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De-program Belmar

One of the things I find most irritating about the Pringle administration is it’s enthusiasm for involving Belmar in state programs and grants. These programs are a significant cause of our astronomical state tax burden. Additionally, they damage the recipients’ autonomy because the state dictates all sorts of conditions on how the money is used. Their effect is to turn the towns into supplicants to the state. There is no pride in lobbying the state for handouts, there is only shame.

The reasoning goes that if the state is going to take money from our residents then it is only fair to try to get as much of it back as possible. There is some merit to this argument. Why should we pay for these but never receive any benefits? I have two answers.

First of all, I’d like to know where the current free-for-all will take us. Is there any possibility that the proponents and creators of of these programs will ever stop coming up with new schemes? Will the towns ever stop trying to justify grabbing as big a share of the loot as possible? Will we ever reach a point where we say we have created the perfect society and no more programs are needed? No. Never. It will only end with each of us being in the custodial care of the state, the ability to provide for ourselves having been gradually stripped away.

Secondly, do these programs even do us any good? Remember, the money is being spent by politicians, not by you. Some of the programs our Belmar politicians have involved us in are: Sustainable Jersey, Transit Village, Live Where You Work, Open Space, Mayor’s Wellness Campaign, NJ Cultural Trust, and Shared Services Study grants. Millions of dollars are taken from families and spent on this. Is it worth it? Is it worth it to you? Is being the resident of a “Transit Village” more important to you than paying your kid’s orthodontist bills? Is our “Cultural Trust” more important to you than your retirement savings? Is “Environmental Justice” (part of the agenda of Sustainable Jersey) more important to you than new tires for your car, or a new roof for your house?

Here is state program I would like to see. I would like an opt-out-of-all-state-programs program. Figure out how much the state spends per-capita on all programs that funnel money to municipal governments. Then allow towns to forswear all state aid in return for that amount being directly returned to each of that town’s residents. If the town government thinks any of these particular programs are worth the expenditure, let it come to it’s own taxpayers and make the case for the town paying for it itself. This way we could spend the money on what we really want, not what the state thinks we should have.

We are more intellegent than the state credits us with being. We are perfectly capable of allocating our resources (that we have created) ourselves without state supervision.

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