In his State of the State address, Governor Christie presented several long overdue initiatives, while offering other proposals that would just tinker around the edges regarding what ails the economy. The governor’s take on taxes and crime is a good first step, but he needs to embrace a long term strategy based on a firm grasp of the freedom principle.
The governor finally recognized that drug abuse is a ‘disease” and should be treated medically rather than incarcerating nonviolent drug users. This is a humane way of dealing with individuals who have drug abuse issues and would save taxpayers substantial sums of money.
However, when it comes to inner city crime, the governor failed to diagnose the reason for most of the violence in Newark, Camden, Paterson, etc. Drug prohibition causes crime to increase. Alcohol prohibition gave the country Al Capone and other violent characters. Drug prohibition gives us violent inner city gangs who prey on their neighbors. The governor is smart enough to realize this.
Ending the war on drugs in New Jersey would reduce crime, save lives and reduce police costs in our inner cities. Show some leadership Governor Christie on this issue, because it is the right—and common sense–thing to do.
Governor Christie’s call for a 10% income tax cut across the board is a tiny step needed to end the failed income tax experiment. The income tax should be abolished for many reasons: it redistributes income, has not provided property tax relief and is another blow to economic freedom. Abolishing the state personal income tax and corporate income tax would make New Jersey the freest state in the nation and attract billions of dollars in investment from around the country and the world.
Strike a blow for prosperity and liberty governor, the state’s motto.
As far as the state spending that would have to be reduced to balance the budget because of a massive decline in money going to Trenton from these taxes, a restructuring of the state budget would have to be undertaken. In the meantime, however, sales tax revenue would skyrocket as economic activity in the Garden State would boom, so while the income tax would be phased out over three to five years, the state’s economy would get the proverbial shot in the arm as business decision makers would plan to relocate and/or expand their enterprises in New Jersey.
I have written and said for decades, education is too important to be left in the hand of politicians and bureaucrats. We need a massive decentralization of education decision making so students will become educated and learn skills that will make them employable at better paying jobs. Decentralization will also reduce costs. How? By creating so called mini schools of no more than 100-200 students taught by master teachers, older children and volunteers. These schools would be housed in neighborhood churches, vacant office spaces, etc.
Parents would then be able to choose the school that best fits their children’s needs. How will they schools be funded? First, the costs would be a fraction of the current $20K to $30K per student in the inner cities. Tuition, fees, grants, endowments, etc., would fund the mini schools.
The transition from the current expensive, ineffective inner city schools to the decentralized model would take about five years. Before this transition is undertaken, a change in philosophy among the people has to occur. We have to dispel the myth that socialized education is tenable in the inner cities. This is not an easy task. But for the sake of the children (where have we heard that before), decentralizing education is the answer. As the governor pointed out in his address, everyone loses under the current system, children, parents, and taxpayers.
It is time to implement a bold initiative to provide quality education to students who desperately need to learn basic skills so they can become financially independent adults.
Finally, the governor did not deal with Medicaid costs in his address. There is a solution, the nonprofitization of healthcare with such projects as the Zarephath Health Center, the Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative, the Parker Family Health Center and other grassroots efforts around the state. The governor should embrace the nonprofit solution for dealing with Medicaid. New Jersey taxpayers would save billions of dollars with the establishment of scores of nonprofit healthcare centers around the state.
In sum, Governor Christie offered a few baby steps to deal with New Jersey’s tax, education and crime issues. He and his staff need to keep their eye on the ball—the freedom principle—to lift the tax burden on the people of New Jersey and make the state the freest economy in America and in the world.
Murray Sabrin is professor of finance at Ramapo College and blogs at www.MurraySabrin.com.