New Jersey needs a law that would allow medical marijuana to be legally grown or purchased when prescribed by a doctor. We have many people in New Jersey suffering the effects of cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, and other ailments. The humanitarian and compassionate thing to do is allow them legal access to a drug that could help them. I also favor parental choice regarding childhood vaccinations.
We need to make mortgage loans more accessible to first-time homebuyers. The state programs are to be advertised and promoted to reach a maximum number of potential beneficiaries. First-time homebuyers need continuous support and expert help in unpredictable circumstances. Nonprofit corporations and attorneys should be engaged in assisting the buyers and ensuring the transparency and security of the transaction. We must identify, diminish and eradicate the practices of predatory lending and we need to invest more in financial literacy. All the individuals and entities involved in dishonest activities towards people considering mortgage loans should be held responsible for their actions.
I regard the first ten amendments to the Constitution as a package deal, and regard an attack on any one of them as an attack on all of them. I regard the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed in the Second Amendment as no less important than the right to freedom of speech and religion guaranteed in the First Amendment. Those who use guns in the commission of crimes should be punished severely, but the state should not prevent its law-abiding citizens from exercising their constitutional rights.
We need a creative solution to the decades long quest to create affordable housing in New Jersey. The state must enact legislation to supersede local zoning ordinances, removing zoning barriers which currently prevent owners of single family homes from converting them to two family homes and the owners of two family homes from converting them to three families. This will solve the affordable housing crisis not just for people renting the new units, but also for the home owners, many of whom might be senior citizens, who will now be able to remain in houses that had become too large and too expensive for their needs. This will solve the affordable housing problem without the expenditure of any tax dollars.
Throwing ever-increasing amounts of money at failed school districts is not the answer for improving the quality of education throughout the state. A series of NJ Supreme Court decisions dating back to 1966 has dictated the imposition of sales and income taxes in the name of fulfilling a state constitutional mandate to provide a "thorough and efficient education" for all New Jersey children. Currently, private and religious schools are at a competitive disadvantage with public schools. Senior citizens, people without children, and parents who home school their children or pay tuition are unfairly burdened by school taxes. We need a constitutional amendment to remove impediments to the creation of a competitive and innovative climate in education. Vouchers can be a useful transitional tool.
Higher education comes at an exorbitant price. Students struggle to repay their loans until and beyond their retirement. We need to address the problem of a life lived in debt. Immediate action is needed to set in place emergency funds and strategic planning to actively support the graduates in times of adversity. Thus far, the cost of higher education has been increasing at a steady pace, and the growth is consistent with the increase of student debt in New Jersey. It’s time to invest in education, not only profit from it. It is our primary obligation to promote the right to education through well-thought student support systems.
A marriage equality law is needed in New Jersey to allow same sex couples to marry. This is a civil rights issue. All New Jersey citizens should enjoy the same rights. Such a law would not require any religious denomination to recognize or perform such marriages, but it would allow them to do so. Civil marriages would be available to all as a matter of right.
Our senior citizens deserve the reassurance of a secure retirement. We must invest more effort into the stability of the pension fund. We cannot allow another crisis to affect the retirement fund and the people depending on it. We cannot hope for a recovery every fiscal year. The highest responsibility lies heavily on policymakers. We need to develop and implement a highly-dependable strategic plan, including tax increases, expenditure regulation, redirecting other funds to compensate for another potential crisis. The retirement fund has been on uncertain grounds for years, failing to maintain a steady, functional pace. The time has come to fortify the fund to the benefit of the retirees.
This is an issue of personal freedom. Whether or not marijuana is good for anyone is irrelevant. Every adult should have the right to make his or her own choices as to what to ingest — be it alcohol, marijuana, nicotine, or cherry pie. Let our drug laws continue to protect children, but let adults have freedom of choice.
New Jersey’s broad based taxes are out of control. We are drowning in a sea of property taxes, income taxes, and sales taxes. We need to move away from these broad based taxes in favor of user fees. A user fee is simply a fee paid for a service that is actually used. Funding services in that manner will result in some services being performed by the private sector rather than by government. That will make government smaller, and enable us to cut those taxes. It will also give individuals the power to save money by not paying for services they don’t want or don’t need. The rate of the income tax can be stepped down in tandem with each reduction in the size of government until that tax vanishes. Then we can get to work reducing the sales tax.