Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Daggett for NJ Governor

In just a few weeks, residents of New Jersey will be voting for somebody to fill the governor's seat. Currently, it's a not-so-tight race, with Republican Chris Christie leading the incumbent Democrat, Jon Corzine, by a healthy margin.

But neither of them deserve to be elected this November.

Candidates Jon Corzine, Chris Daggett and Chris Christie, in a recent televised debate

Jon Corzine's political collateral is spent. As Governor of New Jersey, he reneged on his promise to cut property taxes and has instead sent taxes skyrocketing - currently, NJ residents bear the biggest tax burden in America. Corzine's tax hikes will continue if he's reelected. He's already discussing raising the tax on gasoline.

Although the economy mitigates some of the blame, Corzine's administration was responsible for an $8 billion deficit in the state budget this year, with a $10 billion deficit forecast for 2010. That's despite enacting 111 new taxes (totaling $1.2 billion in extra revenue) and halting tax rebates for 1.2 million New Jersey residents.

But don't imagine that Chris Christie's promises look any better. I've already outlined the corruption that was rife in his department while he was New Jersey's U.S. Attorney.

Just today, despite standing on a position of financial responsibility - and promising to cut spending, graft and waste - Christie has also been exposed for exceeding federal spending limits during his time in the attorney's office. He used taxpayer's money to fund lavish stays in five star hotels for himself and his staff - exceeding spending limits by as much as 100% on 23 of the 30 trips he claimed for.

Christie claims he only stayed in luxury hotels, like the Four Seasons in Washington D.C., when there was no other accommodation available.

"There is never a situation where the only available hotel in Washington is the Four Seasons," retorted Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "If you stay there, you've chosen luxury - and you've chosen to ignore the rules."

Even before we begin to compare the policies and positions of these two competing candidates, it's clear neither of them possess the ethics or initiative deserving of the position of governor.

Sadly, the only admirable candidate for the governor's office - independent Chris Daggett - stands little chance of being elected. Despite standing head and shoulders above Corzine or Christie - and trouncing them decisively in recent televised debate - there are electoral roadblocks in place that make his election little more than wishful thinking.

It's a real pity. Daggett is former chairman of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Permit Efficiency Task Force and a veteran of the Reagan administration. He's a man who really knows about fiscal responsibility - yet holds moderate political positions that appeal to a broad range of New Jersey residents. Unlike Christie or Corzine, Daggett makes specific campaign pledges - like a promise to cut New Jersey property taxes by 25% and restructure the tax system.

He's even won the endorsement of left-wing papers like the Star-Ledger, who said: “Daggett’s election would send shock waves through New Jersey’s ossified political system and, we believe, provide a start in a new direction.”

It's just a pity it's unlikely to happen - but on the off chance that it might, I urge anybody living in New Jersey to vote for Daggett this November.

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