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Archive: February, 2012

POSTED: Monday, February 27, 2012, 10:24 AM
General Motors' world headquarters, located in Detroit, may well have gone dark without the federal bailout, which also benefited Chrysler. (Carlos Osorio / AP File Photo)

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Inquirer Editorial Board @ 10:24 AM  Permalink |
POSTED: Monday, February 27, 2012, 5:00 AM

Each day, the Inquirer Editorial Board posts a new poll on its Say What? blog, as well as in that day's printed edition of the newspaper. Just since the summer, more than 100,000 votes have been cast by phily.com readers. To the right is our latest poll.

Cast your vote now.

And see earlier polls here

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 5:00 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, February 27, 2012, 3:05 AM
Gov. Christie

It seems like Gov. Christie used an old twin-lens reflex camera to take his budget pictures this year. That could explain his parallax view of New Jersey taxes and revenue projections. He wants to cut the income tax 10 percent over the next three years, but it’s property taxes that most residents want to see reduced.

The income- tax cut will result in a barely noticeable $80 put back into the pocketbooks of the average $50,000-a-year earner, and $7,000 for a $1 million earner. A recent Rutgers University poll showed 76 percent of New Jersey residents would rather see their property taxes reduced. And most of those respondents didn’t even know how little the income-tax cut would mean for them.

The fastest way that the state could cut property taxes would be by increasing school funding, which accounts for the biggest hunk of property owners’ tax bills. If he used the $183 million from the income-tax cut to help schools, property owners might feel some relief. They need it. Middle- and upper-income earners have seen a 20 percent net increase in property taxes becauuse Christie cut their Homestead Rebates.

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 3:05 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, February 27, 2012, 3:00 AM
Gov. Christie

A 10 percent income-tax tax cut for every working New Jerseyan will help families keep more of what they earn. It will make us more competitive with other states to attract more new jobs to New Jersey. Lower tax rates will relieve overburdened middle class families. They’ll keep job creators here. They’ll begin to bring us into a more competitive situation with our neighbors in the region.

Now personal income taxes, of course, are not the only excessive burden that has been foisted upon our citizens by government. Property taxes have been just as bad. They grew by 70 percent in the decade before I was elected, in some cases driving people out of their homes, even out of the state. The property-tax cap we enacted is beginning to work. We’re finally starting to win the battle. We’re beginning to bring property taxes under control.

To help those senior citizens and middle-income families hardest hit by property taxes, the state has long had a property-tax rebate program. Now last year, we were able to double that property-tax relief over the prior fiscal year. Senior and disabled homeowners with incomes up to $150,000 received double the benefits of fiscal year 2011 — and they received it directly as a credit on their property-tax bill. No more gimmicky checks from Trenton politicians at election time using borrowed money to try to buy your vote. Non-senior homeowners with incomes up to $75,000 also saw their property-tax relief doubled over the prior year.  In this budget, in addition to maintaining the benefits of the 2 percent cap, we are maintaining direct property-tax relief at last year’s increased levels. There will be no cut in property-tax relief in this budget.

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 3:00 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Sunday, February 26, 2012, 3:00 AM
President Obama presents the Medal of Honor to Dakota Meyer, who saved 36 people in Afghanistan. (OLIVIER DOULIERY / Abaca Press, McClatchy Tribune)

When a Philadelphia City Council candidate last year was accused of wrongly claiming he served as a U.S. Army Special Forces officer, it was entirely fitting that he had to weather voters’ scrutiny concerning the allegation.

But what if David Oh, now a duly elected councilman, had been clapped in handcuffs over those charges? That’s the dilemma posed by the Stolen Valor Act, a 2006 federal law whose constitutionality was argued Wednesday before the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s a law that dangerously challenges a core democratic freedom — freedom of speech — and all in the name, ironically, of honoring the very soldiers who risk their lives in defending Americans’ consitutional rights.

Responding to instances where persons claimed to have earned medals and other service-related achievements, Congress made it a crime to lie about military honors. That’s what a California politician did when he claimed he was a discharged Marine awarded the Medal of Honor. His eventual exposure as a flagrant liar, who was convicted under the federal law and fined $5,000, set the stage for the high-court appeal.

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 3:00 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Sunday, February 26, 2012, 3:00 AM
Workers pack jeans for Overstock.com. Traditional retailers say online shopping no longer deserves a sales-tax break. (GEORGE FREY / Bloomberg News)

Tired of being outsold by online retailers, earthbound merchants have convinced legislatures in five states to force Web-based sellers to collect and remit sales taxes. Twenty others are working on similar laws.

Now, it’s time for New Jersey to join the trend and stop forgoing hundreds of millions of dollars in Web-derived tax revenue that it can use to meet its budget while protecting local businesses. Online retailers have an unfair advantage over florists, appliance stores, clothiers, music and gift shops, and other local businesses. Internet merchants can offer customers a virtual discount by not collecting sales tax.

Pennsylvania decided its sales- tax language was strong enough to force the collections, and online retailers will begin levying the 6 percent tax in September, bringing in as much as $400 million in revenue annually.

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 3:00 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Saturday, February 25, 2012, 5:00 AM

Each day, the Inquirer Editorial Board posts a new poll on its Say What? blog, as well as in that day's printed edition of the newspaper. Just since the summer, more than 100,000 votes have been cast by phily.com readers. To the right is our latest poll.

Cast your vote now.

And see earlier polls here

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 5:00 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Saturday, February 25, 2012, 4:30 PM

Each day, the Inquirer Editorial Board posts a new poll on its Say What? blog, as well as in that day's printed edition of the newspaper. Just since the summer, more than 100,000 votes have been cast by phily.com readers. To the right is our latest poll.

Cast your vote now.

And see earlier polls here

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 4:30 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
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The Inquirer Editorial Board's Say What? opinion blog showcases the work of the editors and writers who produce the newspaper's daily and Sunday opinion pages.

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