When the feds close a door, the state will open a window. Or so intends a coalition of progressive activist groups and state Democratic legislators who are coalescing to resist Trump and the GOP agenda, and ensure that voting rights, reproductive rights, environmental protections, education quality and other “amenities” that make life bearable remain strong in New Jersey no matter what the Trump administration hands out.
Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) and Assembly Speaker Emeritus Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) are fronting The Resistance Coalition, which comprises not only progressive legislators, labor organizations, and activists groups as diverse as the Sierra Club and the New Jersey Working Families Alliance.
At issue, say the legislators, is the potential devastation in the Garden State if the GOP-dominated federal triumvirate is successful in gutting government departments, the social safety net, environmental protections, and more.
For example, said Weinberg, “"If in fact the federal government does away with water testing at our beaches, maybe New Jersey will have to fill in, and maybe New Jersey taxpayers will feel that because we have to keep our beaches and our recreational areas safe.”
Overall, she said, “We might have to do things legislatively to make up for what might be coming out of Washington.”
Of special concern to New Jersey, which is already number 1 in the country in its property tax rate, is the GOP’s planned “tax reform.” As currently configured, the “reform” would eliminate the federal tax deduction for local property taxes, adding an average $3,500 annually to at least a third of New Jersey taxpayers, and on top of that they would also not be able to deduct their state taxes.
Coupled with a change in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, the proposed federal “reforms” will squeeze New Jersey badly, and according to the resistance coalition, legislation needs to be introduced at the state level that will ease the pain.
As Gov. Chris Christie remains one of Trump’s loudest cheerleaders, and apparently also believes he still has a future in the Republican Party, Democrats in the Senate and Assembly aren’t planning on running any progressive legislation by him, but are working ahead so that everything is ready to go in January, when the lame duck governor will be replaced, hopefully with a Democrat, and equally hopefully, some of the more egregiously right wing senators and assembly members will also be replaced by progressives.