Tuesday, December 30, 2008
...do not let this happen to your state. New Jersey is functionally bankrupt, and there is no sign that the state's political class is going to do a damned thing about it. The state has been waging war against employers for years, and the result is that 93% of the jobs created in the state from 2000 to 2007 were in the public sector. That is an extraordinary statistic for the United States, and it includes a period of long economic expansion elsewhere. I suspect that if the number were recalculated to include 2008 and then 2009 results, government jobs would account for more than 100% of total growth in employment.
Sadly, it is not only Trenton that is incompetent. Local governments in New Jersey spend money as if it were without limit, and, in many towns, there really is no limit. Most Princetonians now pay about 3% of the value of their home and property in annual property taxes. For this we get excellent public schools, but virtually nothing else. The fire and the EMS are volunteer, and trash collection is privatized so homeowners pay separately for that. Many of the roads in town are so potholed that they damage cars, and whenever the township does get around to repaving a street it takes forever and, no doubt, costs a fortune because somebody decided we needed Belgian block curbs all over town. Oh, and the sidewalks are now made of special and expensive "permeable" asphalt, because somebody read somewhere that impermeable cover was suddenly a big problem. (Our property, which is about two acres, is as permeable as it gets with about 1.5 acres of wetland and "flood fringe," and the Township engineer still forced us to buy the special permeable asphalt to rebuilt the sidewalk damaged by the construction of the house.) If it snows, all the begging in the world will not bring a snow plow past your home in time to make a difference. If you want to build something, you can delight in the deliberate speed of the building inspectors, notwithstanding their vested interest in your higher property taxes.
One would think that the voters would rebel, but they do not. Even in corrupt Chicago the voters will vote the rascals out if city services do not perform. In Princeton, the majority is content to keep voting in the same wasteful clowns as long as they dutifully pass resolutions denouncing some feature of United States foreign policy and shower sufficient honorifics on the right African-American Stalinists. It really is astonishing.
A key metric, but one that's difficult to measure is "jobs that might have been here" but aren't because we drove them away. In the long run it's more important than "jobs lost." It's the difference between why Pittsburgh recovered from the 1970s, but Buffalo didn't and why a city like Rochester -- which became overly dependent on Kodak -- is likely to suffer permanent decline. It ain't just bad weather ...
States like New Jersey and New York have yet to feel the full brunt of the end of Wall Street. It'll be a grinding several years process felt in sharply lower tax revenues and declining home values, and that's the best case. Current state pension schemes are unsustainable.
Obama has never been in the private sector, and I fear doesn't like math ... but you'd think a guy like Corzine would know better.
Right there with you Tiger - excpet my town is at least headed in the right direction - too bad we can't catch a break with the Highlands and COAH and Abbott and NJDEP and environitwits. And at least we have a few good fighters - Jen Beck taking on the govt car (mis)usage and Decroce and Pennachio and Webber and Rumana. We just need a few more good fighters.
The problem with Democracy is that if it doesn't work because of apathy or because most of the population doesn't pay most of the taxes, what do you do? Politicians would be wise to fear the people.
In New Jersey you might as well add to the list of complaints that citizen referendum is strictly limited, unlike California, and taxes can be raised at will, unlike Florida or Colorado, where constitutional limits work to protect the people. The political class has no check at all, here.
We're seeing the start of a tax payer revolt here in Irvington, New York. We could use a new high school field, so the school board put up a $6 million bond referendum for that and "other things", which was narrowly defeated last year. The board came back this year with a referendum for $3 million which was overwhelmingly defeated. Part of the board's fault was first asking for $6 million when you could build a good artificial field for $1.5 million or less. We approved a $50 million bond issue a few years ago to approve a major school re-building and expansion.
Ironically, Obama says he wants to spend billions on school infrastructure projects. Westchester county is about to have major issues covering its budget, and we're an affluent county.
The only hope I see to fixing the problem TH, is to change the eligibilty standards for voting. Once upon a time, only property owners could vote. But I don't see the eligibility standards ever being changed. We will just sit back and let the Government rob us of every last nickel.At least, that's the direction we are headed.
Following one of the Instapundit links TH threw up led to this very interesting review of the recent bankruptcy of Vallejo CA. While Princeton doesn't let public employees retire at 90% of peak salary, it does allow for 80%. I believe the borough also grants lifetime medical care coverage, as perhaps the township also might do. No business in America pays these sorts of benefits, and no municipality in the country can possibly afford them.
As a resident of the fine red county of Monmouth (though my congressional district is a gerrymandered mess that goes all the way into Trenton... Hello Tom Delay?) I listen to these folks complain and whine about their property taxes, while they continue to vote the bastards that raise their taxes and provide less and less services into office.
It reminds me of this study done by Monmouth U and Gannett.
Count me in that 50% that want to leave.
As residents of this state, we get what we deserve. The cronyism, backstabbing politicking...it's gone on here as long as I can remember.
Folks, you like to work the 5-9, have no quality of life, no time for your families or community, keep voting these jerks back into office. As one poster said earlier, Corzine should have known BUT...another way the NJ voter got hoodwinked. Instead of getting a creative and financially savvy Governor, we got the same old same old.
This blue in NJ needs to GO!
"(though my congressional district is a gerrymandered mess that goes all the way into Trenton... Hello Tom Delay?)"
I was of the understanding that it was the state legislatures who were responsible for divvying up Congressional districts. In which case, Tom Delay had nothing to do with it.
Article here .
Has it occurred to you that this plan to bankrupt NJ is deliberate?
Sound crazy? Not really.
High taxes and overbearing nanny-state regulations drive more affluent people out of the state, people who are predominantly Republican.
A combination of this government-created distillation of the electorate, combined with the left-wing brainwashing of the public schools and a sycophantic, left-wing media, have all helped to consolidate Democratic control in NJ until we are, for all intents and purposes, a one-party Socialist state like most others in the NE.
For the Dems (as for all parties of the left), it is about the consolidation of power and the crushing of opposition.
It is not, nor has it ever been, about improving the lot of "the people."