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Would You Buy A Fishing Lic.with No Guarantee on where the $$$ are going

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, A little bit Different Wording This Time..
On the last POLL,I asked-Would You Buy A Salt
Water Fishing License,if you knew for sure
the Money Would Go Back Into SaltWater Fishing
and Nowhere else.
And The Results Where:
YES-67% 86 votes
NO -33% 43 votes..
Now-
Would You Still Buy A SaltWater Fishing License
If You Had NO Idea where the funds were going ?
or the Money would just go towards the State of
New Jersey ?
 

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Member # 143

posted 06-22-2004 05:10 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Politicians and money, taxes, fees and saltwater fishing licenses equals more graft, corruption and payouts to fellow politicians.

Bad idea!!!!
 

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CHANG E THE WORDS HOW YOU LIKE BUT IT'S STILL A STINKIN tax!.......As lawmakers ride the gravy train, state's residents pay the freight

Published in the Asbury Park Press 9/21/03
Patronage, fat pensions, other perks all permitted

By PAUL D'AMBROSIO
INVESTIGATIONS EDITOR

The New Jersey Legislature has become a personal money machine for many lawmakers who parlay their public service into private gain, a Gannett New Jersey newspapers investigation found.

Gov. McGreevey delivers his annual budget message early this year to a joint session of the Legislature in the General Assembly chamber in Trenton.

Lawmakers have used their connections to land multiple government jobs, obtain lucrative no-bid contracts and fatten their state pensions, the investigation found.

Call it legislated greed.

It's all legal.

And it's bankrolled by you, the taxpayer.

New Jersey's laws, regulations and patronage practices provide state lawmakers with a grab bag of financial rewards, Gannett found.

And while many lawmakers exploit their positions to help themselves, their families and their businesses, the Legislature has rigged the state's political system to discourage good-government reforms, the newspapers found.

With all 120 members of the General Assembly and state Senate up for re-election in November, the Asbury Park Press and the six other Gannett New Jersey newspapers have spent the past five months investigating conflicts of interest, profiteering, pension-padding and nepotism among them. The investigation found that:

A third of the 120 lawmakers hold at least one other public job, from mayor to county employee. A quarter of all legislative spouses also have publicly funded jobs. Holding multiple government jobs inflates the pension that lawmakers will collect, enabling some to pocket $100,000 or more a year when they retire.

Legislators who hold full-time government jobs can legally skip work to go to lawmaking meetings, which can take up to more than two months.
Legislators are paid $49,000 a year for what is considered a part-time position. But state lawmakers legalized low-show government jobs for themselves two decades ago. A lawmaker who has a full-time job with a county, school district or municipality is legally entitled to leave that job at any time to go to his state job -- and still receive a full day's pay. At least a dozen legislators can take advantage of this law.

Behind the scenes, powerful unelected political bosses from the Democratic and Republican parties -- many of them beneficiaries of millions of dollars in government contracts -- work to re-elect their legislative allies and maintain the status quo in Trenton. These bosses raise multimillion-dollar campaign war chests for state legislators.

The $10 billion to $20 billion borrowed by government in New Jersey each year fuels both parties' political machines. Select lawmakers and politically connected law firms are routinely granted no-bid contracts, collectively worth millions of dollars, to handle the bond sales. The firms can then plow part of the proceeds back to the political parties through campaign contributions.

Nepotism is not only legal in New Jersey, it is practiced by almost one in five lawmakers who have put family members on their payrolls. For example, Democratic Assemblyman Gary L. Guear of Mercer County hired his wife to a $55,000-a-year job to run his district office. Nepotism is banned in Congress and 19 states.

A third of the lawmakers gained their seats through political appointments to fill vacancies, rather than an election. The power of incumbency is so strong in New Jersey that about 85 percent of all incumbents who seek another term are re-elected.

Lawmakers operate almost free of ethical scrutiny because there are virtually no laws to prevent conflicts of interest in the state Senate or Assembly. A member who could profit from a bill can absolve himself by simply sending a note to the secretary of the chamber saying he can still cast a fair vote. All the notes are tucked away in paper files in Trenton, which are beyond the reach of public inspection by all but the most determined voters. The lawmakers' own ethics oversight committee has been called a "damage-control" board by its former chairman.

The public financial disclosure forms lawmakers are supposed to fill out each year are so vague they get an "F" from the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington, D.C.-based not-for-profit government watchdog group. The forms, approved by the Legislature, are riddled with loopholes that allow members to hide their business clients -- and even the names of spouses on the public payroll.

User fees that have been raised in state parks, including Island Beach State Park in Ocean County, will help fund lawmakers' pet projects.
"I am gravely concerned about (the use of New Jersey) government as a rainmaker. It is a bipartisan problem," said Rep. Robert E. "Rob" Andrews, D-N.J., who unsuccessfully sought his party's nomination for governor in 1997. "It is endemic to New Jersey in a way I don't think is true in other places. . . . It is the deliberate and systemic use of public entities to create business opportunities for private individuals."

Why this happens
It doesn't have to be this way.

Other states have taken steps to hold their lawmakers to higher standards and to remove the profit from public service.

California has banned lawmakers from holding other government jobs. Washington state has created tough financial disclosure laws overseen by an independent commission. And Kansas has an ethics commission that works independently of the lawmakers.

To understand why the state Legislature is a money mill, consider the financial dealings of some of its most powerful leaders:

State Senate co-president John O. Bennett III, R-Monmouth, a lawyer whose billing practices in Marlboro are being investigated by federal and state grand juries, has made millions of dollars for his law firms over the years through dozens of no-bid public contracts -- many of which paid him a personal salary.
Because he has held so many public jobs through his private law firms, Bennett's state pension will likely top $100,000 a year -- nearly twice what he is paid as a senator -- when he retires.

Sen. Wayne R. Bryant, D-Camden, co-chairman of the powerful Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, which helps determine how $24 billion of your taxes are spent, has made a career out of helping himself and his family dip into public funds and jobs. He even sponsored a law that financially benefited his law firm.
Bryant collects $167,000 a year from four taxpayer-supported positions. His wife, his son, two brothers and a sister-in-law earn another $518,000 from government jobs.

Bryant sponsored a law that forced large cities to alter their budget cycle. The resulting switch compelled the cities to seek long-term loans, or bonds, to cover the cash shortfall, lest they go bankrupt. Some cities hired Bryant's law firm in the 1990s to handle the legal paperwork for the budget switch, which netted his firm more than $79,000.

Assemblyman Joseph J. Roberts Jr., the Democratic majority leader from Camden, drafted a bill and saw it signed into law, enabling a company run by his political mentor -- former Gov. James Florio -- to win a no-bid contract from Camden. The contract could be worth millions of dollars in fees if Florio's company collects $103 million in back property taxes from Camden landowners.
Not all lawmakers turn their positions into a for-profit venture.

"Most Legislators use the power that they have for appropriate purposes and do not use it for their own enrichment," said Assemblyman Joseph R. Malone III, R-Ocean. "That's the story that never gets out."

But Malone said that when one legislator does "something stupid" the media gives voters the impression that "everybody must be doing something stupid."

Twenty-five of the Legislature's 120 members have eschewed other jobs and dedicated themselves to working full time at their legislative duties. But the Gannett investigation found that these members are among the least-effective at getting legislation passed.

Other lawmakers have no obvious business interests.

But because New Jersey's financial disclosure laws are among the nation's weakest, it is unclear how many other members serve without conflicts of interest or potential conflicts.

Taxpayers always pay
New Jersey's patronage system has been refined over the years to allow legal, yet ethically questionable, behavior by those who have found novel ways to reap windfalls for themselves, their families, their businesses and the party bosses who helped get them elected.

The negative effects are undeniable.

New Jersey's state and local governments have become bloated, costly and inefficient as they try to support the weight of those taking advantage of the system.

At the same time, a lawmaker getting much of his income from a single municipality may put that town's interests ahead of all the voters in his district or the state.

Who pays for all this?

You do, one way or another.

Take Sen. Bryant, for example. After the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey created a part-time, $35,000-a-year public relations job for him in March, Bryant inserted $2.3 million for his new employer in this year's state budget, which was passed in July.

That same $24 billion spending budget raised user fees in state parks, such as Island Beach in Ocean County, to help pay for the massive spending increases.

Fishermen and visitors to many state parks will have to collectively pay $1.3 million more per year in fees.

"It doesn't shock me," said fisherman Robert DeLeonard, 46, of Seaside Park, who now has to pay $70 more a year for a permit to drive his truck on the sand in Island Beach. "It makes me feel worse about the situation in Trenton."

Recent public opinion polls have placed the Legislature on the bottom rung of government, even below Gov. McGreevey whose administration has suffered several ethical gaffes in the last year.

Just 32 percent think the Legislature is doing a good job, according to a Quinnipiac University poll this summer.

Meleah Rush, director of state projects for the Center for Public Integrity, said it's important for elected officials to disclose their financial interests to the public "because what (citizens) don't know can hurt them."

State lawmakers "hold our lives in their hands," said Rush, who has reviewed legislative disclosure forms nationwide. "They make decisions everyday concerning our pocketbooks, health issues, telecom issues, anything you can think of."

Do party bosses rule?
As Rep. Andrews sees it, New Jersey is not so much a thriving democracy as it is an oligarchy run by a select few party bosses, campaign donors and political leaders.

Andrews acknowledges that his political career was born of the Democratic Camden County political machine now run by George E. Norcross III, one of the state's most powerful fund-raisers and political bosses. After being elected to Congress in 1990, Andrews said he managed to separate himself from the Norcross machine by taking on his own fund-raising activities and building a wide coalition of interest groups, such as labor, education and civil rights.

Andrews said he divides patronage into three categories:

Common and acceptable patronage: A lawmaker hires his campaign manager to run his district office because of the trust that has developed between the two. The state-paid job is necessary, and the lawmaker needs to have someone to turn to for advice.

White collar patronage: Millions of dollars can be squandered when a politician gives no-bid government contracts to campaign donors, such as those from law firms. Necessary work could be done in a competent fashion and at a fair price. But the system also is open to abuse through make-work contracts or inflated prices, Andrews said.

Rainmaker patronage: This is the use of government to benefit private clients or to generate new clients. "It is far more insidious because it is harder to find," Andrews said. "Say I'm in the state Senate; you can't become a judge without me. A great way for you to become a judge is to refer a lot of your clients to me. So, I become a rainmaker for my law firm and you can become a judge.
"That is what has hyperventilated New Jersey politics for the last couple of years," Andrews said.

In a $365 billion state economy, with more than 1,200 independent governmental bodies, the temptation to dive into the vast pool of money from private or public sectors "is irresistible to most people," he said.

Such greed flourishes because New Jersey state politics has been grossly noncompetitive, Andrews said.

Of the 40 legislative districts in the state, perhaps five or six incumbents are in truly competitive races this year. That means for the remaining 85 percent to 90 percent of the seats, the winner already has been decided in primary elections that have low voter turnout and are usually ruled by party leaders, Andrews said.

Rider University political science professor David Rebovich said he sees about five or six districts as competitive, but he views New Jersey as a state of competing interests rather than a place controlled by a few political bosses.


Voters weary, apathetic
It's the perception of special influences controlling candidates that seems to gnaw at voters.

"They see money (spent by big party donors) and draw the lines between the dots," said Rebovich, who is the managing director of the university's Institute for New Jersey Politics. "When they see money and public officials, they assume the process isn't especially representative. The other side of the coin is that people allow this to happen as well."

So, when a lawmaker gets a public contract or another government job, a good number of voters may at first be outraged but then become desensitized.

"People say this is the same lawmaker during the campaign season who promised to work for efficiency and effectiveness in government, claimed that I and my district are his first interests," Rebovich said. "Yet when we see the facts, that this lawmaker and so many of them have turned government into a mini-business or industry for themselves and their families, that is really the killer."

The public sees this as government serving the economic interests of their lawmakers, he said.

"It sort of becomes professional wrestling -- politics as entertainment as well as someone's business and industry, and not necessarily that of the people," Rebovich said. "So they tune it out, lest their blood pressure goes through the roof."

So what happens to the political rainmaking system?

"It continues and gets worse," he said.

The ultimate check and balance on our leaders -- throwing the bad ones out of office -- is muted by political apathy, he said.

"When Democrats and Republicans are part of the industry, this breeds apathy," Rebovich said. "The initial response (from voters is) both parties are the same; what does it really matter? We really can't effectively fight the system."

Assemblyman Jack Conners, D-Burlington, said he has seen apathy firsthand in his campaigns.

"I had some people tell me, 'You're all alike,' " said Conners, a retired banker who was first elected in 1997. "I never understood, when I knocked on doors while I campaigned, why some people wouldn't have time to talk to me. Me and the other 119 other legislators affect the lives of 8.5 million people."

Conners said all legislators seem to suffer for the misdeeds of a few.

"Occasionally there is a bad apple in the barrel, and that is what you hear about: 'If there is one, there must be more,' " Conners said. "Maybe there are."

Michael Vail, a certified public accountant, registered Republican and an active voter from Aberdeen, knows firsthand the discontent brewing among voters.

Rising property taxes, a major issue the Legislature has failed to address over the years, have chewed into his family's income.

He paid $4,600 in property taxes in 1994 when he bought his home. He now pays $6,000 a year.

"In the future, real estate tax charges will exceed the principal and interest on the mortgage on the property," said Vail, who has two young children with his wife.

Lawmakers have failed to address the issue because "it's a 'nothing to gain' situation," he said.

A new and larger home for his growing family may be out of reach since he has seen property taxes top $10,000 a year on other homes, he said. "It's just crazy."

Voters like Vail may be ready to revolt over taxes, but Vail said he's not sure when that will happen.

"I don't know where that point is. But, I am a hell of a lot more aware of it today than I was five years ago," he said. "It would be safe to say we are closer to that point than we were, but we are probably not there yet."

--------------------
Take a kid fishing.
Capt. Block
 

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UPCHUCK votes YES. Unless they price me out?
How much ?
 

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If I have to buy a license to SW fish, then I would buy a license. I wouldn't like it but I would buy it.
 

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This is that double edged sword question again ,, i don't want a saltwater license but would i not fish because i needed a license,, the answer would be obvious ,, buy the license ,, but i don't want to ,, no matter where the money goes
 

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I GOTTA buy one in FLA, if I GOTTA buy one here I will, but I won't like it. Rather put my $ in reef funds etc, where we know what it was for.
 

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Make it know to them crooks (Pokiticans) If the say yes? We'll just say NO at election time when they try to run! Get enough families together and boaters, then they'll get the message!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
We will wrap this one up...
84% said NO they will not buy a License
if they didn't know where the funds were going..
 
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