Dear Editor:

Democrats Linda Stender and Jerry Green need to answer to the taxpayers for their failed policies and their 117 tax increases which have made New Jersey one of the least affordable states to live in.

Despite its relatively small geographic size, New Jersey has more than 600 school districts, 566 municipalities, 21 counties and dozens of “authorities” that collect public taxes and fees to provide similar services. I do not believe that people should have to pay for ineffective, inefficient overlapping layers of government. Instead, We the People should be able to keep more of our hard-earned money and be served by a government that is both efficient and effective.

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I support the efforts by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick who sponsored legislation to lower property taxes, fees and tolls by “addressing the root causes of what makes these costs so high in New Jersey.” They have bills to reduce and streamline governments via consolidation and shared services.

I will support reforms to New Jersey’s income tax structure which is noncompetitive, as well as measures to repeal unnecessary taxes and fees. New Jersey, for example, is one of two states with two different “death” taxes, allowing government to take an excessive portion of people’s life savings, family business and wealth or forces grandparents to leave their families behind for other states that make more economic sense.

Specific legislation that I would support:

• Permit state aid to fund start-up costs for local shared services projects.
• Phase out estate tax over five-year period.
• Make New Jersey a more viable place to stay for retirees by increasing the amount of certain retirement income that may be excluded from gross income under the New Jersey gross income tax.
• Support more equitable distribution of state income tax funds to offset direct local funding of public education through property taxes.
• Support constitutional amendment to establish a 2% cap on annual appropriations increases for certain State government spending.
• Eliminate loopholes in 2% cap as it relates to debt service.

I am asking for your vote on November 3rd. By working together, we can make New Jersey an affordable place to "live, work and retire."

William “Bo” Vastine
Candidate – NJ Assembly
Legislative District 22