New Jersey Politicians Whine About Proposed Cuts to EPA
Among the progressive politicians and special interest groups whining about the Trump administration’s proposed budget, you will find New Jersey politicians who are upset about proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency that will eliminate $330 million from the Hazardous Substance Superfund Account. Representatives Bill Pascrell and Josh Gottheimer are appalled that the Trump administration would propose budget cuts to the EPA because those cuts will ‘endanger our children.’
Pascrell, Gottheimer, and Thomas Duch, Garfield, New Jersey city manager, are upset because the cuts will end the EPA’s continued oversight of the land once occupied by the E.C. Electroplating Plant, which would mean the City of Garfield and State of New Jersey would have to take responsibility for monitoring the ground water near the site. The EPA dismantled the plant, replaced the soil at the site, and is currently monitoring the ground water for chemicals, but the proposed cuts to the EPA might end the EPA’s control over the location and return control to the State; Pascrell, Gottheimer, and Duch prefer the federal government retain control and American taxpayers continue to fund the EPA’s efforts.
Duch claims more money is needed to put in place a permanent plan to treat the water; estimates range from $21 to $30 million. Duch claims Garfield doesn’t have the “technical experience” and “financial wherewithal” to monitor and test the ground water at the Superfund site; we’re counting on the taxpayer-funded bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. to handle this problem. Duch asserts, “If the EPA can’t help, we’re going to live with the Superfund site.” Why can’t Pascrell and Gottheimer use some of their campaign funds to help cover the costs; maybe they ask their corporate donors to contribute funds to handle the costs associated with monitoring the site? Pascrell and Gottheimer could take a break from selling their votes and make an effort to help Garfield.
Pascrell has been in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1996, and has raised tens of millions of dollars; 2015-2016 he raised $1.7 million. Pascrell could approach some of his masters like Morgan Stanley and ask them to help with the ongoing monitoring of the Superfund site. If his top donors are not interested in assisting the City of Garfield with the Superfund site, maybe he could request that his corporate donors donate to Garfield in lieu of providing him with campaign donations.
Gottheimer was elected to the House in 2016, and has already proven that he is an accomplished “fundraiser.” During the 2016 election cycle, Gottheimer raised $4.8 million; impressive. Although the names of his corporate donors are not available, we do know that $4,121,121 came from individual contributions; ninety-three percent ($3,815,369) of these were large, individual contributions, what do you suppose these donors expect from him? Gottheimer could stop his grandstanding antics about the proposed cuts to the EPA and use his fundraising prowess to generate funds to monitor the ground water at the Superfund site; he can replace his plaintive wails with action.
It is highly unlikely that Pascrell and Gottheimer will forego any donations from their wealthy donors, so Duch can request funds from the State of New Jersey. New Jersey raises billions of dollars by taxing residents at rates higher than most states, so Garfield should appeal to the state to bankroll the project. The following is an abbreviated list of New Jersey taxes with their national rankings:
- mean effective property tax rates on owner-occupied housing – 2.11% (the highest in the U.S.)
- state income taxes – 1.75% – 8.97% (fourth highest rates)
- sales and local taxes combined – 6.85% (fourth highest)
- state and local tax burden – 12.2% (third highest)
- estate and inheritance taxes – 0.8% – 16%. New Jersey and Maryland are the only states that have estate and inheritance taxes. New Jersey has the highest estate and inheritance taxes.
- cigarette tax – $2.70 per pack. This tax is in addition to sales tax. (ninth highest)
- wine tax – 88 cents per bottle. This tax is in addition to sales tax. (no information on rankings; most states don’t have a consumption tax)
- distilled spirits – $5.50 per bottle. Aside from sales tax. (no rankings; abnormal tax)
- cell phone, wireless taxes – 9.02%. The retailer adds 9.02 percent of the sale price to consumers’ invoices. The 9.02 percent is an ongoing tax included on wireless customers monthly bills.
- beach tag – New Jersey taxes people to walk on the beaches; that’s right, the state and applicable municipalities have taken ownership of the sand on the beaches; Democrats.
The State of New Jersey taxes everything and everybody at the highest or almost highest rates in America, so why can’t it redirect tax dollars to Garfield? In 2016, the State of New Jersey soaked its residents for $13.8 billion in income taxes and $9.3 billion in sales taxes, so redirecting a pittance of the billions of dollars confiscated from New Jersey residents to Garfield is a no-brainer.
The state budget for FY2017 is proof that members of the New Jersey legislature in cooperation with Governor Chris Christie can take financial responsibility for the Superfund site rather than pass the costs to American taxpayers. The total budgeted expenditures for FY2017 is $34.9 billion; $34.9 billion for a small state with a shrinking population. The $34.9 billion is exclusive of the $21.4 billion in “expenditures not budgeted.” The total expenditures for FY17 total $56.3 billion; the redistribution of federal tax dollars covers $21.4 billion. There is plenty of state tax dollars to assist Garfield in cleaning up the Superfund site, but New Jersey politicians’ preference is to have the EPA use your tax dollars to handle their problems; take some of the $12.4 billion spent on welfare programs to finance the water treatment system.