Philadelphia Reflections

The musings of a physician who has served the community for over six decades

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Fisher on Running For Office
Last night, I was honored to receive the Republican nomination for a seat in the state Assembly, to represent the district where I have lived for over fifty years.

Fisher's Platform

Property Taxes

To my astonishment, the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer (owned by the Camden County Democratic chairman) carried a picture of my opponent on the front page of a paper speculating about whether America is going to bomb Syria or go to war. In addition to the news, a columnist described my opponent's platform against an outsider who hadn't even been nominated. Even more astonishing, he was mainly complaining about his property taxes, over which he must have had a considerable influence in the past. Since property taxes are public news, I looked up his own. My secretary tells me they are less than she pays for her bungalow in a nearby town, and a quarter of what I pay. It's a well-established principle of law that a person can have more than one residence, so maybe he is paying more at some other address, but this is what they say he pays at his home, much further away from crime-ridden Camden than I live. In case he wants to know, I paid $30,000 for it, many years ago, and now the taxes are almost that much, every year.

Actually, the local taxes are twice as high as they seem. The state legislature pays the town an equal amount, which of course ultimately comes from state income taxes. Several years ago, the Legislature gave us this break, but it's just a shell game. You take it out of one pocket and put it into another, noisily calling it a big saving for the taxpayer. The State also took over the fringe benefits for municipal employees, so most of the municipal tax is hidden, and the state pension fund is what is threatening the state with bankruptcy. This is pretty serious business, and only one person is in a position to do something meaningful about it -- the Governor. The New Jersey Constitution gives unusual power to the Governor, if he has the guts to use it, and if the Legislature lets him. Christie seems to have the guts. So, much depends on the majority leaders of the two houses of the Legislature, one of which is my opponent. No wonder he is making a show of his shock, shock, at the tax situation. If he really cooperates because of public opinion, the remaining question is what secret price he will demand, in return for his show of affection. If you are looking for who caused this mess, look at Corzine and McGreevey -- that was really quite a pair. My job, and perhaps the only one, is to spend the Democratic majority leader in the election on November 5. After that, I won't have much effect on lowering taxes as a single Assemblyman, but Christie can do it, and maybe I can help.

The other thing I can help with is sorting out the Obamacare mess in New Jersey. I'll take that subject up in a later blog. Meanwhile, I'm boning up on dredging the Delaware River, fixing the sand dunes at the shore, and the New Jersey Constitution -- just in case someone asks a question. I might even have a look at the budget, but for that, I would need the help of an accountant who understands the tricks in it.

Originally published: Friday, September 13, 2013; most-recently modified: Friday, May 17, 2019