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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Funny Money

Last Thursday, George Dougherty, a former city attorney, spoke at the Trenton Council of Civic Associations. The thrust of his talk was that state government instituted a few schemes for muncipalities but gave no funding. Governments are notorious for doing this be it state or federal. The City of Trenton got stuck with rules regarding the establishment of pay scales as well as tax caps. Yet no one, be it city officials or tax payers stood up and screamed. Everyone just let it happen. That left Trenton in a bind. Trenton began to spend more than it took in; the difference was usually made up by state government. That worked until the state ran out of money. Then Chris Christie took an ax to the state budget. Trenton is now on the verge of hysteria. Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know how else to say it - WE HAVE BEEN LIVING ON A CREDIT CARD AND THE STATEMENT CAME IN THE MAIL!!! The state can't help us anymore. The first thing I would like to see is an ACCURATE inventory of property in Trenton that is tax exempt. The operative word is, "ACCURATE." None of this, "The state owns 50% of the property in Trenton, etc." The city owns a lot of property - like the schools, Cadwalder Park, police stations, empty libraries etc. The county also owns property as does the federal government. Yes, there are a lot of nonprofits here in Treton, but many of them rent office space from private parties who do pay taxes. We seem unable to accept the fact that there is no money; there is little chance of getting any. Let's start with an accurate inventory. Then let's stop bitching about how much Trenton does for the state; we do damn little. I realize this is an unpopular opinion, but I also realize it is impossible to make one dollar cover two dollars in expenses. I'm off to hug my air conditioner.

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