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Activist from Both Left and Right Rally to Oppose NJ Democrat Gerrymandering Plan


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Activists Gather Outside Legislative Caucus Meetings to Urge Legislators to Oppose Redistricting Proposals

East Brunswick-Activists from grassroots, good-government, and progressive groups gathered today at the East Brunswick Hilton to silently protest legislative efforts to move a ballot question aimed at changing the state constitution to grant legislators increased power in the redistricting process and enact changes experts have decried as exacerbating gerrymandering.

Members of New Jersey Working Families Alliance, League of Women Voters of New Jersey, NJ11th for Change, NJ7 Forward, New Jersey Citizen Action, Our Revolution New Jersey, and UU FaithAction NJ, all convened in their expressed opposition to the amendment as proposed.

“Since 2015, NJ Working Families has stood firm in its opposition to a process that places elected officials at the helm of a process to create their own districts. We stand in solidarity with those who also express concerns for varying reasons and urge legislators to pause in order to make the entire process more transparent, fair, and garner broader support.” said Analilia Mejia, Executive Director of New Jersey Working Families Alliance, which withdrew support for a similar proposal in 2015 in part because of its failure to ban legislators from serving on the commission.

Leaders of organizations who played an integral part in the 2018 midterm victories across the state joined the action to demand legislators pull support from the resolutions.

Saily Avelenda, Executive Director of NJ11th for Change said, “It should not shock our legislators that organizers from around the state are united in opposition to these proposals. We stand for good government and transparency– not for granting a select few legislators broader powers that they have already claimed for themselves. We showed up today to remind our legislators that there will be a political price to pay if they vote in favor for these terrible amendments. Voters are paying attention and so are we.”

“We are here to put our representatives on notice, said Margaret Illis, co-founder of NJ7Forward. This isn’t an electorate of years past. We have become an engaged and activated electorate and demand better from our representatives. This isn’t about partisanship or parties, this is about our voice and vote.”

“When a legislator is on the redistricting commission, their sole mission is to create a safe district for themselves. No one is going to say “Give me a less safe district to ensure a fairer map for everyone,” said Barry Brendel, Chair of Our Revolution New Jersey, the Sanders-inspired grassroots organization.

Activists from faith organizations also joined the call to oppose the redistricting proposal. “Good governance, in congregations as well as in the statehouse, depends on an open and fair process that doesn’t impact the bedrock principle of ‘One person, one vote,’ said Rev. Rob Gregson, Executive Director of the Public Policy and Social Justice Office of the 21 Unitarian Universalist congregations in NJ. “Unitarian Universalists and many of our faith partners unequivocally oppose carving up the state in ways that give an unfair advantage to either party, Democrats or Republicans. It’s bad for religious institutions and it’s bad for democracy in New Jersey.”

Actions against the redistricting proposal by grassroots organizations will continue in Trenton today as public hearings on SCR 43/ACR60 are scheduled.

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Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips , “When you pass a budget where we had 18 new tax increases built into that budget, you scare the daylights out of people,”

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Wyckoff NJ, Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips joined Jill Horner on Comcast’s Newsmakers last week to discuss capping state spending each year at the same 2 percent placed on local government tax levies. Municipalities have a two percent cap, which is credited with helping to slow the rapid growth of New Jersey’s notoriously high property taxes; but the state is not subject to that cap.
“The towns have been largely living within the two percent cap without a problem,” DePhillips (R-Bergen) explained to Horner. “I think it would be hypocritical for us not to do this when we are imposing the same requirement on towns.”

Continue reading Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips , “When you pass a budget where we had 18 new tax increases built into that budget, you scare the daylights out of people,”

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file photo by Boyd Loving

November 6,2017
by Kevin Ryan

It’s a simple concept that has eluded many politicians and ideologues, especially on the left. When you raise taxes, people and businesses will leave, bringing with them those taxable incomes your government depends on. One look at the migration patterns within the United States verifies just that.
A book on the subject, How Money Walks, uses official statistics from the Census and the IRS to explore the subject. It found that, between 1995 and 2010:
• The nine states with no personal income taxes gained $146.2 billion in working wealth
• The nine states with the highest personal income tax rates lost $107.4 billion
• The 10 states with the lowest per capita state-local tax burdens gained $69.9 billion
• The 10 states with the highest per capita state-local tax burdens lost $139 billion
According to the authors, “The states that gained working wealth are growing and thriving. The states that lost working wealth lost their most precious cargo—their tax base—and the consequences are dire: stagnation, deterioration, an economic death spiral as they continue to raise taxes and lose people, businesses, and working wealth. The numbers don’t lie.”

Its website includes a fascinating interactive map that shows where people and their money moved to, on a state and even county basis, here:
(Note: the interactive map doesn’t work on the Safari browser, so iOS users should view it on the Puffin app instead).
Another website by the authors includes a calculator that will tell you the tax implications of moving from your current state to a different one, here:

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More expected to flee New Jersey as baby boomers age


More expected to flee New Jersey as baby boomers age

For Raymond Francisco, landing a job at the General Motors auto plant in Linden at 25 years old was like winning the lottery.

The New Brunswick native was a welder by trade, and enjoyed working hard for the good money he made at the plant. But when GM announced in 2002 it would close the factory — about six years after he started — Francisco decided he had to go where the jobs were.

That meant packing up his wife, two small children and moving to Lordstown, Ohio, where GM offered him another job at an assembly plant.

People are leaving New Jersey at a higher rate than 47 other states, just behind New York, which is No. 1, and Illinois, according to James Hughes, a demographer and dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. (Kachmar/Asbury Park Press)