We Must Learn to Engage!
New Jersey is becoming more unlivable every day as a result of insane laws being passed in Trenton. The vast majority of these laws do nothing to cut/reduce property taxes, create jobs, enable business growth, or reduce the size of our bloated government. In fact, most do the opposite!
For the most part, we have no one to blame but ourselves. Our elected representatives spend millions of dollars campaigning to tell us how they will work to do the things mentioned above, to tell us they understand our frustrations. Then they are sworn in, and produce legislation like the New Jersey Foreclosure Restoration Act. Assembly Bill A2168.
To quickly summarize, this insidious legislation adds insult to injury for their own constituents, and they don’t care. If your home is foreclosed upon, this bill will allow your own tax dollars to be used to subsidize the next owner of your home - as low income subsidized housing. This will effectively destroy every neighborhood in New Jersey. A good summary can be found here.
As bad as this bill is, and it is bad - what occurred in committee room 15 at the Statehouse Annex yesterday afternoon was a disgrace for all conservatives. These committees are not used to hearing any opposition to the liberal wealth redistribution schemes that are so common in New Jersey. They didn’t expect anything different yesterday.
As I sat in the hearing room waiting for the hearing to start, the conversations I overheard got my blood boiling and my stomach turning. Some of what I heard:
“This bill will really let people move on up”
“It will be wonderful to see people get the home they always dreamed of”
“The number of homeless people that will be helped is immeasurable”
That is just a smattering of the goofiness going on. As I sat there, it quickly became apparent that I was the only person there to speak to oppose this nuttiness.
Therein lies the problem. Our problem.
Conservative Republican legislators have discussed and complained for years that no one ever shows up to oppose these crazy liberal bills that get proposed during each legislative session.
On the other side, there were 20 some people/groups/organizations that were all giddy over this new found way to redistribute wealth in New Jersey.
Some, like the New Jersey Builders Association, New Jersey Realtors, Association, New Jersey Mortgage Brokers Association, all have a vested interest. The builders - for the remodeling work and in the instances where the new, subsidized, owners would knock your foreclosed home down and build a new one. The Realtors and Mortgage brokers - because they would generate full commissions (subsidized by your tax dollars) on each and every low income subsidized transaction that would occur. It’s nice to know that your friendly, neighborhood realtor is ready to capitalize on your misfortune, and even advocating for the opportunity to do so.
More disturbing were the “low income housing” and homeless advocates who were there to support the bill. One group incredulously appeared to argue that the $200+ million dollars to be set aside for this boondoggle may not be enough. Others went on to discuss how it will help homeless people attain home ownership. I was waiting for the interior decorator association to ask if any of your tax money would be available to subsidize the redecoration of these foreclosed homes. I’m not sure what planet some of these people reside on.
The bottom line, unfortunately, is that I was outnumbered by more than 20 to 1.
That is what our problem is.
We consistently fail to engage or confront liberals on a consistent basis when they are hellbent on ensuring a socialist like existence for us. I recognize it isn’t always easy to make your way to Trenton and express your views on legislation, but we must start to prioritize doing just that.
We will never win this war if we do not engage in the battle!
It is not enough to pray at a vigil. That does not influence a legislator.
This legislative session is doing nothing to reduce our property taxes or the bloated size of our government. Instead, their priorities are to re-define marriage (their single most important agenda item) and to figure out a way to further humiliate those who have had their home foreclosed while using your tax dollars to do it.
It is interesting, there are at least three, perhaps four candidates to replace Senator Bob Menendez this year in the United States Senate. State Senator Kyrillos, as a member of the legislature, is doing his job well and fighting against this liberal social re-engineering or tax confiscating legislation. He should be commended for that.
Bader Qarmout has written on this web site that he is a conservative and doesn’t support various legislation. He even claimed to be at a prayer vigil during one voting session when legislation was being voted on. Fantastic, he hasn’t testified at a single committee hearing, held any press conferences, or otherwise worked to oppose any of this liberal legislation. He tries to talk the talk, but fails to walk the walk, or even take any steps on the march.
Joe Rullo, says he is running and news reports continue to perpetuate that, yet he too has been noticeably absent from committee hearings or any discussion on conservative issues in New Jersey.
Anna Little, is still considering a run for U.S Senate. For someone “considering” a run, she too has been noticeably absent from any and all discussions of these issues. As I wrote last week, I think she is better off with another run at Pallone.
When we don’t show up and testify, legislators like Assemblyman Robert Clifton (R-12) have no trouble doing what he did yesterday and voting for this insidious bill.
All of them, and each of you, has another opportunity to be heard on this issue. This Thursday, the New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on their companion bill, S1566. The hearing will be in committee room 4 on the 1st floor of the Statehouse Annex at 1:00pm. The address is 125 West State Street, Trenton. The hearing is open to the public and you can sign up to testify when you arrive.
Below is a copy of my testimony, as delivered, yesterday afternoon to the Assembly committee:
Testimony of Rob Eichmann
New Jersey Republican State Committee
NJ Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee
February 5, 2012
Thank you Mr. Chairman, Assemblywomen, and Assemblymen. My name is Rob Eichmann, and I’m from Gloucester County. I’m here today on behalf of myself and the NJ Conservative Republican Leadership Committee to speak in opposition to A2168, the Residential Foreclosure Transformation Act.
This bill is nothing more than a wealth redistribution scheme which will destroy families and neighborhoods throughout New Jersey.
This legislature has moved woefully too slow in addressing the needs of the electorate that sent each of you here. Our property taxes are the highest in the nation, and continue to rise. Our tax burden is among the highest in the nation, with no relief on the horizon. Our unemployment and underemployment remain the highest in the region.
Rather than addressing these problems, which, to my knowledge, each of you and your colleagues campaigned on this past year, you are taking up this bill which adds insult to injury for each of your taxpaying constituents.
Families are losing their homes as a result of the economic mess we find ourselves in, coupled with the previously mentioned highest property taxes in the nation. Instead of focusing on what government can do to reduce a family’s property tax burden – or how New Jersey can be more business friendly resulting in job growth; the bill we are discussing today further punishes and humiliates your constituents who have had the misfortune of their home being foreclosed upon.
This bill unconscionably takes taxes that these families have paid and subsidizes the next homeowner, while turning every neighborhood into magnets for low income subsidized housing. This will help to depress the value of adjacent homes in every neighborhood in New Jersey.
While no one relishes the idea of foreclosed properties sitting empty in their neighborhoods, your focus should be on making the difficult decisions that need to be made regarding cutting spending, regulations, and creating jobs. Afterall, lower property taxes, and permanent jobs is the only prevention to the astronomical high foreclosure rate we are seeing.
I can’t think of anything more stressful for a family that has lost their income, and as a result their home. The further humiliation this bill imparts on a taxpaying family by subsidizing what was their home, for the next family, is as mentioned earlier, unconscionable.
Your elected duty is to help these families hold on to their homes through policies that will bring tax relief and job growth. This bill does neither. This bill brings further humiliation to an already stressful situation.
Rather than spend so much time on a bill that further grows our already bloated government, doesn’t it make more sense for you to work quickly to reduce, that’s right reduce not just slow the growth of, our property taxes? Doesn’t it make more sense for you to eliminate regulations that are preventing job creation and job growth in New Jersey? You have the opportunity to help all of your constituents by focusing on helping families stay in their homes.
The path you are choosing with this insidious legislation is to further humiliate your constituents. Do any of you think that will play well during your next election campaign?