If two people so immensely different as governor Christie and I are supportive of the same measure – setting term limits for NJ legislators – there must be some merit in the idea. In fact, there is not just some merit: It is very much needed.
The main ingredient to the sclerotic political system of New Jersey resides in the Legislature whose two political parties gerrymander the electoral districts to keep the membership of the two chambers almost constant term after term. Members die in office and their relatives come or at least attempt to finish the term of the diseased as if the legislative branch of the State of New Jersey were a hereditary succession system. Once in a while, some of the legislators leave the office just to take some more lucrative patronage positions in the numerous independent authorities created by themselves. The long stay of the legislators in their offices leads to the rise of political bosses, such as George Norcross.
I favor limits of two terms for both the Assembly and the Senate. Furthermore, NJ legislators should be subject to the same pension and health benefit contributions as all other public employees.
The two branches of the State of New Jersey, executive and legislative, use above $500 million from a $31 billion state budget. That is also excessive. If elected governor my first budget will propose significant cuts to both branches.
As a side note, the NJ Division of Taxation is engaging in what I perceive as harassment, possibly because of my militancy and candidacy. Since my tax returns are very simple – wages only – they have resorted to attempt to collect NJ tax again on my contributions to a small 457 retirement account I once had. Employees’ contributions to 457 retirement accounts are tax deferred by the federal government but New Jersey taxes them in the payroll. They are demanding that I pay again. The distribution was in the tax year 2008 and the notice I received lists me as customer 001 – like sending me a message – I presume.
New Jersey could only tax at distribution any dividend earned during the life of the account and that tax was paid with the 2008 return.
Additionally, they arbitrarily rejected my homeowners credit in this last return of tax year 2011 offering no reason. Of course I meet all the criteria and my tax return was impeccably simple. I contacted the division by phone and they said it was their error which they would correct but with two incidents back-to-back, when I know I am correct in both, I do not trust the system. Some hack has been instructed to get on my case by any means possible.
Although the total amount in question in the two incidents combined is $452.60, I have sued the Division of Taxation in Tax Court, with the complaint served to them and the NJ Attorney General today. The court fee is $35 and the postage certified and return receipt to all 3 was about $18.