Sen. Beck Keeping Watch on the Economy

first_imgBy Jody CalendarEATONTOWN – Monmouth County’s economy is recovering at a faster pace than the state average and Fort Monmouth is considered the best recovery from a closing in the nation.But byzantine regulations have slowed homeowners from recovering from Super Storm Sandy, residents are flocking to Florida to avoid the state’s draconian estate tax laws and the casinos are blocking the economic recovery of Monmouth Park and “gaming” the state, Sen. Jennifer Beck, R-16th, said in a wide-ranging discussion with businessmen this week.Beck promised the gathering of the Eastern Chamber of Commerce Business Network Breakfast meeting yesterday at the Sheraton Hotel, here, “I’m on it” but recognized that she may face fierce opposing opinions and interests.She urged those in her district who are still having trouble with Sandy recovery of their home or business to call her office.She said she had a team of “incredibly smart young people” who will help expedite solutions.Beck is angry that casinos are moving operations 9 miles from the New Jersey border but want to be subsidized in Atlantic City “and are crying poverty when they are making a mint. And those are your tax dollars.”Beck said the casino industry’s insistence that Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands not be allowed gaming licenses was frankly absurd and self-serving.Admitting that she went head to head with Gov. Chris Christie when he wanted to close Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands, said, “He and I went at it.“Thirty two gaming casinos are amassing on New Jersey’s borders, she said. “The casinos are playing us. They are savvy, savvy businessmen. The sad thing is those 10,000 people out of work from the closing of the four casinos and another is possibly closing which will mean a loss of another 3,000 jobs.”That affects Monmouth Park as well as Monmouth County businesses, she stressed.Beck said she also opposes raising the gas tax to fund the Transportation Trust Fund. Her calculations suggest the tax would have to be raised 22 cents a gallon, which, she said, is not viable.“Anyone who drives Rt. 66 knows it needs work, which is money,” she said. “Should (the Trust Fund) be funding sound walls? We have to look at what we’re funding.”She’s also concerned that “droves” of residents “which are tracked by data” are moving to Florida to avoid tax on retirement funds, inheritance tax and estate tax.“There’s a serious debate because some people believe that persons of means, who have more than $675,000 don’t care about those taxes but it’s clear they are going to other states for 183 days – it’s happening so we don’t benefit from the taxes at all,” said Beck, who is on the budget committee.The good news is that Fort Monmouth is developing well and transitioning into private ownership. Paterson Hospital was privatized, the marine facility has been privatized, the golf course will be, the state police took over the firing range and there are many other negotiations.What Beck is most excited about is her meeting with Sen. Joseph Kryillos, and Sen. Tom H. Kean Jr. with a Princeton-based concern to discuss the development of a technical center that would partner with a car marker to develop driverless cars and the facility would encompass 83 acres.“High paying, high-tech business,” Beck said. “Subaru is moving its headquarters to Camden and we hope to approach them.”She also stressed that the state’s economy has improved with the state dropping from 10 percent unemployment to 6.6 percent and Monmouth County at 5.5 percent.Beck is urging towns to consolidate to save tax dollars and said merging sewer authorities won’t lose a town’s identity.She said among her many priorities some at the top of the list are estate tax repeal, pension reform because of the “robust outstanding liability,” gaming licenses for Monmouth Park and stopping the casino drain, regionalization and growing the economy.She urged residents in her district to engage the issues and voice their opinions.“We need your help,” she said. “These are complicated issues.”last_img