The data is clear. Our students are leaving the state for college and not returning to New Jersey. Businesses are leaving New Jersey because the tax burden is too high. Families are leaving because they simply can’t afford to live here any longer. While many of the causes are driven by state policies, Garden State taxpayers are sending far more dollars to Washington than we are getting in return with federal investments — and that must end.
Issue by Issue, we must look at what is in the best interests of the people of New Jersey and what policies will promote a future where people can make their version of the American dream work here in New Jersey.
The national debt is nearing $22.5 trillion, yet the federal government still spends about $2 trillion more than it brings in each year. In New Jersey, the state’s fiscal problems are among the worst of all 50 states. Yet the Governor and Legislature have adopted a record-spending budget, increased spending by $4 Billion over two years and continues to raise taxes. We need to end government’s addiction to deficit spending and raising taxes. The reckless cycle of raising and spending tax dollars has made New Jersey unaffordable and, on the national level, put our national security at risk — because a nation heavily indebted to the rest of the world will become economically unstable, and an unstable economy will lead to collapse. It is far past time for government to get responsible.
The key to paying for college debt is a well-paying job when students graduate. Free college is not the answer. Promising people anything for free is a hollow gesture and the act of desperate politicians. Taxpayers know they will wind up picking up the check. We need to expand the free market to offer more variety and better terms, create more transparency in the loan process and establish guidelines to insure students are not being strapped to insurmountable financial obligations to pursue careers that will never provide them with the means to repay their debts.
Climate change is real and human activity plays a key role.
The U.S. continues to lead the world toward a new and clean energy system. But responsible leaders, now including many environmental groups, understand that we cannot soon eliminate baseload power — the nuclear and fossil fuel plants that run 24/7 and ensure reliability — through full-scale employment of intermittent wind and solar resources. The radical disaster known as the Green New Deal would achieve nothing but to send America back to the stone age faster than any natural global shift. Our nation must incentivize the continuing development of clean-fuel technology and alternative energy sources, implementing them without destroying our economy, diminishing our national security or punishing people and businesses with heavy taxes and fees. U.S. policy must also take into account the fact that climate change is a global problem. As we continue to lead the world, we cannot surrender our economic standing while other nations do little or nothing to clean up our planet. We must ensure that all nations operate under accepted accords and standards of responsibility that recognize U.S. leadership and provide protections against those that would seek to exploit our efforts.
Once-fatal conditions are now curable or manageable chronic illnesses because of the advances in modern medicine, and that is a result of more competition and less government regulation in the United States. But we need to make certain these medications are available to everyone who needs them, and we can do that through transparency in pricing and optimizing competition. To insure life-saving and sustaining medications are not only affordable for Americans, but also available requires keeping competition alive.
New Jersey can’t have a first in the world economy with a third world infrastructure. Investment in our infrastructure, particularly the ports, highways and rail systems, improves commerce and our economy. New Jersey is a hub for the transportation, logistics and distribution industries — and Washington needs to understand that investment in New Jersey is an investment in our nation’s booming economy. We need to make that case in Washington, starting with jumpstarting the Gateway project that will create two new rail tunnels between New Jersey and New York.
We need to preserve coverage for pre-existing conditions and provide access to quality health care for everyone, including the elderly and those amongst us with disabilities. The current health care system is too expensive and unsustainable. Medicare for all is a proposal that will short change our seniors, doubling our taxes and bankrupting our nation. We need to eliminate the barriers for more competition in the health care market and provide families access to the care and types of policies that fit their needs, not a one-size-fits all model. We also need to make health care costs transparent and remove the prospect of expensive surprise medical billing.
Our representatives in Trenton have failed us with outrageous state and local property taxes. That failure was exasperated when the federal tax cut legislation included a provision that capped the state and local taxes that New Jersey families claim on their federal tax returns. Fixing this requires direct Congressional action, not the partisan gimmicks of creating charitable deductions and work-arounds of IRS regulations. Federal representatives need to put partisan politics aside and find ways to increase the cap, without increasing the federal debt.
Congress has completely abandoned its responsibility to fix our broken immigration system. We need to secure our borders, while also being compassionate towards those who have worked hard and established families in the United States. But compassion is not an excuse for failing to protect our national sovereignty, identify who is entering our nation, deal with visa overstays and streamline the citizenship process. The misguided and reckless declaration of sanctuary states and cities is a direct result of Congressional inaction, and it only serves to make our communities unsafe and complicate societal problems.
Israel is our closest ally and the one true Democracy in the Middle East. I am a strong supporter of Israel because I believe it is in America’s interest as well as New Jersey’s interest. In fact, New Jersey has a partnership with Israel where Israel is investing in jobs right here in New Jersey. Many Israeli businesses operate in New Jersey.
My connection to Israel is also very personal. My sister has a son with non-verbal autism. She is also Executive Director of Project Oral Health, which is a collaboration between various health organizations such as Henry Schein and brings dental care to the disabled community. Through her, I have seen the advancements that wonderful organizations such as Shalva in Jerusalem provide to the disability community. One of their unique programs is Oral Health for Everyone (OHEV, which means love in Hebrew), which is geared toward decreasing the cost and risk of dental treatment for individuals with disabilities to improve their overall health and quality of life.