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New Jersey has among the most expensive road and bridge networks in the country

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Garden State Initiative (GSI) today released Adding It All Up: The Path to Saving $2 Billion on the Cost of New Jersey’s Roads and Bridges, which includes recommendations based upon a data-driven analysis of our investments in our state’s roads and bridges. Third in a series of reports on the true size of New Jersey’s expansive government, this report identifies $2 billion in savings that can be reinvested for tangible improvements to our state’s infrastructure. The full report can be downloaded here.

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NJ State Employee Benefits Cost 50% more then Private Sector

Ridgewood Teachers

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

MORRISTOWN NJ , Garden State Initiative (GSI) today released The Stark Gap Between Public and Private Employee Benefits, an analysis of the latest employee compensation data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics which illustrates some dramatic differences in compensation costs between the public and private sectors. While it’s less surprising that government costs for retirement and medical benefits far exceed the private sector, the 50% differential in cost in New Jersey versus the rest of the US is startling.

The analysis was conducted by Charles Steindel, Ph.D., a former New Jersey State Chief Economist and current resident scholar at Ramapo College. It is available for download at: https://www.gardenstateinitiative.org/updates/publicemployeebenefits

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Reader says , “public pension funds will be insolvent by 2027… which means NJ taxpayers have unlimited liability carrying the $12B per year”

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“NJ already has the highest combined, state, local, and corporate tax rates in the United States… and the public pension funds will be insolvent by 2027… which means NJ taxpayers have unlimited liability carrying the $12B per year paid out to retired public sector workers, plus their PAYGO (pay as you go) platinum health insurance… Ponzi scheme where the math doesn’t work when private sector employers are leaving and aren’t investing in the state. NJ also has net migration which only worsens the Ponzi scheme. Public sector unions only care about squeezing more blood from a shrinking stone. Greedy pigs “

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 “Same for CA, IL, etc, but When the state sends out $12bn a year already in annual pension checks (or 1/3 of our current annual NJ state budget), we have an unlimited pension liability in perpetuity once the public sector pension funds go insolvent by 2027… and that’s not even including “pay-as-you-go” (PAYGO) platinum healthcare insurance… the math doesn’t work. States like NJ, CA, IL, etc will have to explore bankruptcy filings to protect them from all of these excessive liability claims! “

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New Jerseyans Feel Overtaxed, Unloved and Dissatisfied With State Government

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, As Tax Day approaches, about eight in ten New Jerseyans feel they pay too much in taxes and are not happy with what the state government is doing about the affordability of living in the Garden State, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, conducted in collaboration with the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA).

Eighty-two percent of residents think they pay too much in taxes for what they get, and large majorities believe the taxes they pay – namely, property taxes (79 percent), the 41.4 cent gas tax (77 percent), and the state income tax (62 percent) – are unfair. Only the sales tax sits well with residents, with over half (58 percent) saying the tax is reasonable.

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Sweeney Town Hall Meeting On ‘Path To Progress’ Fiscal Reforms At Monmouth University

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

TRENTON NJ, Senate President Steve Sweeney will hold a town hall meeting from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, March 11, in Wilson Hall, Monmouth University, 400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, NJ to conduct a public discussion about the fiscal reforms in the “Path To Progress” report.

Hosted by Grey J. Dimenna, the President of Monmouth University, the forum will include the participation of Senator Vin GopalSenator Declan O’Scanlon and Peter Reinhart, from the Monmouth University Kislak Real Estate Institute and a member of the Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup.

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Reader says , “time is money and money is finding other places to live”

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Go west (or south) young families as leaving Ridgewood is sad but apparently, financially prudent. State and local governments have little leeway to manage their budgets given their contractual salary, healthcare and pension obligations. Population trends, prevailing taxes, and budget stress are tell tale signs that our Village and State’s financial problems are not revenue but expense related. Decades long deficits and massive unfunded pension obligations are proof that state and local fiscal strategies are out of sync.

Unlike the private sector, government wage and benefit payouts are not flexible. They increase with the passage of time. We in the Village have been served this sandwich for years and now people are moving faster to greener pastures that offer a different menu. With that said, it is encouraging that some of our state level elected officials recognize our financial crisis for what it is, as a spending problem. It would be nice to hear that locally…Our only hope is that the same political and perhaps certain union leaders will act bravely to modify current arrangements that mitigate growing budget deficits. In this matter, all interests are aligned.

Real and sustainable fiscal management is difficult to implement. It takes compromise and commitment but the resulting policy changes are not hard to understand. Some are obvious such as i) 401Ks for new hires versus a pension, ii) altering timing on pension payouts, iii) means based health care programs versus the gold standard regardless of house hold income, and iv) eliminating revenue draining white elephant projects such as municipally run/owned parking garages. (Sorry, I could not help myself.)

It is likely naive of me to hope that our leaders (again be they elected or union leaders) will deflect our current financial trajectory But it is a must because it is the only way to ensure what was contracted is delivered. A deal is a deal and we should stand by what we agreed to pay. However, all have to recognize that will be true only if there is money to pay for what was promised. The balance is we all have a line in the sand on how much more we will pay to support current services.

My comments are not intended to offend anyone. Their purpose is to be a call to action and compromise because I love it here. I enjoy my neighbors, the schools, teachers, the community, and I don’t want to bailout when my kids are off to college. I want to be apart of the solution and not just a piggy bank. I know others feel the same but we will vote with our feet if our leaders lead poorly and without reasonable foresight.

Village Counsel and union leaders, is there a willingness to make reasonable contractual changes now before it is too late or do you prefer the status quo? Your responses and actions are very powerful. Your decisions will dictate how fast our tax base erodes and how the Village will deliver on the benefits of your bargain. I respectfully suggest that your challenge is now because time is money and money is finding other places to live.

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Reader says , “The process of exodus has already started and will only excelerate as they way we work continues to change”

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file photo by Boyd Loving

Maybe YOU continued to walk into that ballot box and voted the party line because quite frankly like all good liberal dolts you simply can’t think on your own. And yes, your thinking along that line just put one of Hudson Counties finest criminals back in office. And yes the rest of the country looks at us and laughs…why not? Stupid is what stupid does. And taxing pension checks is NOT going to solve the problem of union malfeasance and corrupt government officials. The process of exodus has already started and will only excelerate as they way we work continues to change. Remember, nobody wants to work in NYC either so that only compounds the exit process. I’ll be gone come Feburary. We’ll leave here and let the people who started and supported this mess wallow in its remains. Good luck with that.

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New Jersey Now Collects More Revenue Per Capita from Drivers than Any Other State

the staff of the Ridgewood bog

Trenton NJ, according to Steven Malanga is the senior editor of City Journal, Federal Highway Administration data on revenues that the states have available for spending on roads, bridges, and mass transit New  Jersey collected the seventh-highest transportation revenues of any state, even before it raised its gas tax and every state that spent more was considerably larger.

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The Real Maguire – Who Actually Invented Labor Day?

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

While most sources, even the Department of Labor, credit Peter McGuire with the origination of Labor Day, recent evidence suggests that the true father of Labor Day may in fact be another famous union leader of the 19th Century, Matthew Maguire.

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Labor Day stems from deadly labor strike, but few Americans know the history

President Grover Cleveland

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

A labor movement in Chicago in 1894 left 30 Pullman workers dead, and later spurred Congress and President Grover Cleveland to pass a bill creating Labor Day. But the history of this holiday is rarely taught in schools, and there are few full-time labor journalists to write about working class communities.

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