N.J. officials need
better ethics oversight
Regarding the March 25 letter, "N.J. needs one ethics panel for all officials," by Assemblyman Dave Wolfe, R-Monmouth, Ocean:
While I applaud Wolfe for his initiative, I feel that he is banging his head against a concrete wall, with no relief in sight. New Jersey is arguably the most corrupt state in the union. When Gov. Chris Christie was U.S. attorney for New Jersey, he sent 130 corrupt politicians to prison. But sadly, Jon Corzine, a former Democratic U.S senator and New Jersey governor, and current Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez still walk the streets of New Jersey unindicted and essentially absolved of their ethical issues.
The current system of ethics oversight is ineffective and mired in layers of disgraceful behavior. The bureaucracy is the camouflage for the unethical behavior of elected politicians, appointed attorneys and others in municipal, county and state agencies.
Elected and appointed officials who breach the public trust by using their positions to break the law must be punished. Today, we, the people, are the serfs in a feudal society controlled by our unethical leaders. The people of New Jersey are tired of this behavior, and we deserve better.
Enact one six-year term
for president, Congress
Regarding the May 6 letter, "Obama has opportunities to promote families":
The writer says, "Second-term presidents can espouse issues they favor without concern over getting re-elected." How true. But how sad that elected officials have to focus first on issues that only get them re-elected, instead of taking care of the concerns of the people who elected them to office.
That is why term limits are essential for all elected officials. The president and members of Congress should have one six-year term. That way, they do not have to be concerned with losing money and support from lobbyists such as the National Rifle Association.
But how can this change come about when it is only the politicians themselves who can make the change?
It is time for major thinking as to how the writers of the Constitution meant our government to function.
Let's invest carefully
in new infrastructure
Most people agree that adequate funding and financing are needed to support sustainable infrastructure. The October 2011 draft of New Jersey's State Development and Redevelopment Plan includes an Infrastructure Needs Assessment through 2028 that approximates $18 billion of investment is needed for our state's water and wastewater infrastructure.
There needs to be an investment in water and wastewater infrastructure. However, there should be stringent criteria for utilities to access hard-earned tax dollars through state revolving loan funds to support infrastructure projects.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection should require greater emphasis on effective utility management practices related to the award of revolving-loan funds for capital improvement projects. Bad behavior and bad practices should not be rewarded with low- or no-cost funding to provide short-term solutions. Regulators should take a harder line to limit the transfer of utility revenues and place limits on the transfer of utility revenues to non-utility municipal funds and programs.
Hurricane Sandy taught us a profound lesson last year about the critical need for increased infrastructure investment in all the utilities, including water. In the same spirit of legislative initiatives encouraging municipal consolidation, we, too, believe in the consolidation of water and wastewater systems for the purpose of achieving greater efficiencies. Now is the time to act.
Aqua New Jersey Inc.
N.J. can't afford
Would we all like to pay less in taxes? Of course we would. But can New Jersey afford Gov. Chris Christie's proposed 10 percent income-tax credit program? No, and it is not even a close call.
The only thing the governor has proven is that he's even better than the Democrats ever were at fiscal gimmicks and robbing Peter to pay Paul. What New Jersey needs now more than ever is implementation of sound fiscal policies - not underhanded maneuvers designed to guarantee a second term for Christie and to lay the propaganda groundwork for a future presidential run.
In the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, the governor will balance the budget by underfunding the pension system by $2.5 billion, pushing $392 million in property tax rebates to the next fiscal year, swiping $295 million in N.J. Turnpike toll revenue, withdrawing $280 million from the state surplus and pilfering $142 million from affordable housing funds, to name just a few of his diversions. And the governor will do many of the same things in next year's budget.
Meanwhile, Christie publicly criticized and personally attacked Office of Legislative Services budget officer David Rosen when his budget forecast figures did not agree with the administration's. Anyone who follows state budgets over the years knows Rosen has a long history of being far more accurate than whatever administration is in power.
It's interesting how the governor blasts any municipality for exceeding the 2 percent budget cap he imposed on them, but his state budgets have increased far more each year. He also has more pockets to pick to generate revenue than municipal officials can even dream about.
Clearly this state has serious economic problems that simple common sense tells you should prohibit a 10 percent income-tax credit at this time.
EUGENE CALLAHAN JR.
Today's world requires
Thank God for cartoons, trivia shows, dancing, singing and, most of all, sports. These are temporary distractions from our troubled world today.
Who would have thought you could go to a movie and not come out alive? Or that your children could be killed in school? Or that you could participate in an American tradition like the Boston Marathon and get blown to bits?
But America has always been a strong country. We are the land of the free and the home of the brave. You can try to take away our dignity, but we shall survive and be stronger for our children and generations to come. Never underestimate America.