Remembering About John Bennett What Art Gallagher Has Forgotten

By Tommy DeSeno

Dear MMM readers,

I have nothing against Christine Hanlon.  I understand she has come up through the ranks as a boots on the ground fighter and I’m down with that.  If she becomes Monmouth Chair and needs me I’ll be there for her.

But I must confess County politics is not my brand of Tea Party.  It embodies clientelism. I say that not to down the good people involved – it is designed to be clientelism.  I can’t imagine a local system that wouldn’t work that way.   So I watch from a distance, rooting for the Republican side, and serving when asked.

I’m compelled to write now due to the recent treatment of John Bennett.  In 2003 he was attached by a Camden County hydra.   That’s why he lost.  He suffered no ethical or criminal lapses (as the Press was forced to later print – one time).

What concerns me is that this website and some others are forgetting what went down in 2003.  To attack John using the hyperbole of Norcross warriors and Skip Hidlay fans is to use the weapons of an enemy to defeat a loyal friend.

I’ll hold no grudge if John loses this race to Monmouth people over Monmouth issues.  But to continue the Democrat attack that was started in 2003 to beat him is unfair and irresponsible.  It invites the Democrats to target more of our good people.  Let us not do their work for them.  Let us remember what went down in 2003 (the following was printed in the triCityNews on late October, 2003):

Camden’s Political Boss, The Asbury Park Press and Swaying Monmouth’s Elections

O, it is excellent to have a giant’s strength, but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant.  William Shakespeare

The people of Monmouth County are under attack. A two-headed beast from Camden County is stealing away with our sovereignty. We must make a fight in our own defense for the sake of self-determination. Self-determination is why we fought the Revolutionary War; to govern ourselves, so not to be governed from afar.

Your attackers are stealthy. They won’t let you know what’s happening until it’s too late.  First examine the attack, and then join many of your Monmouth County neighbors in a grass roots effort to defend yourself.

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Posted: June 11th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Christine Hanlon, John Bennett, Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Fake Solution to Fake Farms

The bill, S589, that Senator Jennifer Beck and Senate President Steve Sweeney have sponsored to address New Jersey’s “Fake Farms” will not close any fake farms and will not increase property tax revenues.  It will create new bureaucracy on the state, county and municipal levels of government.  It will increase the costs of municipalities evaluating what is a farm and what is not a farm.

New Jersey’s farmland assessment law dates back to 1964.  It provides that properties of 5 acres that generate revenue and payments of $500 from crops or livestock be assessed as farms for property tax purposes.  Properties over 5 acres must produce $5 per acre to qualify under the proposed law.  $.50 per acre for wetlands. Dogs are excluded as livestock, President Obama’s childhood dietary habits notwithstanding.

S589, let’s call it “Karcher’s Law,” would increase the minimum level of revenue a “farm” must produce to $1000.

Beck used former Senator Ellen Karcher’s use of the farmland assessment law as a major issue in her 2007 campaign to replace Karcher in the Senate.  Karcher classifies 6 acres of her 9 acre Marlboro home as a Christmas tree farm, saving $14,000 in property taxes.

I can see the campaign literature now.  “We ended fake farms by doubling the required production of these so called farms.”  Gullible homeowners will nod and be grateful that their property taxes increased only 3% while the lawyers, lobbyists, rock stars and politicians who avoid tens of thousands in property taxes send in their campaign contributions.

Products that cost $500 in 1964 would cost $3,711.05 today.   500 of today’s dollars would have bought you $67.37 of merchandise in 1964.

Clearly, increasing the required revenue generated from a “farm” from $500 to $1000 will not end the abuse. Increasing the required revenue to the inflation adjusted $3,711.05 will not end it either.

There is a provision in the proposed law that creates a State Farmland Evaluation Advisory Committee comprised of the Director of the Division of Taxation, the Dean of Rutgers College of Agriculture and the Secretary of Agriculture.   The committee will conduct periodic reviews of the minimum farm revenue and payment requirements.  Maybe Sweeney and Beck are counting on the bureaucrats to come up with an equitable solution to the problem.  Not likely, but we can’t say for sure as neither Senator returned a call asking for an explanation of the bill.

There is another provision of the proposed bill that eliminates the “roll back tax” for fake farms that are declassified.  Under the current farmland assessment law, properties that are declassified as farms are subject to retroactive property taxes at a fair market valuation for a number of years.   The proposed law would only tax declassified farms at fair market value going forward, so long as the property owner continues their fake farming.  Maybe this is the real intended teeth of the proposed bill.  We’ll ask Beck or Sweeney if either of them calls back.

S589 was passed by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on Thursday and sent to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Hopefully the Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee, of which Beck is a member, will amend the bill so that it really does eliminate the practice of middle class homeowners subsidizing hobby farms of wealthy and connected landowners.


Posted: May 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Jennifer Beck, Property Taxes, Stephen Sweeney | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »