Howard Kleinhendler On How To Fix New Jersey

The economic news keeps getting worse and Washington is hopelessly paralyzed through partisan bickering and a refusal to compromise. Whatever your political passion, stalemate helps no one, particularly the 9.9% of unemployed in Ocean County. In several weeks Lakewood residents will be able to vote for their Assembly candidates. And, this year, in light of redistricting there are two vacant seats. If elected, here’s how I, a 24-year Lakewood resident, would help improve our lives: 

Property Taxes 

Republican cuts to educational spending and a failure to promote job growth have left homeowners carrying an ever-increasing burden of municipal expenses. We need to contain and then cut the property tax rate so people can stay in their homes and young people can afford to buy them. Here’s how: 

—             Reverse the $1 billion in cuts in school aid enacted in 2011

—             Consolidate school districts to save on unnecessary administrative staff and provide them with greater economies of scale to purchase supplies and services at lower prices

—             Consolidate municipal services such as garbage collection and utilize Lakewood’s state of the art, underutilized public works facility by having smaller surrounding towns pay to have garbage treated here

—             Demand New Jersey’s fair share in federal aid.  For every dollar in taxes New Jersey sends to Washington it gets back only 59 cents. It’s time New Jersey stopped subsidizing the rest of the nation. 

Jobs  

Under the current Republican administration, New Jersey’s unemployment rate has been stuck at 9.5%, well-above the national average and a full 1.5% higher than the rates in neighboring New York and Pennsylvania. We need to invest in our future to create jobs, not merely cut entitlements and investment: 

—             Promote business investment through tax incentives and loan guaranties

—             Have several sales tax holidays a year. By eliminating the 7% sales tax during high volume seasons we will lure shoppers away from New York City and Philadelphia who don’t want to pay their 8%+ sales taxes. This windfall will lure businesses to the state and increase corporate tax revenues from increased sales.

—             Invest in infrastructure projects such as road and bridge repair and rail service. There are billions in federal aid available for these improvements and New Jersey must get its fair share. The unprecedented flooding after Hurricane Irene highlighted the need to properly maintain roads and drainage.  Infrastructure projects will provide sorely needed jobs to thousands of idle construction workers.

—             Provide tax relief to businesses that hire unemployed workers and veterans 

Healthcare 

Medical costs are continuing to increase at an alarming rate. Yet, the Republican solution has been to cut back funding to our seniors and lower income families by raising Medicaid co-pays and eliminating funding to critical programs like Jersey Family Care. The result has not saved us any money as more people now flock to emergency rooms for primary care and go without necessary preventive medicine. This leads to increased medical costs. Instead, we should: 

—             Maintain Medicaid eligibility and eliminate increased co-pays

—             Restore and maintain funding for Jersey Family Care

—             Reduce medical malpractice insurance rates by discouraging frivolous malpractice claims by capping pain and suffering awards and instituting “loser pay” provisions for suits against doctors and hospitals that are ultimately dismissed for lack of merit. 

Crime Prevention

Crime has been increasing in our community while budget cuts have decimated many police forces.  Recent pension reforms have pushed many experienced officers into retirement leaving us less protected against an ever expanding gang presence in our community. The solution:

—             Restore pension benefits to our police who risk their lives every day and are forced to deal with the darkest sides of humanity. We need experienced officers who know that after 20 years of service, they will be cared for.

—             Develop a state task force on gang violence which will include specially-trained under-cover units backed up by SWAT and helicopter support. These special units will be imbedded in local police squads to assist local law enforcement who know their local terrain.

—             Provide funding for after-school programs and summer job fairs so our high school youth can resist the gangs and use their free time more productively.  

Lakewood

Lakewood is by far the fastest growing municipality in New Jersey with almost 100,000 residents. Yet, our roads and town planning are stuck in a time when we had more chicken farms than townhouses. We need to bring Lakewood into the modern era of urban planning which will accommodate its ever-growing population:

                Improve roads and traffic patterns. Widen Route 9 south of Route 88 and explore other traffic pattern improvements.

                Enforce residency requirements for public school admission. Enrollment of multiple same-aged children from a single address should be investigated

                Enforce local and state zoning and ordinance laws, especially as it concerns school construction.  While we certainly need schools to support the growing religious community, we cannot turn every corner lot into a school with hundreds of children, buses and cars, encroaching on single family homes.  It’s not fair to homeowners or to the children. 

The Republicans have put up two Wall Township politicians, Sean Kean and David Rible, who know nothing about Lakewood and have no inherent inclination or motive to help our community. They are Republican operators who tow the party line and derive substantial revenues from government payouts. They cannot be trusted to solve our fiscal problems and fix the wasteful patronage system in Trenton.  This November we should elect one of our own.

 

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Mr Kleinhendler makes bold statements about what needs to be done. He doesn’t tell us how he is going tp pay for all of these wonderful programs. He wants to blame the Republicans for all of the problems of the State, but the Democratics have controlled the State for the last fifty years.

  2. If you appreciate Government handouts ( many do) and a Liberal agenda vote for Kleinhendler. Ultimately, this idealogy is going to sink us. Why don’t people see the obvious?

  3. Ehem! How do you expect to pay for all these brilliant ideas? Are we supposed to outsource our mint and start printing money in China? At the rate we’re going we’ll soon have their president on our cash!

  4. Apparently you don’t know as much about Lakewood as you think you do. We do not treat garbage at the Public Works Facility nor are we under utilized; understaffed yes. With the growth of the community every household added, requires additional trash, recycling and snow removal services. Instead of increasing to meet the need we have been cut back. “DO MORE WITH LESS – MEANS MORE GET LESS.

  5. How do you plan to make up the loss of tax dollars when you reduce the property taxes??? The state budget has to be paid for! If you cut my property taxes you will need to get the money from some place, what taxes will have to be raised to get you the money to pay for the budget?? Are you going to raise my gas tax, my sales tax? Tell me how you will get the money, AND DON”T tell me you will get another credit card and borrow more money Obama tried that and now we are worse off than before. The only other thing you can do is to lay off state workers…… great idea more on the unemployment lines. You have NO plan just the same old “blame the other guy”.

  6. There are plenty of ways to pay for these ideas.

    First, stop wasting hundreds of millions on Xanadu in North Jersey to enrich some private developers.

    Second stop throwing money away on Atlantic City which is never going to come back as legal gambling proliferates in neighboting states.

    Third, enact pension reform that makes sense, like eliminating double dippers and halting disability payments to people that are capable of working.

    Fourth, get more money from federal government; recall we lost $400 million in education grants thanks to Republican bumbling.

    Fifth find a way to fill the 20% vacancy rate in our malls and commercial office spaces by incentivising businesses. Nobody wants to work in NJ with crumbling public schools and rising gang viiolence.

    In short, the money is there to pay for the ideas suggested in this article without raising anyone’s taxes. Republican TEA-Party ideology, of cutting without any investment, has been a collosal failure that helps no one but the rich who DO NOT use etheir extra cash to create jobs. That is a pathetic myth that the Republican masses must come to grips with.

  7. Mr Kleinhendler wants to increase government spending, so that all our taxes will go up.

    The more the government spends, the more taxes go up.

    The more taxes go up, the less businesses and “rich” have.

    The less businesses and “rich” have, the less they will hire us poor people.

    The less we poor people are hired, the less money we will have, and the more food stamps we will need.

    No, Mr Kleinhendler, stop the spending, and businesses will hire. It is the Democratic policies of the past decades that have destroyed this great state.

    Chris Christie tried to institute property tax cap, and your fellow Democrats didn’t let.

    Democrat Gov. Corzine raised the sales tax from 6% to 7% with the promise of using the money to offset property taxes. And then he reneged on the property taxes, but kept the higher sales tax in place. YOUR FELLOW DEMOCRAT AT WORK.

    And let us not forget the big elefant in the room. All the new taxes and regulations that small businesses have to deal with because of ObamaCare which you so eloquently supported on the pages of TLS. What do you think these small businesses are doing in response? They are so scared that they are waiting for the full scope of ObamaCare to become known before they hire additional workers.

    You, just like Obama, speak about all the problems that were created by Democrats, and then you blame it on the Republicans.

    I must say, though, I am very happy that you continue to show us what you believe. In this sense, you are unlike the other Democrats that fool us into thinking that they will lower taxes. You tell us straight out what you will do, so we know to vote against you.

  8. You saw what happened to Weprin. Torah values won that election. Don’t expect us to vote for the party that’s pro-abortion and pro-toeva. While you personally may be against those things, your being affiliated with a party which prides itself on supporting these abominations is a tacit haskama.

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