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Buttimore for Senate — June 6,  2017

 Legislative District 40 Republican

Make New Jersey Fair Again!

Are you satisfied with what the politicians in Trenton are doing to improve the quality of your life? Neither am I.

I am running for the State Senate because I believe the #1 job of a Legislator is to improve the quality of your life regardless of your party affiliation. After they get elected many of our State legislators only represent the people from their districts who agree with them and ignore the other constituents.

Trenton politicians have given us unfair property taxes…unfair school funding…unfair tax rebates…unfair treatment of senior citizens…and unfair college tuition costs. My pledge is to serve you and not the select few favored by the Trenton politicians.         Join me—and together we can…

Make New Jersey Fair Again!

When I am elected to the State Senate, as your representative in the 40th District which spans parts of Bergen, Passaic, Morris and Essex Counties, these are the first legislative issues I will tackle:

Fairly distribute the State’s school aid to reduce property taxes

The formula for distributing State school aid to municipalities is unfair. Over thirty years ago some school districts were deemed too poor to properly fund their own schools and the NJ Supreme Court, in the Abbott vs. Burke case, ordered the State to fund these school districts at the average level of the State’s wealthiest districts. This was called the Abbott decision. Today 60% of all State aid for schools goes to these 31 school districts. There are over 575 school districts in New Jersey. Surely homeowners in Jersey City and Hoboken, which are still considered Abbott districts, can no longer argue their real estate values are incapable of supporting their own school system. Yet despite soaring property values in these two cities these districts continue to receive tens of millions of dollars more than suburban towns.

The Democrat mayor of Jersey City pays $7,000 in property taxes on his $750,000 home in Jersey City.  In effect, homeowners in non-Abbott school districts are paying property taxes for schools in both their own town and the Abbott district towns. That’s unfair and together we change that. I will draft a bill requiring all municipalities to contribute a minimum amount toward their own schools and mandate a re-evaluation of properties for fair State aid distribution.

Improve the Senior Property Tax Freeze program

The Senior Property Tax Freeze program enables homeowners over 65 years of age with an income below $70,000 to have their future property taxes frozen at the amount they were when the homeowner turned 65 years old. In subsequent years, the homeowner pays the property taxes in full and then applies for a refund from the State. I want to change this to a “property tax credit” rather than a “property tax refund” program and eliminate complicated forms. Some senior citizens have difficulty coming up with the full amount of property taxes. Changing this process could help more senior citizens stay in their homes. Most seniors find they are able to afford the frozen property tax amount, but the current system forces seniors to loan the government the rebate amount for the entire year. That’s an unnecessary burden on seniors that is unfair and can be avoided. Together we can change that. I also want to raise the income eligibility level higher than $70,000 to enable more seniors to qualify for the program.

Reduce the cost of NJ public colleges and universities immediately by 25% without using tax dollars

New Jersey’s costs for tuition and mandatory fees for our State college and university students is the 4th highest in the nation. Our college students need affordable tuition to help them avoid starting their careers with an insurmountable level of  debt. My NJ College Save25 Program is a paid internship program where student/interns receive a minimum of 25% of their tuition and fees while the businesses who hire and mentor college interns will be permitted to double their tax deduction for the wages paid to the college intern. This can drop student’s cost of tuition and fees 25% immediately while ensuring the college receives the money it needs to operate and lower business taxes in NJ. This public-private sector partnership is fair to hard working New Jersey families who want to educate their children in New Jersey and together we can make it happen.

Responsible money management of State mandatory expenses

The State has periodic monthly or quarterly expenses just like any private business does. This includes rents, auto leases, utilities, debt payment etc. A number of our former Governors have not paid some financial obligations until the very end of the fiscal year in late June. This unnecessarily increases the cost of the obligation, much like when a private citizen pays their credit card bill at the very last moment with only the minimum payment. The State should pay its mandatory obligations in quarterly payments. Doing so will allow the State to save money and demonstrate financial discipline, thereby improving New Jersey’s credit rating. A better credit rating reduces the interest rate on the State’s obligations which saves you, the taxpayer, additional money. Responsible budgeting and disciplined payments resulting in lower costs to all New Jersey residents is fair and together we can make that happen.

10 year term limits for New Jersey senators and assembly-persons.

The Governor and the President of the United States are limited to two 4-year terms. New Jersey legislators have no term limits. Legislators should also be limited to a maximum term of service. Having career politicians who stay 20, 30 or even 40 years is not helpful. It limits new ideas and participation in government and often leads to candidates being selected by backroom party bosses instead of the voters. I will draft and sponsor a bill to limit New Jersey legislators to a maximum of 10 years of service in the legislature. Opponents will say that you need long-serving legislators for the experience they have. I don’t agree. We have many very bright and energetic citizens ready to contribute with new and fresh ideas to move our state forward. Promoting widespread involvement of citizens committed to serve other citizens, not a political party or themselves–is the best way to ensure fairness and together we can make that happen.

Creation of a Pension’s Integrity Office

The creation of a Pension’s Integrity Office could save the State of New Jersey pension funds billions of dollars and reduce the unfunded liabilities in the pension funds that has caused the State to receive a record number 10 credit downgrades. A Pension’s Integrity Office would ensure that only those public employees who truly have earned and deserve a pension from the State of New Jersey receive it. In the Spring of 2011 I met with Governor Christie’s Chief Counsel Office, the State Treasurer’s Chief of Staff and Deputy Director of Pensions, the State Comptroller’s Office, the Senate Majority Office, five State Senators on the Senate Budget Committee and appeared twice before Senate committee’s on pension reforms and I presented my detailed plan for the creation of a Pension’s Integrity Office and outlined specifically how it could save the State $10 billion.

PIO Proposal (1)

Oppose NJ taxpayers Funding Sanctuary Cities

The Senate Democrats are supporting a bill to have NJ taxpayers reimburse NJ municipalities who lose federal funding because they refuse to co-operate with federal authorities and existing immigration laws. Democrats are encouraging mayors and local law enforcement officers to ignore federal immigration laws even if President Trump withholds federals funds. NJ receives over $15 billion a year in federal funds and Senate Democrats will ask NJ taxpayers to pay for whatever President Trump withholds. Senate Democrats are likely violating their oath of office when they promised to uphold the laws of NJ and the United States. They also are participating in conduct which may be considered “obstruction of justice”.