Monday, November 26, 2007

Could Garrett Get Karcher-ed?

Here's a thought I had while looking at the Record's list of cut your own Christmas Tree farms: Could Representative Scott Garrett be subjected to the same sort of attack that helped bring down State Senator Ellen Karcher? Part of what undid Karcher was a tax break she receives for having her property designated as a Christmas Tree farm, contrasted to her votes raising taxes.

While Garrett has never declared income from the farm on his House Financial Disclosure forms (over $200 from any source must be declared), both Garrett's supporters and detractors seem to be of the impression he sells the $500 worth of Christmas trees a year in order to get the property tax break. Garrett doesn't seem like the type to risk an $11,000 civil fine for each report falsified, plus fines from the House itself, so I don't think folks should jump to conclusions about the status of Garrett's property taxes. Plus, people have to decide if this is the sort of thing we want in campaigns.

Regardless of whether or not he gets a break, Garrett's voting record and philosophy do in fact lead to higher property taxes. For instance, Garrett has been on record since at least 2002 as saying he felt that the Department of Education should be eliminated. While it varies on a town by town basis, 8.9% of education funding comes from the Federal government. So, in essence, Garrett's been committed to raising property taxes an average of 8.9% since 2002.

That last bit may be a bit of a stretch for folks, but people need to consider when Garrett talks about eliminating Departments and programs like Head Start; states, counties, and towns will be left to fund them on their own or end them. When Garrett opposes SCHIP funding, leaving the state to cover those children already covered, the money has to come from somewhere. In our state, that means property, income, and sales taxes.

It's something to think about.

1 comment:

Jill said...

That Garrett's federal votes directly impact property taxes is something that none of the candidates who have run against him in recent years have even touched, let alone hammered as they should. Garrett is a Republican whose ideology means more to him than representing his constituency.

Americans seem to think that things like schools and roads are free and that "federal spending" means "Cadillac Welfare Mothers". You can thank Ronald Reagan for that one. Someone needs to educate people about how every year we in NJ get less back for our Federal tax dollars than any other state in the union, and it drops more every year.

People think they want "less government" until they start realizing what it means.