I am a first-time candidate, running for State Assembly to represent the 21st District. One major reason that I decided to run for office, was to do something about the rising cost of living here in New Jersey. I believe we can and must reduce the financial burden on the voters in our district

I want this state to be a place my children can come home to, and can afford to raise their own families. To do this, we need solutions. I want to share mine with you.

First, we must fully fund our school formula — something Governor Christie has not done for the past eight years. Our property taxes reflect the fact that burden is on us to fund the schools, town by town, while the mandate comes from the state. This makes no sense. 

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Second, we must coordinate and consolidate services amongst municipalities. One of the major reasons New Jersey’s cost of living is so high is that we rely on town–by-town services, rather than the more common county-wide system. Consider, for example, that each of the sixteen towns in this district owns a $600,000 street sweeping machine that is used only a few days a week — it is wasteful and inefficient. 

Finally, we must make sure our property tax burden is fairly shared. Property owners with non-conforming exemptions should not be paying non-profit rates for for-profit businesses. People who actually farm for a living should be the only ones who take advantage of farm-assessment rates. Investors who own hundreds of foreclosed properties should not be able to avoid paying taxes on them.    

To deserve your vote, candidates should be able to clearly state their plans for your hard-earned tax dollars. Right now my Republican opponents are campaigning on a vague promise to make New Jersey “affordable.” They give no explanation of what affordability means to them. They offer no proposals to reduce our cost of living. 

Well-meaning voters could easily think that Nancy Munoz and Jon Bramnick have their best interests at heart. But they have been given absolutely no basis for that belief.  

Lacey Rzeszowski

Lacey Rzeszowski is the Democratic candidate for State Assembly, Legislative District 21