Five lies the Tea Party should refrain from
It's the Tea Party, so you can be sure there will be histrionics aplenty at their rally on Saturday. Former Freeholder and town council candidate Harvey Roseff, late of the NJTA, will be on hand in his usual role as Carnac the all-knowing. So the slogans, born from lack of study, will be flying as well.
Nevertheless, the Skylands Tea Party and Roseff with his NJTA should try to avoid re-telling a few of the bigger lies they've been pedaling.
First. The Skylands Tea Party is not the same as "We the People of the Garden State." You are a very small handful of the 9 million people who live in New Jersey. You have every right to speak for yourselves, but nobody elected you to speak for "the people of New Jersey" -- and you are generally very disrespectful towards those who have actually gone before the people and who were elected. This is probably because you see them as occupying your rightful place but... this is America, and in America we vote for our leaders. Nobody voted for you.
Second. Please do not refer to members of construction unions as "thugs." The only thuggish behavior exhibited has been by members and associates of the Tea Party on social media with their pornographic insults and threats of violence. Many thousands of building trades workers reside in Sussex County with their families. They vote, pay taxes, read newspapers, and patronize businesses. And while we are on this subject, if Tea Party candidate Mark Quick attends, Skylands (or Roseff) should remember that at a similar protest in July he was ordered out of the Lafayette House because of his loud and violent behavior. He needs a minder.
Third. "This tax increase never even got a public hearing." Harvey Roseff and the NJTA have been pushing this lie for weeks. And again yesterday, Roseff posted this lie on the Sussex Watchdog website. The facts are that there were extensive public hearings on this legislation by both the Senate and Assembly. The Reason Foundation actually gave extensive testimony at one hearing. On top of this, Senator Oroho has publically spoken before a number of groups in Sussex County on this topic. Just because Roseff couldn't find the time to attend, doesn't mean it never happened.
Fourth. Carnac the all-knowing (AKA Harvey Roseff) has been shopping around the lie that he can fund the TTF through savings. He told the NJ Herald: "The audit and the repeal go together. You do the audit to find out how the money is being spent and to find savings. With the savings there is no reason for the gas tax."
Two questions come to mind: (1) How does Roseff know what savings he will find if the audit hasn't been conducted yet? And how can he speak so assuredly that those savings will be sufficient if he has no clue as to their amount?
(2) The fact is that not since 1990 has the state's user tax on gasoline and diesel produced enough revenue to cover the cost to maintain the state's transportation system. Today the debt service alone exceeds $1.1 billion. In contrast, the gas tax collected just a bit more than $750 in 2015. That means if Harvey found 100% savings -- if he found a way to build the roads for free -- he would still need to increase the gas tax just to pay for the yearly debt payment the TTF has accrued over the last decades.
As you can plainly see, Harvey Roseff is full of bullshit.
Five. The gas tax applies to "all petroleum products." This lie was put out there by the Skylands Tea Party in an email blast dated October 18th that invited people to the rally. This is part of a nasty whisper campaign to frighten people into believing that the tax applies to home heating oil. In response, the Office of Legislative Services released this definitive statement:
"Assembly Bill No. 12 (2R) of 2016, recently enacted as P.L.2016, c.57. Home heating oil, which includes number 2 heating oil, number 4 heating oil, and number 6 heating oil, used for residential heating is exempt from the Petroleum Products Gross Receipts Tax. The exemption is included as part of the definition of 'petroleum products' under the 'Petroleum Products Gross Receipts Tax Act,' 54:15B-1 et seq. The definition of petroleum products was not amended as part of Assembly Bill No. 12 (2R), and therefore the exemption still applies."
Memo to the Skylands Tea Party and Harvey "Carnac" Roseff: Stop telling lies. Deal in the real world.