Korngut for county exec

Atlantic County residents have an important choice to make this November: Will they stay stuck in the past with incumbent Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, a former teacher who has served as administrator for the past 20 years, or move boldly into the future with Susan Korngut, a Northfield City Council member and attorney?

During a pre-election candidates’ forum earlier this month, I heard Levinson describe his past accomplishments with the practiced eloquence of a longtime politician. Meanwhile, Korngut showed she had a big vision for the future of Atlantic County and the energy and determination to make it happen. As a public servant and campaigner, Korngut has reached out to people from all walks of life and overflowed with innovative ideas.

Korngut grew up here, left to study law and returned here to practice. “But I’m the exception,” she said, noting that most young people, given the choice, do not return to Atlantic County after graduating from college.

As the mother of three young adults, Korngut’s words hit home for me. It’s unlikely that my children or their classmates will return to this area unless more jobs are created here in a greater variety of industries.

Korngut would like to revitalize and diversify the economy by making it a hub for cybersecurity training and by making it more friendly to tech companies and startups. She envisions creating a “Silicon Shore” to match the West Coast’s Silicon Valley. What about Levinson? He said he was already working on diversifying the local economy.

Is the status quo really the best we can do? If so, the brain drain of young people from this area will surely continue. And without an influx of new energy and ideas, how can the area hope to transform and lift itself up financially?

This November, we have a rare opportunity to choose the best possible leader to bring Atlantic County into the future. Let’s not miss it.

Ellen Strenger

Linwood

Backs vet deduction for continuing care settings

New Jersey Public Question 1, the Property Tax Deduction for Veterans Extended to Continuing Care Retirement Communities Amendment, is on the ballot as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on Nov. 5.

The New Jersey Constitution was amended in 1947 and for the first time it provided a property tax exemption to veterans who were honorably discharged from active service in a time of war. This was amended in 1953 to include widows of servicemen killed during active duty during a time of war. A second amendment was made in 1963 completely changing how the benefit was to be calculated. Instead of reducing the assessed valuation of the property by $500, it became a straight-forward $50 deduction.

In 1983, it was amended to change the term “widow” to “surviving spouse.” In 1988 it expanded eligibility to veterans living in a cooperative or mutual housing corporation. Lastly, in 1999, a constitutional amendment expanded the amount of the deduction from $100 to $250 in $50 increments over three years. Veterans received $100 in 2000 and the increase capped out at $250 in 2003, where it has remained.

Question 1 would extend the $250 property tax deduction that veterans receive to continuing care retirement centers on behalf of the veterans living in such facilities. The ballot measure would require the continuing care retirement center to provide the $250 to an eligible veteran, or an eligible surviving spouse of a veteran or soldier, as a payment or credit. Continuing care retirement centers that are tax-exempt would be ineligible to receive the deductions.

This amendment restores the property tax deduction that veterans lost when they moved from their primary residence to the continuing care retirement centers. Some veterans have made this move due to their inability to maintain their homes, to receive continuing care or both. Being in these situations due to poor health or becoming restricted by virtue of growing older is no reason they should lose the property tax benefit.

Please support veterans by voting yes on this public question on Tuesday.

Robert E. McNulty, Sr.

Egg Harbor Township

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