The words “tax abatement” often strikes a responsive chord depending on who reads or hears them. For some, especially those of a business mindset, there is the suggestion that some improvement or development in the area is under consideration. A good business move. For others, the gut reaction is that local or state government is participating in a “giveaway” to business interests who receive a soft landing for making an investment from which they expect to profit. An accommodation at taxpayers’ expense.Read more
I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to increase the financial security of New Jersey residents. The banking meltdown of 2008 rudely awoke everyone to the reality that it is in our self-interest (and our families) to take a more direct role in our financial future. This point is highlighted by a recent Harvard study that says it is no easier to climb up the income ladder today than 20 years ago. More frightening is the revelation that one out of five Americans have no savings when they retire. None.Read more
Tell me if this sounds familiar. A candidate for public office asks for your vote in broad general terms about what they support and what they have done or will do. They are however reluctant to get into specifics on those issues for whatever reason. And, some wonder why so many people are disenchanted with our current brand of politics. There you have it in a nutshell. People want candidates to interact with them in the same way we would want anyone else who comes across our path to act: direct...honest...without a lot of gobbledygook!Read more
It’s July 16, just about the midpoint of our unofficial three months of summer, and I have to remind myself and possibly many of you too, that despite the day-to-day obstacles we face, large and small, we need to take a moment to relax.
I’ve been reflecting over many of the topics that I have addressed in recent blogs and will admit that they are a heady and serious lot. We’ve covered topics ranging from racism and ineffectual education policies to contaminated drinking water. These are somber subjects that require our attention, and when I took my oath of office, I promised to serve you in the best possible way. I hope that I have been diligent in these responsibilities.Read more
It’s that sweltering summer day, when you come indoors and fill your glass from the water faucet after taking the dog out for its daily walk. As you drink the water, you can hear your pet slurping from its bowl in the background. The act is so commonplace that you never give it a second thought. What’s safer than your drinking water, right?
Well, for some that isn't such an easy question to answer. It's for that reason, and the concern raised by some of my neighbors from Moorestown, that Assemblyman Herb Conaway and I delved into answering that question.
Last Friday, June 26, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that the U.S. Constitution provides a guarantee for the right of same-sex marriage. The 5-to-4 vote ends the decades-old battle to afford everyone the right to marry whomever they want regardless of gender.
I supported the Courts decision and issued the following statement after it was made public:
"This Supreme Court decision is a historic moment in our never-ending fight for civil rights and justice. I'm proud that the court extended nationwide the same protection for marriage equality that New Jersey has enjoyed for the past few years in their recognition that love is love."
The recent senseless violence we all witnessed in South Carolina gives us all cause for feeling emotionally drained and physically unsettled . Once again, a racial incident, this one of epic proportions and committed in shocking cold blood, rises to the forefront in the wake of a church shooting in Charleston, leaving nine innocent citizens dead. And, the clamor for every facet and nugget surrounding this dreadful incident becomes the fodder with which the media now bombards us.Read more
The topic of education is one that won’t go away, whether it’s a local media report or the headline story on a major network. A major reason for this, even if the media doesn’t quite describe it in this context, is that educational opportunity is the civil rights issue of our time. For decades now, those in and around our educational system have tried to shrink the education achievement gap amongst races and socioeconomic classes through a variety of means. However, almost all these efforts have operated solely within the educational sphere. This in itself is a problem, as oftentimes we are reticent to accept the fact that other non-school factors play a significant contributing role in failing to close these gaps.Read more
Due to the passing of my father, Elijah Singleton Jr., there will not be a normal blog post this week. I want to thank all those who have reached out to share their condolences and offer support for my family during this difficult time. Our fathers teach us a lot in life and my father was truly my hero. I will miss him dearly, but will lean on the lessons that he instilled in me to live my remaining days as a tribute to him. Again, thank you all for thoughts and prayers. I am sincerely grateful.
These expenditures are special or selective tax-relief benefits authorized by law to encourage investment, create jobs and facilitate economic development, or to relieve the tax on products, services or financial decisions in order to boost businesses.
These are laudable goals that I have supported and even sponsored. With that said, a component of that authorization should be our ability to critically analyze the economic benefits of those expenditures.
Given New Jersey's lagging recovery from the recession and our sluggish job growth rate, we need to do a better job of determining whether these incentives are achieving their goals and working in the taxpayers' best interests.
That is where the governor's veto misses the mark.Read more