Thursday, November 5, 2009

NJ Requires Divine Intervention

Fixing New Jersey's tax burden will take a higher power's help

Republicans and Democrats are spinning their own interpretations of what Tuesday's elections meant on the national level. Let them spin.

The real answer will depend on what the victors will actually be able to do with their victories.

We are especially interested in how our neighbor, New Jersey, makes out.

It is easy to make fun of New Jersey. Many New York comedians do it all the time. But with more than 8.5 million residents, most of the ribbing about the state rolls right off.

But one thing that New Jerseyans haven't ignored is their status as the most highly taxed state in the nation, especially the property tax. And they let Gov. Jon Corzine know they weren't about to put up with it any more. He was soundly defeated him in a three-way race Tuesday.

Gov.-elect Christopher J. Christie campaigned on the theme of change, re-enforcing New Jerseyans irritation with their high property taxes, their bloated government and Gov. Corzine's inability to do anything about them.

But Mr. Christie was weak when it came to explaining what he was going to do about the high taxes or how he was going to lower them as he promised. The campaign really was a classic example of seeing which candidate could raise rankles of the most voters.

Republicans everywhere took the Christie victory as a sign that their party is on the way back. Not so fast.

New Jersey is a huge, complicated state, ranging from the tomato farms of Cumberland County to the New York City suburb of Hudson County.

Changing the way it operates -- with its multi-layered governments from boroughs to townships to cities and counties, powerful public employee unions, and the heavy school district tax levies -- will take a miracle -- and then some.

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