STATE—Chris Daggett, the independent candidate for Governor, has proposed a luxury tax to discourage a deep-pocketed candidate like incumbent Jon Corzine from using their own money to buy elections, as part of his agenda to stop corruption.
He also accused both his opponents of buying jobs with personal wealth gained on Wall Street and “by raising a lot of money for George W. Bush’s presidential campaign.”
“We need to punish the corrupt, make public officials live like the rest of us, limit the pernicious influence of money over policy, and begin to restore democracy to our political system,” said Daggett.
Daggett detailed a comprehensive plan to tighten ethics rules and to reform government, including eliminating pension and health care benefits for part-time elected officials and expanding pay-to-play rules for all levels of government, including school boards.
Besides eliminating perks for part-time officials, Daggett’s platform for overhauling ethics, government and campaign laws, saying his plan would aim to fix varieties of corruption that are legal under current law.
“The U.S. Supreme Court ruled candidates can spend as much as they want in Buckley v. Valeo, but like the New York Yankees, they should pay a luxury tax if they exceed the public financing limit by two-fold. Why should our elections be more one-sided than the American League pennant race?” Daggett said.
The reform platform aims to restore public confidence in government and elected officials by dealing with the abuses voters have witnessed the past several years in both Republican and Democratic administrations. The public’s trust in government also has been virtually crushed by the recent wave of corruption arrests, Daggett said.
“Fixing New Jerseys corrupt system isn’t just a matter of cracking down on illegal conduct, but also the corruption that takes place under the cover of law,” he said. “Dual office-holding, double-dipping on pension benefits, and awarding no-bid contracts to political friends all contribute to rising government spending. It has to stop.”
In addition to ending pension and health care benefits for part-time elected officials and other part-time political appointees, Daggett also wants pensions for public employees to be calculated based on a 10 year-average salary, rather than the highest three years. He also would reduce salaries of lawmakers who earn money from other taxpayer-funded jobs by the amount of days spent in Trenton.
A critical component of the reform package is to limit the pernicious influence of money in politics and government. Daggett would move to limit legislative leadership political action committees by restricting legal contributions to match those of individual candidates to reduce the sway of special interests in setting the agenda in the Statehouse.
Daggett also plans to push to expand pay-to-play rules to all levels of government, including school boards and said the state should standardize those rules.
In an effort to increase the transparency of campaign contributions, Daggett said he would require all contributions in the election process to candidates, party organizations and political action committees to be posted online within 24 hours on a site to be set up by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
Daggett said he also would push for passage of a law imposing a one-year mandatory minimum prison term for those convicted of corruption—both public officials and those who attempt to bribe them.
He also plans to push for a law that would strip officials convicted of corruption of their public sector pensions and allowing judges to impose restitution.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!