The 4th of July is far more than hotdogs, fireworks, and swimming. It’s a time to reflect upon the sacrifices our forbearers made so that we would be free, that liberty would reign among all.

Foremost among those liberties was economic freedom, often summarized in the phrase: “No taxation without representation.”

Unfortunately, our economic freedom is very much in peril. Puerto Rico is essentially bankrupt. The Virgin Islands may soon follow. Illinois’s debt ratings have been slashed to near junk, and unpaid bills total over $14 billion. Our Federal debt has nearly doubled to $20 Trillion in the last nine years. No economist believes those trends are sustainable.

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New Jersey is in very difficult straits, too. Its public  pensions are massively underfunded, and our politicians are loathe to come up with concrete plans to remedy.

Here in Summit we are very proud of our triple A credit rating. But, ultimately our footing is no better than the ship we stand in, and Summit and its taxpayers must ultimately backstop our State’s financial responsibilities. Indeed, the auditors of the Board of Education have required a notation in our financial statements of our contingent responsibility for the pension obligations of BOE employees.

Evaluate each candidate this election season with a simple question. Are they more apt to exercise fiscal restraint, look for the most efficient approach to each problem, and treat the taxpayer’s dime as if it were their own? Or, are they inclined  to say tax my neighbor or the next generation, we are owed this new goodie, and appeal to the short term desires of their supporters?

I am proud of my financial record as Board of Education President, two time chair of the Operations Committee of the Board of Education, and three time member of the Board of School Estimate, as all budgets have come in below the mandated “cap”. Yet such fiscal discipline has had no adverse impact on the quality of our educational system; we were recently ranked quite highly in the national media for quality of our programs.

If elected as the At Large Candidate to Common Council,  I would bring this fiscal experience and diligence to the issues that face our great City.

I wish you and your family a most enjoyable 4th of July!

David Dietze is the Republican candidate for Summit Common Council, At-Large.