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Lou's Latest Op-Eds
March 13, 2014
Link to original
It’s a moment you don’t forget. Each of us remembers hearing the news: a gunman had stormed a Connecticut elementary school, killing 20 6- and 7-year-olds and six courageous adults who tried to protect them. As a nation, the tragedy of Newtown broke our hearts. But it should also strengthen our resolve to protect our communities from senseless gun violence.
Several times, I have met with parents whose children were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary. These visits are among the most profoundly moving experiences in my 18 years of public service.
These families told me how they used to see stories about shootings on the evening news. They told me their hearts would go out to the families of the victims. They told me they would say prayers, then return to the normal business of their lives. But in the blink of an eye, their families were ripped apart.
This story could happen to any of us. Any of our families could so easily be devastated the way the victims of gun violence are devastated every day.
We can no longer afford to be a society that sees gun violence on the news and thinks nothing can be done. That’s why I have proposed reducing the capacity of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds. This reasonable proposal will promote public safety while respecting the Second Amendment.
July 2, 2012
DEMOCRATS approved legislation to help low-income New Jerseyans needing legal services.
Governor Christie vetoed it.
Democrats approved helping women obtain quality health care.
Governor Christie vetoed it.
Christie’s war on New Jersey’s middle class marches onward. The governor’s mania to protect tax cuts for the mega-rich over providing property tax relief for the middle-class and senior citizens is appalling.
We gave the governor one more chance to help beleaguered homeowners across this state and once again he failed miserably.
Blatant effort to distract
Monday’s speech was a blatant attempt by the governor to distract from his opposition to middle-class New Jerseyans. The governor has made his choice – he will protect the mega-rich to the detriment of middle-class taxpayers.
In his desperation to deliver tax cuts to the wealthy during his audition for the vice presidency, Christie has put his own political ambitions ahead of New Jersey’s middle class. As he spouts distortions and slogans, the governor cannot escape the facts: He keeps protecting huge tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires while property taxes in New Jersey just keep rising.
Democrats wanted to correct that injustice but the governor simply wants to prolong it.
Democrats are not about to make the same mistake Republicans made with Gov. Christie Whitman and President Bush by passing tax cuts that cannot be paid for and contributed to economic turmoil.
SUNDAY, MARCH 11, 2012
BY LOUIS GREENWALD
High property taxes are the cancer that is killing our state; it is the tax without a conscience.
Governor Christie's proposed income tax cut makes for nice headlines and a hefty payday for millionaires but fails to provide meaningful relief to middle-class families.
Assembly Democrats, however, have a plan to help struggling middle-class families — a 20 percent property tax relief credit to homeowners of the first $10,000 in property taxes paid for all homeowners earning up to $250,000 per year. Our plan would be phased in over four years, with significant relief to begin immediately, and it would be funded by asking New Jersey's millionaires to pay their fair share.
The contrast between our plan and the governor's plan couldn't be clearer.
Governor Christie's plan would save a family earning $100,000 per year just $275, while millionaires get a tax break of $7,265.75.
Under our plan, a family earning $100,000 per year and paying $8,000 in property taxes would receive $1,600 in tax relief. Our plan provides real property tax relief to 95 percent of New Jersey homeowners, with the average family slated to receive a credit of $1,552 against their property taxes. And our plan strengthens relief for tenants, while maintaining the Senior Freeze program that so many of our elderly and disabled residents rely on.
February 22, 2012
BY LOUIS D. GREENWALD
GOVERNOR CHRISTIE spent much time during his Tuesday budget address talking about the income tax, but the governor is missing the point. In doing so, he’s showing how far out-of-touch he is with middle-class and poor New Jerseyans struggling each and every day to make ends meet.
For the middle-class and the poor, and for the senior citizens and the disabled, it’s all about the tax without a conscience – the property tax.
That’s why New Jersey Democrats will be steering the conversation back in the right direction by focusing on middle-class property tax relief and helping working class families who have unfairly shouldered so much of the burden under the governor.
The bottom line is that the governor’s budget plan is just more of the same – tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the middle class.
Christie just doesn’t get it. His zeal for tax breaks for the wealthy, while middle-class families struggle with the highest property taxes in the nation, is wrong. He has essentially proclaimed “Mission Accomplished” even though property taxes have risen a net 20.4 percent since he took office. The only thing missing is the flight suit and aircraft carrier.
Think about it. The governor is proclaiming a New Jersey comeback despite a recent analysis that found the average homeowner now pays $7,519 in net property taxes compared to $6,244 in 2009.
February 8, 2012
New Jersey for years discussed moving April school elections to November, but the idea was always killed by inertia or special interests.
Finally, by bringing all the stakeholders to the table and forging a compromise, we passed a major reform measure recently that allows school districts to move their elections to November.
Now, my solution is proving to be a an astounding success, with nearly 42 percent of the state’s elected school boards already moving school elections to November as of Feb. 7.
This truly remarkable momentum benefits both taxpayers and democracy and shows we can get things done when we work together for sensible reform. Come to think of it, the overwhelming success of this legislation and its adoption by so many begs the question, what was all the fuss ever about?
April school votes are a costly charade, but because of this law school boards are giving voters better control while saving property taxpayers the costs of yet another election. The progress we have seen on this issue is a great example of what we can accomplish by bringing people together to find solutions, instead of relying on name-calling, divisiveness and 30-second sound bites.
Everyone realizes this law is long overdue common sense. I’m pleased to see it embraced by so many districts and look forward to seeing it embraced by even more. We’re controlling government spending and increasing public participation in our democracy. These are all good things.
New Jersey Assembly