Reformers Aim At Unfair High Taxes & Corruption

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ELIZABETH — Three city council candidates say residents suffer because New Jersey’s tax structure is unfair and voters have failed to remove corruption from government.

“Last year, more than 500,000 senior homeowners received average checks of $1,300 while more than 100,000 senior tenants were eligible for maximum rebates of $800,” said Lester Dominguez. “This year, those same homeowners and tenants will receive nothing because the Homestead Rebate property tax relief program has been eliminated.”

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“New Jersey relies too heavily on local property taxes, takes too much from working families and is failing to generate enough income to provide essential services and invest in our future,” said Marlene Abitanto. “Worst of all, politicians allow our tax dollars to be stolen.”

“Elizabeth homeowners who lost vital property tax relief also put $3 million in the pocket of corrupt contractor Ray Vella, who is in federal prison for paying bribes to a government official,” said Armando DaSilva.

“Vella still owns four Elizabeth homes financed by taxpayers because Councilman Bill Gallman, Frank Mazza and Manny Grova voted to grant the contractor ‘forgivable mortgages’ on the properties,” said the Democratic challenger.

Marlene Abitano says voters must elect leaders willing to enact reforms instead of dealing with crooked political bosses. “New Jersey has the third highest percentage of millionaires of all fifty states. We’re second in median household income,” said Abitanto.

“While local property taxes are untenably high as a result of cost-shifting to local governments, New Jersey ranks 36th in state government tax revenue as percentage of income,” said Abitanto. “We can make better choices that protect and strengthen New Jersey.”

“Those earning $100,000 or less comprise 70 percent of all households, while 36 percent of the 1.5 million seniors living in New Jersey have incomes under $25,000,” said DaSilva. “Taxing seniors with higher fees is not shared sacrifice,” said DaSilva. “Giving a billion dollar tax break to the 16,000 richest people in New Jersey is not shared sacrifice.”

If giving millions to a contributor who pays bribes raises questions, Gallman and Councilmen Joseph Keenan and Nelson Gonzalez still refuse to answer.


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1 comment for “Reformers Aim At Unfair High Taxes & Corruption

  1. ElizabethResident
    May 27, 2010 at 10:11 am

    I agree with the corruption points. The councilmen and the mayor should be pressured into answering questions about their involvement with Ray Vella.

    As for the tax points, “candidates whine, but offer no solutions,” would be a more appropriate title.

    ‘“New Jersey relies too heavily on local property taxes, takes too much from working families and is failing to generate enough income to provide essential services and invest in our future,” said Marlene Abitanto.’

    Firstly, I’m a bit confused by “New Jersey relies too heavily on local property taxes.” Does she mean property taxes are too high? In that case, I certainly agree! It’s safe to say the majority of Jerseyans also agree, given the fact that 59% of school budgets were rejected (first time over 50% of budgets were rejected since the 1970s). So I fully expect she supports the cuts proposed by city council.

    Secondly, No, Miss Abitanto, NJ does not have a revenue problem. NJ has a spending problem! After many years of over spending, the state is now broke. I, for one, am very happy to finally have a Governor who is willing to (i) stand up to the unions, (ii) cut spending, (iii) shrink the size of government, and (iv) lower taxes.

    Speaking of Gov. Christie, all of the complaints seem to be directed at his cost cutting measures. I wonder why they don’t mention his name. Perhaps the fact that the Elizabeth BOE was a huge supporter of Gov. Christie during his campaign has something to do with that. You are the ones that rallied for the guy, not the city council. The Gov. is doing exactly what he promised during his campaign. Don’t complain now.

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