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* What Christie's Victory Means For Harrison.


JohnPinho
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Chris Christie's victory last night means that it will not be business as usual in Harrison. Governor Jon Corzine was in many ways a benefactor for the Town of Harrison. Mayor Raymond McDonough's close Democratic ties with Governor Corzine provided assess and funding for the town of Harrison. Christie is not likely to be so kind.

Harrison receives both Abbott District money, Distressed City Funding and its share of Extraordinary Aid from the State of New Jersey. With a looming interest payment of $3.5 million due in 2010 for the $40 million dollar Red Bulls Bond and retroactive pay increases to town employees, any loss of funding can be devastating to Harrison's taxpayers.

At the Special Council meeting held on October 26, 2009, a resident asked the Mayor on several occasions what his plan was to reduce the property tax burden. Mayor McDonough had no plan. McDonough lamented that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 had stalled the redevelopment and that the current economy was stalling the project. McDonough's plan to decrease property taxes through Redevelopment has hit a huge brick wall. The wall is almost as thick as the 20 foot foundation walls of the demolished Guyon Building.

McDonough did reveal that he had a conversation with Peter Cocoziello, President and CEO of Advance Realty (Advance), the designated developer of the property in front of the Red Bull's Stadium. Peter Cocoziello had promised to start vertical construction on the project designated as the RiverBend District. McDonough however could not provide any details on the nature of the vertical construction.

Daily Harrison has picked up on a Advance Press Release and published an article entitled Infrastructure work at the Riverbend District. The press release sounds great but after reading it carefully the release simply states the obvious. The sewers, sidewalks and lights will be installed in front of the Red Bulls Stadium. The Harrison Planning Board previously modified its agreement with Advance allowing them to install temporary blacktop sidewalks and telephone pole street lighting. Advance will therefore be completing temporary horizontal improvements.

Obviously, the nation's economic downturn has effected the viability of the Riverbend District project. Advance has delayed construction but promises in the same release that:

"Phase I of vertical construction at the Riverbend District is scheduledto begin in 2010 and will feature more than 800,000 square feet ofretail space, including an anchor grocery and retailers, a 16-screencinema and notable restaurants; a 175-room hotel and a 350-room, fullservice hotel with 25,000 square feet of conference space; a wellnesscenter; corporate and boutique office space; and approximately 1,900for sale and rental residential units."

The Press Release does not specify when in 2010 the Advance plans on starting the vertical construction on the property or when it plans to complete construction. Horizontal construction paid for by taxpayer bonding is nice but Vertical construction paid for by a redeveloper which will eventually lead to some income for Harrison is much better.

Mayor McDonough must be proactive in heading off a large and devastating property tax increase. McDonough must realize that taxpayers are on the verge of panic over ever increasing property taxes. If the last three council meetings are any indication, it is clear that McDonough can no longer ignore the poor financial condition Harrison finds itself in. The sooner the Mayor takes the bull by the horns the more likely he will be able to avoid a devastating property tax increase.

As unpopular as it may be, the Mayor must ask town employees to defer arbitrator awarded pay increases for two years. There is record unemployment. Many residents find themselves unemployed and with ever increasing expenses. Mayor McDonough could demonstrate with such a request of town employees that he is serious about weathering this economic storm without imposing an additional property tax burden on homeowners. Union leaders should be very conscious of the current economy and seriously consider the deferral proposal. Many private sector employers have implemented wage freezes to avoid layoffs. One's current salary is better than no salary. A deferred pay increase will enable Harrison to weather the current economic storm. Once the vertical construction is complete tax revenues will be available to pay the salary increases without overwhelming property owners.

Mayor McDonough's legacy will be determined in the action he takes in the next few weeks. Let's see if he has the ability to make some difficult but necessary decisions. Let's hope he doesn't make only "political" decisions but makes some unpopular but necessary "business" decisions. Harrison's future and his legacy hang in the balance.

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You are absolutely right the town workers feel entitled to pay raises when the rest of us are wondering when I am going to be laid off. In today's Star Ledger is this story to remind us, Unemployment rate surpasses 10 percent

Most Town workers have not had a raise in over three years and are certainly entitled to a few dollars. A few of the blessed folks have been getting increases all along and those top earners are the ones you should complain about.

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Most Town workers have not had a raise in over three years and are certainly entitled to a few dollars. A few of the blessed folks have been getting increases all along and those top earners are the ones you should complain about.

From what I understand, an arbitrator awarded retroactive pay raises. In effect, the town workers will get their pay raises for each year. That is a significant expense in terms of salary, taxes, and pension contributions.

In my opinion, the Harrison property taxpayers simply cannot afford it. What can the Mayor do about it? He must communicate to all town employees the reality of the economic meltdown about to happen. As much as I personally would love to give all town workers pay increases and all taxpayers pay increases, it is financially impossible. There is record unemployment and foreclosures. To have a job at this time is more important than getting a pay raise. Many in private industry are getting pay cuts (not increases). My wife is among those individuals. Companies are also eliminating matching contributions to retirement plans. The reality must be explained to town workers as nicely as possible. It is a tough pill to swallow but an extremely important one if Harrison is going to survive.

With respect to the top earners, they should be volunteering to reduce their salaries to assist their fellow town employees and Harrison's property taxpayers.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest LEROY MORS
From what I understand, an arbitrator awarded retroactive pay raises. In effect, the town workers will get their pay raises for each year. That is a significant expense in terms of salary, taxes, and pension contributions.

In my opinion, the Harrison property taxpayers simply cannot afford it. What can the Mayor do about it? He must communicate to all town employees the reality of the economic meltdown about to happen. As much as I personally would love to give all town workers pay increases and all taxpayers pay increases, it is financially impossible. There is record unemployment and foreclosures. To have a job at this time is more important than getting a pay raise. Many in private industry are getting pay cuts (not increases). My wife is among those individuals. Companies are also eliminating matching contributions to retirement plans. The reality must be explained to town workers as nicely as possible. It is a tough pill to swallow but an extremely important one if Harrison is going to survive.

With respect to the top earners, they should be volunteering to reduce their salaries to assist their fellow town employees and Harrison's property taxpayers.

HOW ABOUT A HARRISON CITY TAX ON ALL LAWYERS.

TAX THE RICH

AP POLL: Paying for health overhaul? Tax the rich

11/17/2009, 6:05 a.m. ET

ERICA WERNER

The Associated Press

(AP) — WASHINGTON - Americans don't want to shoulder the cost of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul themselves. They think the rich should pay for it.

That's the finding from a new Associated Press poll, and it could be a boost for House Democrats, who have proposed taxing upper-income people to fund their sweeping remake of the U.S. medical system. Their plan, which the House approved this month, would extend coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

The poll, conducted by Stanford University with the nonpartisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found survey participants sour on other ways of paying for the health overhaul that is being considered in Congress.

The options they don't like include taxing insurers on the high-value coverage packages derided by Obama and Democrats as "Cadillac plans." That tax approach, being weighed in the Senate, is one of the few proposals in any congressional legislation that analysts say would help reduce the nation's health expenditures. It has come under fire from organized labor and has little support in the House.

Lawmakers also are looking at levying new taxes on insurance companies, drug companies and medical device makers. But the only approach that got majority support in the AP poll was a tax on upper-income Americans.

The House bill would impose a 5.4 percent income tax surcharge on individuals making more than $500,000 a year and households making more than $1 million.

The poll tested views on an even more punitive taxation scheme that was under consideration earlier, when the tax would have hit people making more than $250,000 a year. Even at that level the poll showed majority support, with 57 percent in favor and 36 percent opposed.

"You know, I mean, why not? If they have that much money, it should be taxed," said Mary Pat Rondthaler, 60, of Menlo Park, Calif. "It isn't the same way that the guy making $21,000 is."

Not everyone agreed.

"They earn their money. And they shouldn't have to pay for somebody else. It doesn't seem fair," said Emerson Wilkins, 62, of Powder Springs, Ga.

An income tax increase on all Americans to pay for a health care remake-an approach Congress never considered-was overwhelmingly rejected in the poll. Seventy-five percent opposed that idea, and only nineteen percent were in favor.

Overall, the poll found the public split on Congress' health care plans. In response to some questions, participants said the current system needed to be changed, but they also voiced concerns about the impact on their own pocketbooks, preferring to push any new costs onto wealthier Americans.

For example, 77 percent said the cost of health care in the United States was higher than it should be, and 74 percent favored the broad goal of reducing the amount of money paid by patients and their insurers. But 49 percent said any changes made by the government probably would cause them to pay more for health care. Thirty-two percent said it wouldn't change what they pay, and just 12 percent said they would end up paying less.

With lawmakers searching for new revenue sources to pay for the overhaul legislation, upper-income taxes may be increasingly gaining favor.

Legislation passed by Senate committees did not go that route, but now Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has a free hand in merging two committee-passed bills, is considering raising the payroll tax that goes to Medicare on income above $250,000 a year, officials told The Associated Press last week. Current law sets the tax at 1.45 percent of income, an amount matched by employers.

The Senate Finance Committee bill would tax health insurance plans costing more than $8,000 annually for individuals and $21,000 for families, although those numbers are expected to end up higher in Reid's bill. Union members are lined up against that approach because they fear their benefits could be hurt, and the public doesn't like it either, the AP poll found. Fifty-six percent were opposed and only 29 percent were in favor.

Other payment methods being contemplated on Capitol Hill also met with disapproval. Participants in the poll didn't support new taxes on medical device makers, drug companies or even insurers-even though they said in response to different questions that drug companies and insurance companies made too much money.

Forty-eight percent in the poll were opposed to new taxes on insurance companies, and 42 percent were in support. Fifty-one percent opposed raising taxes on drug and device makers, while 41 percent supported that approach.

But 72 percent of people polled said insurance companies made too much profit, compared with 23 percent who said they made about the right amount. And 74 percent said drug companies made too much profit, versus 21 percent who said they made about the right amount.

People who told pollsters they generally supported Congress' health care overhaul plan were also more receptive to new taxes to pay for it. Taxing health care companies, drug companies and equipment manufacturers eked out majority support from that group.

The payment approach that met with least approval by far in the poll was borrowing the money and increasing the federal debt, something Obama has repeatedly vowed not to do. Just 6 percent of people polled said they could support that approach, while 88 percent opposed it.

The poll was based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,502 adults from Oct. 29 to Nov. 8. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. The interviews were conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media. Stanford University's participation was made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which conducts research on all facets of the health care system.

___

On the Net:

Poll details at http://surveys.ap.org

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

© 2009 NJ.com All Rights Reserved.

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HOW ABOUT A HARRISON CITY TAX ON ALL LAWYERS.

TAX THE RICH

AP POLL: Paying for health overhaul? Tax the rich

11/17/2009, 6:05 a.m. ET

ERICA WERNER

The Associated Press

(AP) — WASHINGTON - Americans don't want to shoulder the cost of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul themselves. They think the rich should pay for it.

That's the finding from a new Associated Press poll, and it could be a boost for House Democrats, who have proposed taxing upper-income people to fund their sweeping remake of the U.S. medical system. Their plan, which the House approved this month, would extend coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

The poll, conducted by Stanford University with the nonpartisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found survey participants sour on other ways of paying for the health overhaul that is being considered in Congress.

The options they don't like include taxing insurers on the high-value coverage packages derided by Obama and Democrats as "Cadillac plans." That tax approach, being weighed in the Senate, is one of the few proposals in any congressional legislation that analysts say would help reduce the nation's health expenditures. It has come under fire from organized labor and has little support in the House.

Lawmakers also are looking at levying new taxes on insurance companies, drug companies and medical device makers. But the only approach that got majority support in the AP poll was a tax on upper-income Americans.

The House bill would impose a 5.4 percent income tax surcharge on individuals making more than $500,000 a year and households making more than $1 million.

The poll tested views on an even more punitive taxation scheme that was under consideration earlier, when the tax would have hit people making more than $250,000 a year. Even at that level the poll showed majority support, with 57 percent in favor and 36 percent opposed.

"You know, I mean, why not? If they have that much money, it should be taxed," said Mary Pat Rondthaler, 60, of Menlo Park, Calif. "It isn't the same way that the guy making $21,000 is."

Not everyone agreed.

"They earn their money. And they shouldn't have to pay for somebody else. It doesn't seem fair," said Emerson Wilkins, 62, of Powder Springs, Ga.

An income tax increase on all Americans to pay for a health care remake-an approach Congress never considered-was overwhelmingly rejected in the poll. Seventy-five percent opposed that idea, and only nineteen percent were in favor.

Overall, the poll found the public split on Congress' health care plans. In response to some questions, participants said the current system needed to be changed, but they also voiced concerns about the impact on their own pocketbooks, preferring to push any new costs onto wealthier Americans.

For example, 77 percent said the cost of health care in the United States was higher than it should be, and 74 percent favored the broad goal of reducing the amount of money paid by patients and their insurers. But 49 percent said any changes made by the government probably would cause them to pay more for health care. Thirty-two percent said it wouldn't change what they pay, and just 12 percent said they would end up paying less.

With lawmakers searching for new revenue sources to pay for the overhaul legislation, upper-income taxes may be increasingly gaining favor.

Legislation passed by Senate committees did not go that route, but now Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has a free hand in merging two committee-passed bills, is considering raising the payroll tax that goes to Medicare on income above $250,000 a year, officials told The Associated Press last week. Current law sets the tax at 1.45 percent of income, an amount matched by employers.

The Senate Finance Committee bill would tax health insurance plans costing more than $8,000 annually for individuals and $21,000 for families, although those numbers are expected to end up higher in Reid's bill. Union members are lined up against that approach because they fear their benefits could be hurt, and the public doesn't like it either, the AP poll found. Fifty-six percent were opposed and only 29 percent were in favor.

Other payment methods being contemplated on Capitol Hill also met with disapproval. Participants in the poll didn't support new taxes on medical device makers, drug companies or even insurers-even though they said in response to different questions that drug companies and insurance companies made too much money.

Forty-eight percent in the poll were opposed to new taxes on insurance companies, and 42 percent were in support. Fifty-one percent opposed raising taxes on drug and device makers, while 41 percent supported that approach.

But 72 percent of people polled said insurance companies made too much profit, compared with 23 percent who said they made about the right amount. And 74 percent said drug companies made too much profit, versus 21 percent who said they made about the right amount.

People who told pollsters they generally supported Congress' health care overhaul plan were also more receptive to new taxes to pay for it. Taxing health care companies, drug companies and equipment manufacturers eked out majority support from that group.

The payment approach that met with least approval by far in the poll was borrowing the money and increasing the federal debt, something Obama has repeatedly vowed not to do. Just 6 percent of people polled said they could support that approach, while 88 percent opposed it.

The poll was based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,502 adults from Oct. 29 to Nov. 8. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. The interviews were conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media. Stanford University's participation was made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which conducts research on all facets of the health care system.

___

On the Net:

Poll details at http://surveys.ap.org

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

© 2009 NJ.com All Rights Reserved.

Leroy,

You have a good idea there. I would like to add a little Eagle twist to it.

The tax would be doubled for out of county Lawyers. This would slow down those sharks who have made Harrison their private feeding grounds. They love all the lawsuits. What ever happens win or loose they win.

They are not going to pay the taxes here now or in the future.

Leave it to a Yankee fan to come up with the answer to the problem.

Eagle

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