New Jersey’s economic disaster as a bad example

Via Instapundit,
New Jersey Is the Perfect Bad Example
Obama should look here to see what high taxes do.

It seems not to have dented the consciousness of our political class that New Jersey’s dismal economic performance might be linked to the state’s tax policy. According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, New Jersey is home to the most hostile tax environment for business in the nation. We also bear the nation’s highest burden of state and local taxes. And on the list of the 10 counties with the highest median property tax, we claim seven of them.

During the last recession, we began to feel the full weight of these burdens. Other states responded by cutting back on spending and getting their houses in order. Not New Jersey. Then-Gov. Jim McGreevey added to the burden by borrowing and spending and raising the corporate tax — including the imposition of an alternative minimum tax on business. And we’ve been paying for these bad choices ever since.

Mr. Obama might pay special attention to what these measures have meant for jobs, especially given his expressed concern for the struggling middle class. Though the state did ultimately emerge from recession in 2003, private-sector job creation since then has been a pale shadow of what we enjoyed after the recessions of the 1980s and 1990s.

And just when you thought things were bad, they got worse,

Of course, there was one area where jobs did grow. From 2000 to 2007, says the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, the government added 54,800 jobs. To put that in proper perspective, that works out to 93% of all jobs created in New Jersey over those seven years.

The state of NJ is now the largest employer in the state.

My friend and neighbor TigerHawk looks at the local level:

Sadly, it is not only Trenton that is incompetent. Local governments in New Jersey spend money as if it were without limit, and, in many towns, there really is no limit. Most Princetonians now pay about 3% of the value of their home and property in annual property taxes. For this we get excellent public schools, but virtually nothing else. The fire and the EMS are volunteer, and trash collection is privatized so homeowners pay separately for that. Many of the roads in town are so potholed that they damage cars, and whenever the township does get around to repaving a street it takes forever and, no doubt, costs a fortune because somebody decided we needed Belgian block curbs all over town. Oh, and the sidewalks are now made of special and expensive “permeable” asphalt, because somebody read somewhere that impermeable cover was suddenly a big problem. (Our property, which is about two acres, is as permeable as it gets with about 1.5 acres of wetland and “flood fringe,” and the Township engineer still forced us to buy the special permeable asphalt to rebuilt the sidewalk damaged by the construction of the house.) If it snows, all the begging in the world will not bring a snow plow past your home in time to make a difference. If you want to build something, you can delight in the deliberate speed of the building inspectors, notwithstanding their vested interest in your higher property taxes.

Both TigerHawk and I have been through the paces when it comes to the building process. But that’s not all, and TigerHawk’s commenter reminds us, all those folks are retiring with huge pensions,

While Princeton [Township] doesn’t let public employees retire at 90% of peak salary, it does allow for 80%. I believe the borough also grants lifetime medical care coverage, as perhaps the township also might do. No business in America pays these sorts of benefits, and no municipality in the country can possibly afford them.

The local electorate will not, I am absolutely convinced, will NOT vote them out because as long as they are Democrats, they will keep them in office. I’ve volunteered at the polls, I’ve worked on petitions, I’ve had the local candidates in my podcast, name it, by now I am convinced that’s that.

Local taxes are going up in 2009, and on top of that there’s going to be a real estate reappraisal in the Township so real estate taxes will be even more astronomical. How does $20,000 in annual real estate taxes look to you? How about $40,000? And they don’t even pick up your garbage.

The day nears when The Husband and I leave the area for more fiscally-sane parts. This is a lovely town, and I’ve lived here for nearly twenty years. But, like the net 75,000 taxpayers that NJ lost in the past 6 years, there are equally lovely places where to live where our hard-earned money (or what’s left of it after NJ’s done) won’t be squandered in Belgian block curbs and permeable sidewalks.

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6 Responses to “New Jersey’s economic disaster as a bad example”

  1. Michael Says:

    Fausta, are you sure you weren’t speaking of my town, er, I mean, village of Ridgewood? An $80 million school budget and the new superintendent discovers a $1.9 million shortfall? As you and The Husband, my wife and I may oneday say “NJ and us, perfect apart.”

  2. foutsc Says:

    You are so right on the money. Look at the failed states of Michigan and California: so rich in resources and so destroyed by liberalism…

    When will voters wake up and see the facts in front of them? The states are great examples of what works and what doesn’t.

    With all apologies to Bob Dylan (sing to the tune of Blowin’ in the Wind)

    How many states must the liberals destroy
    before we stop voting for them?
    The answer my friend is blowing in the wind
    The answer is blowing in the wind

  3. Real Estate Newbie Info » Blog Archive » Fausta’s Blog » Blog Archive » New Jersey’s economic disaster as a … Says:

    […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onFaustaâ??s Blog » Blog Archive » New Jerseyâ??s economic disaster as a …Here’s a quick excerptLocal taxes are going up in 2009, and on top of that there’s going to be a real estate reappraisal in the Township so real estate taxes will be even more astronomical. How does $20000 in annual real estate taxes look to you? … […]

  4. Pat Patterson Says:

    Writing from the other side of the country I would have to ask if Gov. Corzine has a doppelganger appearsn on financial news programs who is smart, well-prepared and an unabashed free marketer. But then as a politico falls back on some of the worst economic whimsy that doesn’t even qualify as populist.

    I can offer some insight into why California is rapidly acheving 3rd world status. One issue that will come up, aside from unemployment and an actual decline in population, is the public employees, STRS and CalPers, pensions. These pensions, while suffering some losses though no where as bad as the overall market, are still projected to run at a deficit sometime next spring. By law the boards controlling the investments are not allowed to touch the principal but pay retirement and 1/2 of the health care insurance from gains. But the state agreed to step in years ago and make up the difference between what could be paid and what has been paid.

    The result of this is that my mom’s pension is guaranteed plus the yearly COLA without fear of any cut or non-payment because the legislature, Democratic for two decades, signed these contracts in return for the campaign booty. The two largest campaign contributors in California are currently the Indian casino tribes and the public employee unions. At least the Indians contribute to be left alone but the unions contribute for the simple reason of getting, as Oliver Twist implored, MORE.

  5. Resident Says:

    It’s unbelievable. The greatest population density in the US (greater even than Japan), 3 toll roadways, State lotteries, legalized gambling in Atlantic city, the highest property taxes per capita in the nation, a state sales tax, local sales taxes, income taxes up to over 9%, business taxes up the wazoo, utility fees that were once covered by property taxes, absurd auto registration fees coupled with traffic ticket multipliers that result from zero justification. Did I miss anything? — I’m sure I did.

    And it’s not enough. It’s never enough. Add to that a ridiculous number of school districts in such a small state requiring untold administration costs and you’ve got a financial black hole. But the real disaster in all this is that these same political thieves keep getting re-elected.

  6. Fausta’s Blog » Blog Archive » Bailout galore: And now for the states Says:

    […] expected New Jersey is one of the […]