Taxed to Death

May 03, 2019

To the Editor:

Little Egg Harbor Township has announced it is going to raise taxes again because of rising benefits for employees. Why doesn’t the chief financial officer have employees pay for the increased costs of their pensions and their healthcare insurance instead of taxpayers?

Instead of just saying employees benefits costs have increased so we have to raise taxes, why can’t the employees pay a larger percentage of their salary for pension and healthcare costs? A permanent fix would be to replace the pensions for all workers including police officers with a 401K plan and modify the healthcare plan so that employees pay larger deductibles and copays to lower the township costs. Instead of providing a Cadillac health plan, why not provide a moderate, less expensive health plan?

New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the nation, but instead of reducing taxes politicians are making ridiculous statements like “taxes are only going up a little, we could have raised them even more.” The national average property tax for a median-priced home is $2,000 per year, but in New Jersey it’s $8,000. The only way to get taxes down is to make tough financial decisions like a pay freeze for public employees, regionalize police services, eliminate public employee binding arbitration, and eliminate prevailing wage rates for township road and building projects.

The national average police officer salary is $50,000, but the Ocean County average police officer salary is over $100,000. New Jersey has the highest public employee pension funding gap, which is 42 percent of the N.J. gross state product, or $27,000 per resident, according to S&P global ratings.

New Jersey is ranked 46th for retirees, new college grads can’t afford to live here, and businesses are leaving the state because of high corporate taxes and senseless regulations. To make matters worse, state politicians are cutting homestead rebates and state school aid while providing tuition assistance to illegal aliens who live in this sanctuary state.

Raising state and local taxes to bail out employee pension debt is unsustainable and will just quicken the death of this dying state.

Ken Orr

Little Egg Harbor

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