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New Jersey State Assembly District 13

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    Serena DiMaso

  • Allison Friedman

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    Gerard Scharfenberger

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    Barbara Singer

Biographical Information

Please indicate your top three state priority issues and explain how you would address them.

What, if anything, do you propose to address concerns regarding property taxes?

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

My top three priorities are property taxes (see below), affordable housing, and education.

The true housing crisis we face is managing the housing stock we already have. We need to ensure that these homes continue to give those that need it a chance at home ownership. And when they no longer need it, they can move on to “regular” homeownership.

As for education, we need to properly fund education, especially special education. The best way to achieve that is through comprehensive pension and health benefit reform.
We have to rein in spending and address longstanding debt issues. However the largest driver of property taxes is our financially unstable pension and health benefits system. We need to revamp our pension and healthcare systems with comprehensive reform so we can offer real relief to the taxpayers.

I believe that properly utilized incentives produce positive results. We should incentivize businesses to provide education and training opportunities to employees which will in turn allow for job growth in their industry by expanding our skilled workforce.
Campaign Address 7 Bailey rd Aberdeen nj 07747
To make NJ a safe place, you can raise a family while earning a living wage and can stay to watch your grandchildren grow. 1. Safety, continue to create legislation that creates responsible gun ownership. For example tracking the sale of body armor, ammunition and increase communication among agencies regarding background checks and gun ownership. 2. Work toward responsible regionalization by increasing shared services and consolidating one or two school districts. 3. Shift tax incentives to small businesses and working families, who keep their money in New Jersey.
Property taxes need to stabilize, for education that includes responsible regionalization and limiting tuition on out of district placements, thereby reducing extra ordinary aid needed by school districts. Encourage municipalities to share services and enter cooperative agreements for services such as garbage collection. The annual re-assessment that takes place in Monmouth County has hurt many towns within LD13, as clearly seen with the “fair” funding formula for schools and will continue to, it should be ended. Look for other areas of revenue, such as the estate tax.
The middle class and small businesses must be supported. These businesses provide our young with job training and experience and jobs. The State should revisit the amount of red tape a businesses have to navigate when coming to NJ, work with landlords to be business friendly. Reaching out to other States other countries in a effort to bring companies to NJ.
Campaign Address Scharfenberger for Assembly P.O. Box 999 Edison, N.J. 08818
1) High property taxes (see below) 2) Business friendliness (see below) 3) Easing the redevelopment/repurposing of already developed sites. Overdevelopment is a major concern in New Jersey. As the most densely populated state in the union, the costs associated with overdevelopment place yet another burden on taxpayers. Streamlining the redevelopment process and incentivizing the reuse of brownfields and grayfields sites is one way to utilize existing infrastructure and expand the commercial tax ratable base while keeping the economy growing and protecting open space.
There are two parts to this issue – short term and long term. In the short term, there are several legislative avenues that can be examined. First, steps should be taken to make it easier for towns/counties/boards of education to share services. It is difficult for civil service and non-civil service towns to enter into money-saving agreements to share services. Second, the Energy Receipts Tax should be returned to the municipalities. This was the case until 2004, when the state began taking payments that once went directly to municipalities. Third, any unfunded mandates should be reviewed and where plausible, funding should be provided or the mandate eliminated. In the long term, an alternative should be found other than property taxes for being the main funding source for education and essential services. Lessening the burden of property taxes will improve the climate for business, slow the exodus of the middle class from New Jersey and help increase revenues in other areas.
Stop burdening businesses with endless regulations, taxes, fees and government mandates. Streamline the process for start-up businesses to make it easier for entrepreneurs to get a business off the ground. Eliminate duplicative government requirements (inspections, fees). Re-examine job-killing legislation like the $15 minimum wage and mandatory sick time to help all businesses, particularly those who work on a narrow margin. Extend incentives to areas of the state that have been heretofore omitted from participating in the State program. Communicate with businesses of all types, sizes to hear firsthand exactly what is holding them back from growing, flourishing. Government doesn’t create jobs, it fosters an environment that is either conducive to business development, or stifling for both start-ups and existing businesses. New Jersey’s reputation for being militantly anti-business not only discourages business development and growth, but hinders attraction from outside of NJ.
Campaign Address 5 Deerfield Rd. Holmdel, NJ 07733
Priorities include jobs, safety and the environment. To keep the State economy vibrant, we need to support job creation and maintenance. Small/Medium businesses need a streamlined process to get up and running. On going costs can be addressed with purchasing consortiums as a vehicle for businesses to obtain stronger purchasing power for items like insurance and payroll costs. Having myself done many forms of the work/parent combination, more businesses need to provide employees with access to the flexible schedules they need for their families and still be productive employees. Fire safety is a common problem in many towns due to lack of volunteers. It is time to provide towns with assistance in recruiting volunteers, providing incentives, addressing regionalization and moving to paid departments if needed. We need to stay vigilant with utility project proposals and other development by first closely analyzing necessity and environmental impacts at the outset.
The Board of Education budget is often the largest part of a resident's property tax. The State needs to address education not only from an educational viewpoint, but from a financial viewpoint. Smart regionalization provides cost savings, especially with populations that require large financial input to provide the needed services. As a community activist, I know there are programs and foundations that can help financially on local issues such as land preservation, that aren't taken advantage of. A central office to assist local governments in finding these resources and applying for funds would help be a net cost savings. In connection with re-developing large vacant commercial properties, there would be additional revenue to the town allowing the overall property tax rate to be lowered. In my town of Holmdel, the Lucent/Bell Labs property was re-developed into Bell Works and the town is now looking forward to the increased taxes from getting that property up and running again.
In addition to what was stated about small and medium businesses above, there are many vacant large stores which the state should promote and provide incentives to re-development. With this effort, larger businesses can be brought in and vacant lands can remain undeveloped. Additionally, there should be communications with existing and new businesses about giving back to the local community by providing volunteer on the job training to our youth, thus creating a skilled work force for the future.