Philadelphia Reflections

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

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Philadelphia Politics
Originally, politics had to do with the Proprietors, then the immigrants, then the King of England, then the establishment of the nation. Philadelphia first perfected the big-city political machine, which centers on bulk payments from utilities to the boss politician rather than small graft payments to individual office holders. More efficient that way.

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 on Proposed Economic Zones

There's an idea that politicians are all negative characters, saying nasty things. That's probably because the public only listens to them during the last week of a campaign when campaign advisors urge them that negative works best. So, here's a positive idea. And it comes from Camden County Republicans.

There's no doubt New Jersey is in a fiscal squeeze. Our property taxes are second-highest in the nation, but our municipal bonds are regarded as risky unless we raise taxes or cut spending. If we raise taxes, people will move to other states. In fact, we mainly haven't lost population because New York City is more heavily taxed, so New Yorkers move to New Jersey. Philadelphia has lost 40% of its population since the peak, and if you ask your neighbors, many of them moved from Philadelphia. Camden City just moved away, period. The people you don't talk to are the ones who have moved from New Jersey. So we are afraid to raise taxes, and we are a little afraid to cut them for fear the municipal bond market will strangle our borrowing power. Here's the proposal.

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Governor Chris Christie

While we continue with Governor Christie's efforts to cut spending, like getting rid of those 800 paid Committees, and seeing if defined benefit pensions can be converted to defined contribution plans, and the like, let's cut taxes where it would help the most. The Camden County Republican proposal is to cut taxes in defined enterprise zones. If we can attract some new businesses into those zones, they and their employees would pay taxes, and the gamble might pay for itself. It might not, of course, but that's the risk any businessman takes when he makes an investment.

Right now, Exit 4 on the Turnpike is not in Legislative District 6, because the borders get shifted around by gerrymandering. But it's close, and most of the business activity it has created is within District 6, along the route toward Philadelphia. Most of the theory of business clusters suggests that a cluster of business activity is most sustainable when it contains a diversity of industries, but it needs a dominant industry to get started. Tom Booth suggests medical supplies already have a big start in our geographical area, and I can agree that eighty percent of the pharmaceutical industry is located within a hundred miles of us. Burlington County has demonstrated that you can keep everybody happy if you segregate commuters and farmers, which means helping the environmentalists and the businessmen at the same time. It really can be done and is being done by some of our neighbors. Not a bit of doubt you have to be careful about creating winners and losers, because that's where the graft comes from. But there's no doubt if you succeed, you will succeed big.

Cutting (some) taxes and helping the deficit at the same time. Just think of that. And think about 13% of unemployment in Camden County. We have to do something about that or it will destroy us.

Originally published: Thursday, September 26, 2013; most-recently modified: Friday, May 17, 2019