New Jersey’s TrumpCare Nullification Act

On Thursday, the same day that 15 Republican US Senators unveiled a secret proposal to modify federal health care taxes, legislators in New Jersey filed a bill to nullify the effects of that possible change. The bill is known as the “TrumpCare Nullification Act” by creating the New Jersey Affordable Health Care Fund. Details are listed in this Insider NJ article.

The New Jersey Affordable Health Care Fund is designed to add a state tax on the wealthy in the amount of repealed federal taxes that would be saved. The money would then be allocated to those low income individuals who would lose health coverage under the cutbacks to Medicaid under the federal plan.

The key to understanding TrumpCare is to recognize that it really is not a health care reform plan. It is a tax reallocation plan. It cuts taxes for the wealthy and makes up for the loss of tax revenue by cutting Medicaid funding for the poor. I covered five key provisions of the Republican Senate bill in a blog post yesterday.

New Jersey’s proposal is a simple and direct plan to address the negative effects of TrumpCare here in New Jersey. NJ.com estimates that the number of people would double in the congressional district of Tom MacArthur, one of the few New Jersey congressmen who support the Republican proposals. As of yesterday, my own Republican Congressman Frank LoBiondo was still leaning toward a “no” vote and both New Jersey Senators oppose the Republican proposals.

New Jersey and other coastal states are likely to continue to move apart from the federal government on key issues like taxes, health care, immigration and human rights. Health care taxes could be the first battle line actually tested.

Representative Holly, one of the bill’s sponsors wrote “Contrary to President Trump and Republican members of Congress, New Jersey residents believe that health care should not be regarded as a luxury in this country. Our state cannot – and will not – allow irresponsible decisions at the federal level to cause its most vulnerable residents to lose access to high-quality, affordable health care.”

Parts of NJ are not ready for online legal notices

Today I sent this message to our NJ legislators.

I am writing to voice opposition to Senate Bill Number 2855 / Assembly Bill Number 4429, introduced December 12, 2016. This bill proposes to allow municipalities to save money by publishing public legal notices on web sites instead of more costly print methods. This in itself is not the problem. The problem is than in municipalities like mine (Downe Township) where residents do not have access to the internet, it is plainly unfair to allow the posting of important legal notices only on web sites.

You may be aware that I have been a loud voice for expansion of internet in our rural low-income communities. While your office has been supportive of this effort, the fact remains that we have been unsuccessful in our efforts to provide internet access to all residents. It is unfair to financially reward the municipalities now with lower publishing fees after they have consistently failed to require Comcast and Verizon to provide universal internet access in negotiating internet installation contracts.

I urge you to either reject the bill or to introduce an amendment that would prevent the website publishing rules from being effective in municipalities that do not yet have universal access to internet.

Someday we will all be able to benefit from the efficiencies of the internet. Until then, fair play dictates that we maintain traditional forms of communication on legal matters.

New Jersey business drain continues

New Jersey faces a serious problem with business owners leaving the state. Some have called it the “millionaire drain”. I prefer to call it the “job creator drain”.

I am among those small business owners who have given up NJ residency, although I still hold out hope for recovery and the possibility of returning someday. Other baby boomers like me are moving out of New Jersey at shocking numbers to dodge the state’s exorbitant taxes while even more low-income and often undocumented people move into the state to take their place take advantage of the state’s social services. This has contributed to our region of southwest New Jersey as being the most economically depressed in the nation. The 10 year regional economic forecast is bleak.

The state officially estimates that more than 70% of the workers in some industries like agriculture and fishing are undocumented workers. My own observations in rural Cumberland County put the undocumented worker percentage even higher. Meanwhile, I see plenty of public pensioners collecting incomes that most of today’s active work force will never even come close to attaining. It is grossly out of balance. Those attempting to start a business can be stalled for years and yes, the process still gets stalled by bribery or extortion attempts by government officials.  It’s just a mess and, until now, it seemed that nobody wants to take on the toughest issues directly.

The New Jersey Society of CPAs, the NJ Chamber of Commerce, the New Jersey Business and Industry Association and New Jersey’s acting State Treasurer Ford M. Scudder recently joined efforts to begin working on these economic issues affecting economic status of the state. The state faces huge bureaucratic obstacles including business licensing and permitting, operating fees, real estate taxes, estate tax, inheritance tax, public pensions and other issues stunting economic growth.

I remain active through several of these groups and a few others that are working toward finding a solution. Next month I will film a promotional video for the New Jersey Society of CPAs about the importance of political involvement in this restructuring and economic recovery process. I only hope that I live long enough to see some resulting improvement!