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Guest of the Stable Redux: Justin L. DePascale

Justin L. DePascale is back with more on taxes and the surplus with his perspective on the failure of the Mayor’s administration.  

To my fellow Hobokenites,
A week ago, I wrote a letter in which I spoke of a 20 million dollar budget surplus.  This letter drew some criticism on the validity of this monetary figure.  With this in mind, I began a more in-depth review of the three budgets that comprise the Hoboken tax base.  For those of you who do not know, the final tax bill in Hoboken is made of three tax levies combined.  The City of Hoboken, County of Hudson, and the Hoboken Board of Education tax levies make up the final amount.  After reviewing this information, I have come to a new conclusion.   I believe the budget surplus is just below 20 million, but could have been upwards of 27.5 million dollars. 
I know what the skeptics are saying, he must be crazy, but let me explain.  First of all, I am not a finance major in any respect, but as a police officer I have worked as an investigator for a number of years. 
In its simplest form, the City of Hoboken’s tax base has been pillaged by the County of Hudson as well as the State of New Jersey without so much as a quibble by Mayor Zimmer.  Shouldn’t we fight harder for our money?
  • The Hoboken share of Hudson County taxes have been increased by approximately 6 million dollars this year to an approximate total of 45 million dollars, per year, under Mayor Zimmer.  The total amount of tax increase paid to the County of Hudson for this budget year is approximately 12 million dollars, which means Hoboken alone has shouldered 50% of this total increase, unfair to say the least
  • State aid to Hoboken has been reduced by approximately 1.5 million dollars this year
First off, the readjustment made at the county level, although constitutional, has been generously allowed to occur by Mayor Zimmer without even appearing at a County Freeholder meeting. 
As reported by the Jersey Journal on June 26, 2010, “It’s the annual county milking of Hoboken.  Freeholders approved a budget allowing Hoboken to pay the lion’s share of the tax levy.”  The paper goes on to say, “The mayor missed a chance to publicly blast the county administration at Monday’s freeholder meeting. In the past, even the older Russo and Mayor Dave Roberts showed up to take their public swipes at the county officials over the pillaging of the Mile Square City.”  Why did Mayor Zimmer not try to save millions of tax payer dollars at the County Freeholder meeting? 
As Mayor Zimmer so proudly stood with Governor Christie, Hoboken was relieved of approximately 1.5 million dollars in State aid as mentioned above.  I am glad to see the Mayor has a good relationship with the Governor, but to appear with him at the announcement of the Governor’s plan to cap tax hikes to 2.5% is conflicting.  I believe this is a confliction because, while supporting the Governor’s 2.5% initiative, the Mayor allowed the County of Hudson to raise our county share of taxes by approximately 15% without a fight. 
Now the Zimmer administration is cutting the Hoboken Police Department as well as other City workers to create a fiscal diversion.  This diversion has been created not out of a fiscal necessity, but a political one.  The budget recently introduced by Mayor Zimmer, as she put is, “fully funded and gimmicks free,” but as I see it is full of public omissions and diversions. 
In conclusion, again I state the budget surplus should be in the area of 27.5 million and should be comprised of the current 20 million and the 7.5 million that was so cavalierly allowed to be taken from the Hoboken tax base.   
Thank You

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