Saturday, March 20, 2010

Revenue Generating Idea

Reading the newspapers over the last couple of days since Governor Christie announced the state funding (I refuse to call it aid, after all it is our money) cuts to New Jersey's municipalities and school boards, you would think we were facing Armageddon.

We're not. We are confronting the fact that we can no longer afford, that we really never could afford but tricked ourselves into thinking we could, the excesses of government that we've come to think of as necessities and requirements.

County and municipal governing bodies, and school boards are suffering from the shock of a shattered fantasy of unlimited funds.

That the cries of "unfair" are coming from both the left and the right, from the unions and the suburban conservative activists, tells me that Governor Christie's cuts are probably on the mark.

To those on the left, the government workers and teachers unions, I really don't have anything to say. They more than any group got us here. They wouldn't listen to me anyway because I'm a wingnut. They should just keep spending their members dues money on shrill ads and use scare tactics on the kids they are supposed to be educating. The public is not buying it anymore and the tactics will backfire. The sooner they spend all their money on propaganda that isn't working the sooner they will shut up.

To my friends on the right who are screaming "the suburbs who elected Christie are getting screwed" I say, You just noticed? Of course we are getting screwed. We've been getting screwed for decades...since the state income tax was implemented, the Abbott and Costello decision and the sermon on Mount Laurel decision.

For people who espouse to be politically savvy, I'm amazed that you still can't count votes.

Christie has to get his budget passed by the Democratic legislature and the State Socialist Supreme Court. Do the math.

Our fiscal problems have been built over decades. They are not going to be solved in one budget cycle. Four cycles maybe if we're extraordinarily lucky, but definitely not one.

Here in Monmouth County we are fortunate. We have excesses that we need to cut. Excesses that we think are necessities but aren't. But we are in much better shape than many places.

I was talking with a lawyer who lives in Montclair (Essex County) yesterday. He happens to be a Democrat. He was praising Christie's leadership and bemoaning the fact that Montclair, a town of about 30,000 (half the size of Middletown) has 112 police officers and a paid fire department of about the same size. When you call the non-emergency police phone number the voice message tells you to hang up and call 911 if you have an emergency. It then says to press 1 to hire an off duty police officer. That is excess.

Still, we have excesses at every level of government here. We just can't see it yet because we think somethings are necessary that are not.

I'll offer some harsh suggestions to my friends who are grappling with budgets over the next few days and weeks. For today I'll offer a light hearted revenue generating idea that would work but I highly doubt any will take seriously.

This morning on I noticed this jersey shore moms (not to be confused with Christine Hanlon's GOP moms) posting about a 50 something Colorado couple that caught the attention of their neighbors while they were gardening in the front yard of their public housing complex wearing only thongs. Turns out the local anti-nudity laws prohibit only genital exposure. The couple was covered.

Just as March goes out like a lamb leading to April showers and May flowers, thousands of people who are like that Colorado couple start flocking to Monmouth County every year to visit Sandy Hook were there is a beach designated for them to let it all hang out. People drive hundreds of miles every weekend in the summer, from Maine and Virginia, to visit that beach. The parking lot for that beach is always to first to fill. I bet it will be half full today, March 20. When Sandy Hook closes because it is filled to capacity, often by 10 am on a nice summer weekend, you can often find some of those people on secluded beaches along the Shrewsbury and the Bayshore.

If managed correctly, designated bayshore beaches, from Aberdeen to Highlands, could generate more revenue than cell tower leases.

Beach badges wouldn't work, but ink stamps like the night clubs use would. The stamps would be more environmentally friendly than badges, another selling point.

You could charge a premium to curiosity seeking gawkers. $10 for a stamp on the glute and $20 for a stamp on the hand.

Labor costs would be minimal. There would be no cost for badge stamp checkers. Rather there would be a waiting list of volunteers for those positions. You might even get volunteer lifeguards. If the unions show up demanding prevailing wage, counter with only if they comply with the prevailing dress code.

You couldn't prohibit photography because of the 1st amendment. But you could require revenue generating permits. I don't think that such permits would generate all that much revenue because there most certainly would be more "No comment" than "Comment" shots available.

This would also be a boom to area businesses, creating jobs and generating sales tax revenue.

That's my revenue idea of the day. Now I have to run a few errands before the Highlands St. Patrick's parade at 2pm. If you're coming to the parade, keep your shirt on, please.


Anonymous said...

While a candidate, Chris Christie promised that he would not eliminate property tax rebates. Now that he is the Governor, he is proprosing eliminating the very rebates that he once promised to protect. Christie lied. We have Art Gallagher to thank for it.

stopthesocialists said...

Hey anonymous - time to put away the Obama/Corzine poster and come to grips with the fact that Christie promised to fix the financial disaster that is New Jersey and that is exactly what he is doing. The liberal Democrats who falsely claimed 'Bush lied" think that lightning will strike twice and are now trying to dust up Christie with the same jive. You'll have to do better than that to avert the avalanche that awaits you in November. And Art - don't you find it interesting that Democrat-controlled Montclair, with a population of 30,000 has 112 police officers and Middletown, with a population of around 70,000has, according to their newsletter, around 100 officers? What was that question, oh yeah, where in New Jersey is a town run better than Middletown?

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with what Chrisyie is doing at the State level except that there are a lot of other things that could be cut.

I just want Christie to:
1. Allow towns and schools to exceed caps with votrer approval. What is wrong with letting people vote on wether they want low taxes or lots of services?
2. Start eliminating mandate on local government.

Level the playing field in our negotiations with public unions.

stopthesocialists said...

No friggin kidding anon 7:59. Christie is doing all of the above.

Anonymous said...

No Christie did not lie. Jon Corzine lied about the debt the state is carrying. NO Rebates, NO choice..he is not going to borrow money to give a rebate, it will cost the taxpayers too much money. Example why give a 100.00 rebate that will cost taxpayers 100.00plus interest, plus the clerical cost to issue rebates all add to paying it back, Rebate money is borrowed money at this point and costs the taxpayers more than the rebate they would get.. Wake up NJ. Christie is Correct not to give rebates. It's saving you money at this point.

Anonymous said...

worst. idea. ever.

ITs bad enough we hae to pay for 98% of access to the ocean. Lets put a toll on rt 36 while were at it....

Anonymous said...

who need rebates - they were a gimmick only - and they had to pay for the printing and mailing ...unless we regain control over the school systems, property taxes will never be lowered.

Eliminate local school board powers and consolidate into a county wide system for business, administration, purchasing, negotiations and all legal matters. Keep local school boards to see that the schools are being run properly.

Revamp the funding methodology of education from a property tax to a commercial property tax (off the residential property tax), and have a county-wide education income tax (at a flat percentage).

Parents should pay for a portion of the security and maintenance costs only when their child attends public schools.

In order to avoid layoffs, why not seek to reopen contract talks with an eye towards either a pay freeze or, better yet, a reduction in salary like the rest of the real world is going through (if they have a job).

Anonymous said...

Stop the socialists,

You are wrong. He is not letting School Boards go to the public in there towns and ask for more money.

Here is the text of an email that was sent to all school business administrators by the County BA.

"A conference call was held this afternoon with DOE staff regarding the
budget approval process. At this conference call several issues were
brought up regarding those districts that will use automatic and
commissioner waivers to exceed the 4% CAP on the tax levy.

As a result of taxpayer concerns of higher taxes and the district's
concerns to produce a budget that is T&E we have been given the
directive to review again district budgets that were submitted and
approved that exceeded the 4% tax levy CAP. The county office will
review the budget in all areas to see if line item reductions can be
made to bring the budget to the 4% tax levy CAP.

Those districts that have yet to submit their budgets for approval
should make every attempt to submit a budget that is not over the 4% tax levy CAP."

You can not go to the voters without the approval of the County administrator. This punishes school districts that have been frugal as they do not have fat to cut.

As I said it is also undemocratic.

As to eliminating mandates and Union Negotiations. I keep hearing what you say but I don't see anything yet. All I see are cuts that are going to hurt academic programs in my school system