Blue Jersey highlights the Fairleigh Dickenson U. poll in a recent post showing that Governor Corzine is polling about even with his main challenger, the former U.S. attorney Chris Christie.
I don’t want to say that I knew this would happen, and that October is a long month in a political campaign. I did, however, have the sense that Corzine could close the gap. In my earlier blog post, I explained that Republicans in New Jersey have traditionally run a campaign of nothing.
That’s not unusual for politicians, but New Jersey Republicans tend to make a habit of it.
For non-New Jerseyans, here is the case in a nutshell: New Jersey has a screwed up way of taxing for public services. Additionally, you see on a map a tiny state next to the larger Pennsylvania and New York. But in reality, the state itself is divided up into 566 smaller local governments, where each has been granted significant power. On top of that, these 566 are collected into 21 ‘counties”, and the counties have their own additional government. A lot of government.
It’s kind of like Japan’s many rural villages that wanted to remain their own distinct entities (separate mayor, separate this and that). Even when the people in the community numbered just a small number.
The major sore spot in this government-and-tax system is the property tax. New Jersey’s is highest in the nation, which is always said. Some words more toward hard-hitting reality is that it’s not uncommon for the average Joes to be paying $7,000 or $8,000 a year in taxes just to live in their homes. Not as rent—it’s their home, they own it (or they and the bank do).
It’s like a $600 or $700 a month asset tax.
So what happens is you have a lot of layers of government, and they cause a real pressure on taxes. A good deal of the government is necessary and some main parts of it are very popular. But the overall set-up was never planned out. It just happened historically over 100 or 200 years, even, and the politicians within it have to work with the system as it is.
Although New Jersey government has a colorful history of corruption (maybe not quite Illinois, and definitely not the South), there is also a strong good government constituency within the state, which has helped to make it one of the most modern and progressive jurisdictions in the world.
So to this election:
Chris Christie is backed by the same people who sponsored former Governor Christie Whitman. Whitman made a lot of promises in 1993 that turned out to be false. Her campaign manager, Dale Florio, from my home county, made a big career out of access to “Drumthwacket” (the governor’s mansion in Princeton). In the late 1990’s, it got to where the state was being run more for the benefit of Dale Florio’s lobbyist client list than for the people of New Jersey. And that’s no exaggeration.
Chris Christie is cut of the same cloth as Christie Whitman, even if he does need quite a bit more since he looks to be 300 pounds (136 kg).
Christie Facts website has more of the low down.
Here is the simple fact: solving New Jersey’s tax promises will not be easy. It’s going to take a governor that does not have the easy answer. Yet the challengers to Jon Corzine, which are Chris Christie and the other guy by the last name of Daggett, want the voters to believe that they have these easy answers. And that Jon Corzine has spent the last four years sitting there with his thumb you-know-where (up his #*#).
But the reality is Jon Corzine has been working very hard. He’s a smart man and he knew what he was getting into. A bad recession is fouling things up in small places all over the world. That’s not Jon Corzine’s fault.
So it would be so ridiculous for the voters of New Jersey to turn out the guy who’s really taken it seriously and fought against the system to make reforms–like when he shut down the state in 2006 to get a fiscally-responsible budget. And instead, give it to guy that at least from print media and YouTube is like the pudgy frat boy in any number of college-kid movies.
Not that a typical pudgy frat boy couldn’t make good. It’s just that our luck as a country with that kind of “aw shucks” lack of, well, substance, really ran out with Bush. Didn’t it?
I would hate to think that New Jersey voters would want to take another spin on “aw shucks”. I would rather see the experienced person who has been working the plan through good and bad to stay there and help fix things.
Just a note, I don’t get a vote back home. I am a New Jersey domicile, but not a resident. I don’t have a specific home to call home there. So I just get the federal ballot for New Jersey’s 7th District.
My support goes to the fact that I lived there the better part of 40 years (born and bred, so to speak). My family, maybe 120 years.
So I know about New Jersey.