Entries in TTF (31)


Phil Garber and the NJ Democrats' Fake News machine

Phil Garber is a small-time editor of a weekly newspaper operating out of Mount Olive, in Morris County.  Garber has never heard of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the oldest association of writers and editors in the United States, and if he had heard of them, his actions over the years confirm that he's never read the Code of Ethics of the SPJ. 

In a recent headline, Garber reported that Mount Olive is getting $292,500 from the state for a repaving project.  Garber noted that the funds were possible because of the recent gas tax increase that has more than doubled the amount of funds for local road and bridge safety improvement projects.

Of course, Garber had pissed all over the Republican who led the fight to prevent the bankruptcy of the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), from which those funds were drawn.  That was in 2016.  The Tax Restructuring Package that cut five taxes and re-funded the TTF through a 23-cents a gallon increase on gasoline was passed in 2016 and signed into law by Republican Governor Chris Christie on October 14, 2016.

But that did not stop Editor Garber from making this the first sentence of his story:  "The first fruits of the new administration of Gov. Phil Murphy have been harvested in terms of a grant of $292,500 for the first phase of repaving International Drive North."

No shit.  Phil "the swallower" Garber wants us to swallow this.  The "first fruits" of an administration that didn't take office until January 16, 2018.  How did that work?

Garber works for a newspaper that is owned by the wife of Mark Magyar, one of Senate President Steve Sweeney's top aides.  In December of 2014, Magyar was hired as the Democrat's new Director of Policy and Communications.  Magyar had been a statehouse reporter for the Asbury Park Press and the Bergen Record, as well as the editor of the New Jersey Spotlight.

The corporate and political empire of Democrat Party boss George Norcross -- the political machine of which the Senate President is a part -- has a history of co-opting or attempting to co-opt local and regional newspapers in that part of New Jersey where his authoritarian rule is almost uncontested.  The machine is in the process of solidifying its rule in its southern New Jersey base, while expanding its power across the state -- and beyond.  The machine is allied with powerful lawyer-lobbyists like former Governor Jim Florio and Camden County Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli, who are expanding into neighboring states.  And while the machine's first such foray ended in prosecution and tumult, it might well be successful, and could usher in a period of sustained, anti-democratic ruthlessness, unique in the experience of post-Prohibition America.

Mark Magyar is the spouse of Elizabeth K. Parker, Co-publisher and Executive Editor the New Jersey Hills Media Group.  The group is controlled by the Recorder Publishing Company, a privately held entity in Bernardsville, that owns and publishes 17 local newspapers in Republican Morris County, Somerset County, and Hunterdon County -- and in Republican towns in Essex County.  Their readership comes from towns that usually get the short end of the sick from the Democrats in Trenton.

Elizabeth Parker owns Recorder Publishing with her brother, Co-publisher and Business Manager Stephen W. Parker.  He oversees the print and on-line advertising operations.  The company also sells other services, including website development, search engine optimization, "Reputation Management", and "Social Media Management".

Some of the newspapers they control have been around for more than a century -- like the Hunterdon Review, established in 1868; the Bernardsville News, 1897; Madison Eagle, 1880; and The Progress, 1911.  Recorder Publishing was started by the late Cortlandt Parker, who founded the Morris Observer in 1955.  His company expanded to its current size with the acquisition of the Eagle-Courier Group in 1991. 

Cortlandt Parker, who died in 2002, had residences in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and Boston, Massachusetts.  His New York Times obituary describes him as having progressive positions on "social issues" and cites as an example his refusal to accept cigarette advertising in his newspapers "before it was common to do so."

While taking a position against the generally working class pleasure of tobacco, Mr. Parker was an advocate of that upper class pleasure -- wine.  He founded the Greenvale Vineyards in Rhode Island and published several magazines about the wine industry in the Finger Lakes region of New York, New England, Long Island, and Virginia.  The New England Wine Gazette is published by Recorder Publishing, at its Bernardsville operation.

Newspapers were never as pure or disinterested as their cheerleaders would have us believe, but at least -- once upon a time/ just yesterday -- they did constitute a locus of power independent of political machines.  Not necessarily of their corporate advertisers (per Herman and Chomsky), but certainly of base political machines.  Those days are drawing to a close. 

New Jersey is unique in its forms and ways of political corruption -- especially of systemic corruption -- in that it rides the wave just ahead of the rest of America.  Sadly, it appears that what we once called journalism is on a rapid descent into the realms of propaganda and in future will be little more than coarse party broadsheets -- advertisements using histrionics worthy of Pravda or the Völkischer Beobachter.


AC women's event fails to mention Dem accused of stalking

Apparently it is "Democrat comes first" with women like Colleen Mahr, the Democrat Mayor of Fanwood, and Bernadette McPherson, the Democrat LD36 District Chair.  Ms. Mahr comes from Joe Cryan country... ouch!


True to form, while hosting a forum on "the importance of women in politics" at the Irish Pub in Atlantic City, the two never brought up the status of this sitting Assembly Democrat...


Oh, and by coincidence, the alleged stalking happened in Fanwood.


Meanwhile, back in Sussex County, the focus of the Democrats' ire this year -- Assemblyman Parker Space -- is sharing in the enjoyment of a clean sweep by the GOP in that county, after pundits,  prognosticators, and assorted moe-moes had been predicting trouble for Space and the Republicans there.  Last year, Senator Steve Oroho was warned by GOP Senate operatives of his impending demise should he become associated with the tax restructuring deal that refunded the state's Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).  He went ahead and became a central figure in the deal and ended up needing to tear down and rebuild his local party in order to be re-elected.  But he did and was -- easily in both the primary and general elections.  In addition to Space, some county Republicans and a great many out of county "observers" forecast a Democrat pick-up in the county Freeholder contest.  Instead, it was a beat down by the GOP.  Lessons can be learned from these pugnacious mountain men.


In the meantime, it looks like the NJGOP needs a new theme song, so here is our suggestion:


Hamilton needs to choose a side

Democrat Jennifer Hamilton ran a campaign in which she stood side-by-side with her ideological running mates for the photo-ops but then quickly scurried away to assure her GOP "friends" that she was really one of them... except on the issue of abortion.  She is pro-abortion.  

Hamilton campaigned this way and not just where party identification is concerned.  She managed to be on both sides of the tax restructuring package that funded the Transportation Trust Fund, raised the gas tax, and cut or eliminated a host of other taxes (included the Estate Tax).  She claimed to want to fund the TTF, but opposed the means to do so (and offered nothing in place of it).  She claimed to want to cut property taxes, while turning over responsibility for funding local road and bridge maintenance to municipal and county governments -- a move that would raise property taxes an average of $600 a year.  

Hamilton offered very little beyond conflicting sentiments and slogans designed to ingratiate herself with whatever audience was on hand at the moment.  The vacuous habits of her effort put us in mind of this memorable line from the 1997 film, "As Good As It Gets."  Enjoy:


Hamilton's lies. But lawyers are no good at math.

Look, we all get that it is election time and politicians -- even wannabe politicians like Democrat Jennifer Hamilton -- are going to twist the truth in an effort to appear more attractive to voters.  But when smiles and earnest lip pursing doesn't work, it's down to lies.

Hamilton's latest lie is her claim that the average household in Sussex County is paying $500 more for gasoline than it has in the past.  Well, the sale of gasoline is a very regulated industry, and there are agencies that closely monitor these things, and they produced a graph.  Here's what it shows:

Yes, we are paying less today for gasoline at the pump than we did in 2015. 

And because Sussex County has received funding from the Transportation Trust Fund to repair its roads and bridges, property taxes won't have to go up an additional $600 per household to cover those costs.  Hey, it's not all Hamilton's fault.  Instead of taking accounting courses in college she skipped them and learned how to be a social worker instead.  Then she went to law school.  Ouch!  No wonder she can't tell the truth.

Heck, this lady told the newspaper in Morris County (the Chronicle) that she supported raising the gas tax to fund the Transportation Trust Fund, then turned around and told the newspaper in Sussex County (the Herald) that she opposed it.  Good thing she is blessed with a wide smile -- the better to talk out of both sides of her mouth with.

Jennifer Hamilton affects to complain about the imbalance in state funding for education -- but then supports the Abbott decision which is the cause of that imbalance.  Hamilton stands with her party, the Democrats, and her nominee for Governor, Phil Murphy, in their promise to continue that imbalance.  Only a Republican-controlled Legislature will pass Senator Mike Doherty's Fair School Funding Act, which will reduce property taxes by providing every child with a basic level of school funding.

Only a Republican-controlled Legislature will put a Question on the ballot to strip control of school funding away from the unelected State Judiciary and give it back to the elected Legislature.  Of course, Hamilton disagrees with this.  She is, after all, both a creature of her party and of the courts.  While Republicans like Senator Steve Oroho are fighting to get more for Sussex County, Hamilton's party is opposing them.  While Senator Oroho was bringing back resources for Sussex County, lawyer Hamilton was representing criminals.

From all reports, Jennifer Hamilton is a fair-to-middling criminal defense attorney but as a candidate for public office, she is an absolute disaster.  Hey, somebody give the lady a calculator.  At the Ogdensburg debate, Hamilton maintained that she wanted to cut taxes -- and then outlined billions in new government spending she insisted was necessary.  Before it was over, she agreed with her running mates that the following new taxes should be imposed:

- A $5.5 billion tax hike by revoking tax cuts on employers.  This will be great for jobs, won't it?

- A $650 million income tax hike on high earners.

- A $2 billion tax hike by reinstituting the job-killing, small-business killing estate tax.

- And untold millions through a new "special" tax on yet to be determined products that the Democrats consider to be "luxuries."  The last such tax killed the boat-building in New Jersey, so good luck with that.

As a candidate for public office, Democrat Jennifer Hamilton is a mess.  She talks before she thinks, doesn't get her facts right, promises more spending while saying she'll cut taxes, and then agrees with her running mates that raising taxes by an additional $8.5 billion will help jobs and the economy in New Jersey. Maybe that callous disregard gets by in the courtroom, but don't try it with the people of Sussex County.


Trump's infrastructure jobs need state matching funds

You know that it is over for the nattering nabobs of negativism when all they have are lies and disinformation.

Take this post put up over the weekend on a Tea Party website:

FACT #1: We are paying less for gasoline now than what we paid 18 months ago.  Costs have declined dramatically from 2014.  Here is the graph that proves it:

FACT #2: The Tax Reform bill (S-2411/A-12) actually cut taxes by $1.4 billion:

   - A tax cut on retirement income that means most New Jersey retirees will no longer pay state income tax.  This tax cut is worth about $2,000 annually to the average retiree.

- Elimination of the Estate Tax.  This protects family farms and small businesses from being forced to choose between paying taxes or closing and laying-off workers.

- Tax cut for veterans.  Honorably discharged active duty, guard, and reserve veterans now get an additional $3,000 personal income tax deduction.

- Tax credit for low-income workers.  Worth $100 annually to the average worker.

- Sales tax cut.  Worth another $100 annually to the average consumer.

- Property tax relief.  The legislation doubled the amount going to county and municipal governments to repair roads and bridges and so offset property tax increases.

After 28 years of failing to adjust the gas tax for inflation and borrowing to make up the difference the TTF was deeply in debt.  The last time the gas tax produced enough revenue to pay for New Jersey's transportation needs was in 1990.  Because of the debt that was allowed to accumulate, by 2015 the annual cost of that debt to taxpayers was $1.1 billion -- outstripping the $750 million revenue from the gas tax.  That's what happens when you suspend the iron rules of economics and tell people that they can have something for nothing.

The Transportation Trust Fund was broke.  Road and bridge projects funded by the TTF were frozen.  That included all those county and municipal projects dependent on TTF funding.  Work had stopped. Without funding from the TTF, local governments would have had to raise property taxes by an average of more than $500 a household just to make up for the lost aid to keep county and local roads safely maintained.  And if county and local governments failed to repair roads and bridges and allowed people to use them anyway, the eventual cost in litigation to cover the injuries sustained as the result could vastly outstrip the costs to maintain them in the first place.

So yes, under these circumstances, the long over-due adjustment for inflation did result in the tax on gasoline going up by 23-cents a gallon. 

FACT #3:  President Ronald Reagan doubled the federal tax on gasoline because, as a conservative, he understood that a user tax (like the gas tax) is the fairest form of taxation.  Ronald Reagan, the greatest Republican President of the last century, the father of the modern conservative movement.

FACT #4:  President Donald Trump is right.  America's infrastructure is a disgrace and New Jersey's transportation infrastructure is among the worst. 

The American Society of Civil Engineers issued a report in 2016 and we've taken snapshots directly from it:

Now that is what the professionals -- the best in their field -- had to say. 

Today, under the leadership of President Donald Trump, America is on the cusp of a huge boom in federal spending on infrastructure.  Twenty states are in the process of raising their tax on gasoline so that they have the matching funds available to participate in the federal projects coming our way.  New Jersey is, for once, ahead of many of the others. 

President Trump's plan is to spend a trillion dollars creating over a hundred thousand new jobs and billions in related economic activity.

Some, like the fellow who posted the negative comments above, already have nice, comfortable jobs with the state, a nice pension and benefits.  But others are not as fortunate.  President Trump's plan is going to mean the chance at a future for them.