Christie Gaseous – NJ Taxpayers Nauseous

On July 1, 1990 the the New Jersey sales tax increased from 6 percent to 7 percent, and was expanded to include items such as soap, detergent, toilet paper and cigarettes. Immediately afterward and for the rest of his term, then Governor Jim Florio, was excoriated.

Governor Chris Christie yesterday justified raising the gas tax by 260% effective tomorrow in conjunction with lowering the sales tax at a later date (to 6.5% as of 1/1/17 and 6% as of 1/1/18) with more of his mindless bravado and dodgy numbers:
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Dopey and Sleepy on Tax Policy


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And that’s how tax policy is formed in New Jersey – under deadline based on dodgy numbers with no time (or inclination) for even the slightest review which, in this case, would show:
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Brexit Takeaway

Britain’s vote to exit the European Union (EU) is, like practically every issue filtered through the disinformation media structure we get here, still confusing to me.  Was it really racist?  That looks like what created wisdom will have it be.

Apparently there were some people who had complaints about the EU and they put together a widely circulated documentary film pushing for an vote to exit. After viewing it I found some eerie similarities to my own experience of government:
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Stalling NJ Pension investment Plan

njspotlight reported:

It looks like New Jersey’s public-employee pension system will enter the next fiscal year without a new investment plan in place thanks to a lingering disagreement over how heavily to rely on hedge funds. The deadlock on the hedge-fund issue won’t bring investment activity for the $71 billion pension system to a halt when the new fiscal year begins July 1, but it will prevent in-house fund managers from enacting the fine-tuning they’ve recommended to keep up with changing financial markets over the next 12 months.

Based on past practice this may be for the best.  For example:

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Christie’s Property Tax Plan – More Dodgy Numbers

He teased about it last month:
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My first thought was that the big idea for lowering property taxes was to eliminate county government in New Jersey but that would cut back on pay-to-play too much for Christie’s tastes so it won’t be that.

Instead the plan, as announced this afternoon and presuming that Christie now has practical control over the state Supreme Court, is to…
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The Real Issue In N.J.s Pension Crisis – Ignorance

The latest edition of TheBackgrounder podcast delved into two sides of what to do about the pension crisis.

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First, N.J.State Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Little Silver) explained his recently unveiled 3-point plan to solve the pension crisis and, later in the podcast, New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) President Wendell Steinhauer and NJEA Executive Director Ed Richardson make their point that state payments to the pension liabilities should be a top priority in the budget, tantamount to paying debt services.

The scary (as in ‘these guys are really supposed to be solving this problem when they know so little about it’) excerpts from the podcast follow:

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Alternative Visium

As of June 30, 2015 the New Jersey Division of Investment reported having $79 billion in assets of which $22 billion was in Alternative Investments. Tracking from August 31, 2012 the performance of those Alternative Investments in general and one investment in particular we see:

visium

Visium Balanced Offshore Fund, Ltd appeared on the books in August, 2012 for its $100 million purchase price and, assuming the standard 2/20 fee structure for hedge fund investments, would have cost the fund almost $17 million in fees.

What has New Jersey gotten for their $117 million?  For valuation purposes they got to say the trust had over $145 million in assets as of the last valuation date.  In reality…..

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