Misinformation spinning about TTF meeting

The following headline appeared in yesterday's New Jersey Herald:

"Oroho will meet with local officials to explain benefits of gas tax proposal."

 

That headline is a total misrepresentation.  It is untrue.

 

So is the first paragraph:  " With four Sussex County municipalities now on record against raising New Jersey's gasoline tax, Republican state Sen. Steve Oroho is planning to host a July 27 closed-door meeting with local and county officials to discuss why he believes a higher gas tax coupled with tax cuts elsewhere offers the best approach to rescuing the state's transportation trust fund."

 

This is also false.  Another misrepresentation.

 

The invitation to the July 27th meeting is crystal clear about what the meeting is for.  The invitation states that it is to "discuss the spending side of TTF and ways to control costs and become more efficient in the use of taxpayer' money."

 

So why the misinformation?

 

The reporter who wrote this story also wrote a devastating attack in the Herald on Byram councilman David Gray when he was challenging George Graham earlier this year.  Many credit that attack for turning the tide in Freeholder's contest. 

 

The reporter is close to the likes of Tom Walsh and John Jack Burke, who launched their own misleading attack on Senator Steve Oroho, in the form of a resolution and subsequent commentary that slyly inferred that the Senator supported a proposal put forward by Governor Chris Christie and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto.  This inference was, of course, completely false and untrue.

 

Meanwhile their colleague, Andover Township Mayor Dolores Blackburn, used the article to express her support for the "gas tax ONLY" proposal of far-left Senator Ray Lesniak, a Union County Democrat.  That's right, the Andover Township Council supports a 25 cents a gallon increase on the gasoline tax, phased in over three years.

 

Of course, Democrat Senator Lesniak's bill would ONLY raise the gas tax.  Unlike Senator Oroho's compromise legislation, or the Governor's  compromise legislation, the Democrat legislation supported by Andover Township would not eliminate the tax on retirement income, it would not cut the sales tax, it would not end the estate tax, it would not provide for an earned income tax credit, or an income tax deduction for charitable contributions, or an income tax deduction for the gasoline tax, or the elimination of property taxes for disabled veterans.

 

The Andover Township council supports legislation that ONLY raises the gas tax by 25 cents over three years -- WITHOUT any accompanying tax cuts!

 

The article correctly noted that in November 2014, the Sussex County Board of Freeholders unanimously supported a resolution to send a letter of support to an organization advocating for an increase in the gasoline tax as a way to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).  The Sussex County Freeholders even sent a copy of their letter to Senator Steve Oroho to lobby him to support the effort to fund the TTF.  Oddly enough, some of the same people who supported that resolution and asked Senator Oroho to support it too, are now attacking Oroho for essentially doing what they asked him to do. It goes to show that you just can't win in "Sex County" --  they will concoct a reason to screw you no matter what you do.

 

In a strange non sequitur, the article attempts to challenge this resolution by bringing up an unrelated resolution:

 

"Unmentioned in Oroho's statement was a subsequent resolution unanimously approved by the freeholders last year that called for an independent investigation into the money New Jersey spends on transportation projects before any new taxes are approved."

 

Unmentioned by the reporter who wrote this story is the fact that Senator Oroho's legislation includes such a review committee and has a much greater chance of being passed than does any similar investigatory legislation.  By leaving out such important details we can only conclude that the reporter meant to attack Steve Oroho by claiming that he was not doing what he is clearly doing -- and doing better than anyone else.

 

To counter the New Jersey State League of Municipalities support of a user's tax on gasoline to fund road and bridge maintenance and repair, the reporter rolled out the chair of the Sussex County League of Municipalities, Hopatcong councilman Richard Bunce.  This organization had been moribund until George Graham and others resuscitated it a few years ago.

 

Bunce, a long-time Oroho hater who supported Guy Gregg in the 2007 Senate race, was allowed to side-step commenting on the State organization's position so that he could engage in a full-frontal attack on Senator Oroho.  Of course, we know why.  The county affiliate is chartered by the State League of Municipalities and it was this group that was so understanding when the Sussex organization ran into some financial irregularities not long ago.  In any case, Bunce showed a mixture of contempt and ignorance when he smugly dismissed going to the July 27th meeting and then gave, as his reason for not going, the best reason for going:

 

 "I appreciate that Steve is on a big information blitz, and I'm not boycotting it.  But there's no reason for me to go and listen to what I already know and disagree with."

 

"Our senators and Assembly would do well to first cut costs and get spending under control before even a hint of new taxes is spoken of."

 

Didn't you read the invitation, Richard Bunce?  Finding ways to "cut costs and get spending under control" is what the July 27th meeting is all about.  And the reason it is so important now is that, without a plan to fund the TTF, the money to counties and local governments like yours is drying up, which means that very soon, property taxes are going up.

 

Of course, if you don't have any ideas on how to address any of this...