Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Golan Cipel, taxes and the debate

Golan Cipel -- you remember him, the "straight" man who essentially forced then-Governor Jim McGreevy to resign over their affair (and don't forget the sexual harassment allegations and how McGreevy forced Cipel into participating in the affair even though he was not gay (ha!)) -- was mentioned in last night's debate between the GOP nominee for New Jersey Governor, Doug Forrester, and his Democrat opponent, Senator Jon Corzine. From an unnamed political strategist quoted at

"Forrester was clearly the stronger of the two candidates on stage tonight. He won the debate on points, but, unfortunately, political debates aren’t won on points — they’re won on perceptions, and expectations. * * * The one memorable line of the night from Doug: “If he’s [Corzine] a tax cutter, then Golan Cipel is a homeland security adviser.”

Hahahahahahaha (emphasis is mine). Funny, but also pretty accurate. I don't think our dear Senator has been on the forefront of cutting taxes and, given the state of New Jersey's fincances (i.e., a transportation trust fund that is just about bust), I think Jon will fully support the 15 cent gas tax that the Democrats plan to jam through the legislature in a lame duck session this fall. But what other taxes and fees will Governor Corzine support if he wins? As we all know, he will not make a "no new tax" pledge.

But will he be honest about it? Remember, Jim McGreevy prided (no pun intended, actually) himself in not raising taxes (except on people making more than $500,000 a year). He was able to make such a claim because instead of raising taxes, McGreevy (i) used the issuance of debt to pay for general government services (only making it tougher for New Jersey in the future by having to pay interest and principal back to its bondholders; thankfully the New Jersey Supreme Court has outlawed this practice for the future) and (ii) raising every single "fee" the state charges (i.e., your drivers license costs more now as does your car registration) as well as adding a few new ones (if you've purchased a car since 2004, you'll notice that there is now a tire fee assessed by the state -- something like $7 for each tire on a new car; brilliant!). I can only imagine what "fees" Corzine will dream up. I think someone should ask him that very question.

Update: More on the tax side here

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