ISSUES TO FIGHT FOR
"I fought in the US Military as a Navy SEAL for years, spanning four tours of duty. When I came home, it didn't feel right not serving my country in some capacity, so I sought out another form of public service. As a New Jersey Assemblyman, my goal is to continue to fight for people's freedoms, but in this case, it's for their freedom to work hard, make a living and keep more of their paychecks, so they can choose where their money goes."
LIST OF ISSUES
New Jersey is the unproud owner of the highest property taxes in the nation by a wide margin. The state has also been named the worst business climate in the nation by the Tax Foundation, a leading bi-partisan research group. From our corporate business tax to our income tax and all the ones in between, we've created an atmosphere that makes it nearly impossible for residents to remain above water and for businesses to survive and thrive.
The Titanic is heading towards the iceberg, and we need to turn this thing around before we crash. In order to do that, we have to make fundamental changes to the way we operate. I have proposed a constitutional amendment to cap yearly state spending at two-percent increases. Trenton's 2019 spending bill saw an eight-percent increase in spending that was reflected back by raising various taxes. It is unsustainable to continue to create new taxes so we can expand government.
New Jersey's government is blown up as big as it can get. Let's keep it from bursting and make sure the wild spending increases stop. It's time to put hard-earned money back into the pockets of our residents instead of forcing them to fund every new mandate Trenton tosses their way.
School Funding and Education
A local school district I represent got creative when faced with a problem. It was dealt a crushing blow under the new school funding formula that would see them lose millions in state aid because of years of declining enrollment. To help offset some of the funds the district stood to lose over the next few years, it opened a daycare in the empty wing of a building it owned. The daycare flourished, but instead of continuing to be allowed to run, it was told to shut down due to burdensome state regulations on public districts operating daycares.
I currently have a bill fighting to change the state's regulations so it can reopen and other similar daycares can open in the state. What the school district did should be a model of creativity for other districts. Faced with declining enrollment, it adapted and used empty space to deliver a new kind of education, while raising funds to beat back local taxes.
We need to continue out-of-the-box thinking to come up with solutions that allow us to maintain a high excellence of education without sacrificing important programs and bankrupting local taxpayers. That includes developing shared services between public schools, vocational schools and community colleges. Let's use all the resources we have available to deliver the best education to kids that we possibly can.
Taxpayers have given so much to me, including paying for my time in the Naval Academy and my service in the Navy. It is only right that I give back. I do that in some capacity in my roles on nonprofit boards like Liberty USO and Habitat for Humanity, but I wanted to extend my public service beyond that. That is why I ran to become a member of the New Jersey Legislature and why I base my service to the state around my constituents.
I was chosen to represent my district, and in order to do that to the best of my ability, I have to find every way I can to reach out to my residents to see what they seek out of their local representative. From town hall meetings to an open office invitation, I believe that hearing the issues individuals are facing is the only way to properly legislate.
Job Creation and Professional Education
As a state, it is our responsibility to give our residents all the tools they need to succeed so they can obtain a self-sufficient lifestyle. Being able to take care of yourself and your family starts with employment.
We need job training programs that partner with local community colleges, apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing fields that have an abundance of job openings and public-private partnerships to raise funds for scholarships. However, we still need businesses to want to come to New Jersey.
I believe in making taxes more competitive with our neighboring states to attract businesses to New Jersey. We have the ocean to the east, Philadelphia to the west and New York to the north. Our location makes us a prime state for any entrepreneur or business owner to locate to, but we can't give them a reason to look away from us. A competitive tax structure is the best way to attract new jobs.
Local mayors, town councils and school boards in this state have been struggling for years to provide the services people deserve while keeping property taxes at bay. Too often they face an uphill challenge that is too steep to climb.
While mayors and school boards need to continue to think of creative ways to keep property taxes down, the state needs to not tie their hands behind their backs while they are doing it. That's why I have introduced an amendment which would bar Trenton politicians from using municipal relief aid to balance the state budget. We should not be using money earmarked for property tax relief to fund the initiatives of every new administration.