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VOTE411 Voter Guide

34th District Assembly {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

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.
  • Candidate picture

    Tafari Anderson (Rep) Technology Director

  • Thomas P. Giblin (Dem) Labor Leader/State Assemblyman

  • Sheila Oliver (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Nicholas G. Surgent (Rep) Financial Reporting Associate

Change Candidates

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.

Qualifications/Experience Tafari Anderson is a public servant committed towards helping energize the economy, reform education, and address the high taxes that continue to have an impact on all residents of New Jersey. An advocate for innovation, community, and prosperity, Tafari’s ideas can improve the lives of everyone throughout the state. If elected as a member of the New Jersey General Assembly, Tafari will seek to help create an economic environment that will focus on expansion, sustainability, and progress. He believes that through collaborative partnerships we can build a strong, business-friendly model that keeps companies here in the state and creates more jobs. New Jersey’s taxes remain the highest in the country. Tafari will use a common sense approach to help implement viable solutions that can stop the bleeding. Some of Tafari’s tax-lowering strategies involve creativity, as well as the re-examination of many previously “talked about” approaches that have not been used. He feels that it is imperative to further study the idea of shared services at the municipal and county levels, revamp one of the state’s biggest liabilities– the bloated, wasteful pension system, and explore ways that an improved state economic engine can help the overburdened taxpayer while creating jobs. A proven leader in the area of education administration, Tafari has worked tirelessly at the local, county, and state levels to help our children, parents and teachers by helping to advance learning in the classroom.
New Jerseyans pay the highest property taxes in the country due to the legislators who put themselves first and their inability to grow our economy. Patronage politics is destroying our state and it is imperative that we move away from this unfavorable practice that is responsible for the mass exodus of millions of people in New Jersey. In order to reduce the property tax burden, it is important that we revisit the shared services model that some municipalities are already successfully implementing to help stabilize taxes. While shared services alone is not enough to solve the problem it is a well-needed start.

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The current New Jersey state pension system is essentially bankrupting our coffers producing a shortfall in the hundreds of billions of dollars. While the post-retirement health care benefits for current retirees must be honored by the state, we need a complete overhaul of the pension system for the future. We must first start by looking at where the pension system gives away too much. While many of New Jersey’s residents are paying for their benefits, there are some inequities when compared to pension recipients. I would like to examine ideas such as competitive pricing so that public employees can purchase their health care at lower costs.

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Now more than ever, it is more important for Americans to stop their dependency on foreign oil and seek alternative options for American energy. However, it is imperative that we be extremely conscious of preserving our ecosystems as well as our standard of living. In order to achieve these means, we must invest extensively in energy research that will additionally move our education system and our economy in parallel upward mobility. New Jersey lost many of its large innovative industry partners due to high taxes. I would like to see us bring more pharmaceutical, technology, and eco-friendly energy companies to New Jersey where together our state can help pave the way as a strong leader for the nation regarding environmentally-conscious energy alternatives.
In order to promote employment opportunities in Clifton, Montclair, Orange, East Orange, and all of New Jersey, our elected officials need to put their constituents first. These legislators should begin by lowering taxes on income and businesses across the board. There also needs to be a massive reduction of government regulations and mandates that are holding New Jersey back. This will make our state more economically viable.

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1. Special Needs Community New Jersey has made great strides in providing services for the special needs community, but there is still much more to do. We need to strengthen the implementation of programs and oversight of special education students in conjunction with standard education. Tougher laws need to be implemented that will address and monitor private transportation companies that transfer disabled students to and from home. After the age of 21, adults with special needs still require special programs and should not be treated as outcasts of society.

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Qualifications/Experience Elected to the Assembly in 2005, seeking a seventh term this November. Essex County Freeholder from 1977 until 1990. Essex County Surrogate from 1990 to 1993.Business Mgr. of Operating Eng. Local 68
Continue efforts to implement shared services and cost efficiency on the state and local level. Restore Energy Receipts revenues to municipalities. Full funding of school formula and continued funding of existing property tax relief programs. Again, New Jersey MUST look to the Federal Government for much needed additional and deserved financial support. Pass the millionaires tax. New Jersey has never received a fair share of returned Federal dollars and we are still at a point where that MUST change in order to provide lower property taxes.
A stronger bi-partisan effort must be made to address this problem. New Jersey went from having one of the best funded state retirement plans in the country to one of the worst-funded in less than 20 years, how this happened is a matter of public record. Recent efforts to improve funding are a step in the right direction but much more needs to be done, we must avoid short-term fixes. It is now obvious that it will be up to the next governor and his or her pension commission leaders to exercise the fiscal discipline, improved expertise and management skills needed to restore the fiscal health of the state pension system. I pledge my support to their effort.
As I have previously stated, solar, wind and tidal energy efforts must be expanded and implemented. Greater energy efficiency must be encouraged with the creation of a system that would help residents,businesses and local entities to conduct energy audits and fund efficiency improvements.
Richard W. Roper, former director of the Program for NJ Affairs at Princeton Univ. W. W. School provided direction that I support: "From 1995 to 2013 more than 85% of New Jersey jobs came from home-grown startups and expansion of in-state businesses, and only 4% moved here from other states. With its skilled workforce and other amenities, New Jersey could be the home of the next Amazon or Google by developing more on-ramps to business growth. Pro-small business policies could involve a range of things, like creating ways to help universities move applied research to market, propelling small business development by organizing investor networks." We need smart growth solutions and public investment in small business and continue to help NJ residents gain necessary education and job skills.
The 800 characters provided in this portion of your questionnaire limit my ability to provide an intelligent response. After the November election New Jersey's future will be guided by a new governor and a newly elected state senate and assembly. If re-elected I am pledged to do all that I can to address the priority issues that confront New Jersey: The Transportation Trust Fund, drug abuse, minimum wage, Atlantic City, fair taxation, common core/school testing, pipeline expansion/oil trains, education funding, homeland security, infrastructure improvements, public transportation,increased federal allocations to name just a few. In my opinion this can only be accomplished by a governor who will work with the senate and assembly with a common goal of success.
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Qualifications/Experience Graduated from Drexel University in 2016 with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Business Administration with majors in Finance and Business Analytics. Currently pursuing a Master's of Science degree in Accounting at Seton Hall University. Employed as a financial reporting associate at Prudential. Serves as a trustee at Saints Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Chairman of the scholarship committee for the Clifton Republican Club. Coordinated the after-school tutoring program at the James L. Wright Recreation Center in Philadelphia while attending Drexel University.
New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the country and because of this, residents are fleeing New Jersey faster than any other state. To lower these property taxes and keep New Jersey families together, a few issues need to be addressed. First is reforming the school funding formula. Put in place in the 1970s, the funding formula has not been fully updated since then. In the last 40 years New Jersey has changed significantly, it’s time the funding formula reflected that and allocated money properly to help bring down property taxes. Secondly, sick pay abuse must be stopped. Taxpayers are put on the hook for nearly $2 billion every year. If this continues, property taxes will continue to rise, pushing more and more people out of the state. We cannot allow this to happen.
Pension abuse needs to end. Hundreds of public employees are collecting high salaries from one job and are receiving retirement pay from another job at the same time. This practice is unfair to taxpayers and the pension system as evidenced by our high taxes and poor ratings for state retirement plans. In addition, the state could end its relationship with its current pension fund managers and switch to firms that are willing to negotiate a much more reasonable price. Lastly, moving employees into cash balance plans will greatly improve the pension system. Moving to this system will not take away from current workers. It will help build a more sustainable pension system that will not put the financial future of our public employees at risk like the current pension system does.  
Protecting our environment is a vital issue in New Jersey considering the state ranks first in population density. To protect our environment and citizens, renewable energy projects should be taken as they will provide New Jersey with jobs and help preserve our beautiful state. Pursuing these environmental-friendly opportunities will not only help job growth but more importantly they can help reduce greenhouse emissions, the use of hazardous material, and conserve our natural resources. New Jersey has the opportunity to lead the nation, it’s an opportunity we cannot afford to squander.
In terms of economic growth, New Jersey ranks dead last. In terms of taxes, New Jersey ranks first. This is no coincidence. To boost the state’s economy and bring in new jobs, taxes and senseless regulations must be cut. Look at New York State, the state has had an economic boom because taxes were cut which invited businesses to move to New York and thrive.

New Jersey is next to New York City and Philadelphia, there is no reason for the state to be last in economic growth. A low tax environment will invite businesses to move over to New Jersey bringing high-paying jobs for New Jersey residents.
Transportation – New Jersey deserves its fair share of Port Authority funds. New Jersey commuters working in New York must pay taxes to both states. That money should be diverted from New York and should be used to fund New Jersey transportation projects.

Veterans – New Jersey’s veteran unemployment rate is higher than the national average. This can be reduced by promote the hiring of veteran and streamline the certification process for those with marketable skills.

Audit Trenton – New Jersey’s taxes are the highest but our infrastructure is crumbling. The state needs to know if the money it is spending is being used wisely and appropriately. To do so, a complete audit of the state must be done to identify points of government waste and get money back in the taxpayer’s pocket. logo


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