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VOTE411 Voter Guide

39th Senate District

The NJ General Election will take place on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Voters will head to the polls to select a Governor, State Senator, and State Assembly Members, as well as a number of county and local elected officials.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Gerald Cardinale (Rep)

  • Linda H. Schwager (Dem)

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    James Tosone (L) Management Consultant

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Biographical Information

New Jersey has some of the highest property taxes in the nation. What, if anything, do you propose to lower property taxes?

New Jersey's state pension system has recently been named the worst-funded state retirement plan in the country and is arguably one of our largest financial problems. How do you propose to address our state's pension issues?

How can New Jersey meet our energy needs while protecting our environment? For example, would you support energy conservation, expansion of renewable energy projects, hydraulic fracturing, and pipelines, etc?

What would you do to promote job growth in our state?

Please indicate three additional state priority issues for you (not already listed in this questionnaire) and explain how you would address them.

Suburban NJ towns have been unfairly targeted by activist courts through rulings like Abbott, “affordable housing” quotas, and more that have driven property taxes up and pushed homeowners to the breaking point. We must reverse Abbott and repeal the forced housing quota. We must revamp the state’s unfair education funding formula that also shortchanges Bergen and Passaic Counties. Finally, citizens must be given the right to vote to keep or remove judges on a periodic basis. This will allow the public to make their voice known and decide whether or not they agree with those jurists who have stepped beyond ruling on the law and into making it. If we do this, we can help property taxpayers while still ensuring that we are providing a quality education to all of New Jersey’s children.
Until we stop digging a deeper pension hole and make our state an appealing place to stay/settle for the employers and businesses who drive our economy, we will be in a vicious cycle that requires more tax dollars to fill an ever growing hole. Step one is to replace all future pensions with a defined contribution system rather than the defined benefit systems that have helped cause our problems; this will stop the hole from getting deeper. Step two is to grow our economy through common sense tax reform and by making our regulatory climate more consistent. Only economic growth will give us the revenue needed to meet our financial problems.
I am a strong believer that NJ has the technical know-how within its businesses and universities to develop feasible and affordable alternative energy sources. We, as a citizenry and government, must encourage them to do so both for our environmental and economic futures. However, as these energy sources are developed, we must continue to improve the traditional sources needed to operate today. What we cannot do is ask more of already stressed taxpayers to meet what may be unrealistic, or even unattainable, goals. The private and education sectors can and must be the incubators of these new technologies.
As stated above, NJ must become a place that is attractive for employers to stay or settle. Currently, we are not – which is why so many companies have left our state for other, more employer-friendly environs, and why so many others never settle here. NJ should undertake a complete review of our taxation, education, and regulatory structures then compare them to the states we are losing to in the competition to attract employers, and undertake the reforms necessary to make us competitive again.
Health care costs: we must allow NJ residents to buy insurance across state lines and reform our draconian medical malpractice laws. By introducing competition to the insurance and reducing frivolous lawsuits, we can achieve savings.

Social Service worker salaries are inadequate and we must fund these services more equitably, especially in light of the growing opioid epidemic.

Limiting special interest involvement in the legislative process and campaigns. Currently, groups like public employee unions use the power of their massive campaign funds as a bludgeon against any legislator who dares support reforms needed for the greater good of the state but that they oppose.
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Website www.tosone4njsenate.com
Twitter @TosoneSenate
Qualifications/Experience I had a 30-year career at a major healthcare company as Director of Business Technology. I now consult with organizations to help them enhance their innovation, collaboration, and communication skills
As candidate for Senate, I can indirectly lower local property taxes, by reforming big-ticket spending items in the State budget: State Pension system (see my response to the Pension question) and reforms to State-level school funding. School reforms: 1) Freeze state-level funding at 2015 levels 2) Allocate state-level funding equally among NJ students, which will increase funding to parents in District 39 3) Have the money go to the parent, who can choose to use funds for traditional public school, charter school, or private school 4) Allow tax credits for school-related expenses on state income tax 5) Allow tax-exempt Education Savings Accounts SAVINGS: 1) Use savings to reduce the state income tax burden 2) Use increase in District 39 funding to reduce school portion of property taxes
To lower cost and reduce risk to taxpayers: 1) End double-dipping. If you are collecting a state pension, you can’t also be collecting a state salary. 2) All new public employees would be enrolled in a defined-contribution retirement fund (e.g., a 401(k)). 3) Current employees age 45 and under would be transitioned from the traditional defined-benefit system to a defined-contribution retirement fund. They would receive an initial deposit in their account, the amount based on their average salary and years of service. 4) Current employees over age 45 and current retirees would remain in the current system. SAVINGS: Use savings to begin paying down New Jersey’s massive debt burden.
1) Market- and technology-based solutions are the best path to meeting our energy needs. We should eliminate all subsidies to all energy producers, regardless of the type of energy they provide. 2) Market- and technology-based solutions are also the best path to protecting our environment. We have a tort system to hold companies liable for specific damages they might cause. We also have voluntary environmental groups, like The Nature Conservancy, which use private donations to acquire, steward, and preserve important lands—in a way that is far superior to those lands managed by the government.
1) Eliminate special tax breaks to companies and use the revenue to lower the corporate tax rate for all companies. 2) Eliminate burdensome regulations that discourage businesses from hiring. 3) Eliminate occupational licensing requirements that do not protect health and safety, but serve instead to stifle competition and raise prices. 4) The tax reductions mentioned in my other answers will serve to keep existing workers from leaving the state and attract new workers.
FIX TRANSPORTATION FUNDING AND CONTROL COSTS 1) Prioritize repairs over new roadway or transit projects 2) Right-size the Staffing 3) Employ a Merit-Based Project Selection Process 4) Stop diverting money from the transportation fund to the General budget SAVINGS: Use savings to reduce the state gas tax burden

RE-LEGALIZE MARIJUANA AND END THE FAILED WAR ON DRUGS •Restore the right of people, who are causing no harm to others, to use marijuana •Curtail abuses of our civil liberties (pretextual traffic stops, asset forfeiture, coercive plea bargains) associated with the failed war on drugs SAVINGS •Use savings from state police, prosecutors, courts, and prisons to reduce state sales tax burden •Use savings at the county and local level to reduce county and local portions of property taxes

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