I lived near “Urban Enterprise Zones” in NJ where the sales tax was only 3½%). High taxes lead to the exodus of high income residents.
(2) Many of NJ’s corrupt politicians (a redundancy) on all levels have several (often more than 2) paid elected and appointed government positions, as do the members of their family. This results in multiple duplications of paid benefits and entitlements.
No NJ resident (individual or married couple) should be allowed to hold more than 2 paid elected or appointed government positions at the same time. And no NJ family should receive more than one set of resulting employee benefits (health insurance, pension, etc). If a person, or married couple, holds 2 government positions he/she/they should be limited to the higher set of benefits from the 2 positions.
(3) Sick pay is an accommodation, for the benefit of the employer, and not an entitlement. It permits employees who are truly sick the ability to stay home and recover without losing pay rather than being forced to go into work and risk infecting other employees.
Currently government employees in NJ can accumulate unused sick pay indefinitely over the life of their employment, and are paid for all unused sick days when they retire. As we have seen in the case of suburban NJ Superintendents of Schools in the past few years, this can add up to a severance pay of over half a million dollars upon retirement. This is utterly ridiculous and an indefensible waste of taxpayers’ money.
As an aside note, it appears that these Superintendents of Schools never took a sick day – they just “worked at home”.
No retiring government employee should be paid one red cent for accumulated allegedly “unused” sick pay!
So a hearty “right on” to brother Christie! Please continue the good fight.