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Doug Forrester

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Herb Jackson on Forrester's 'Puzzling' Accusations

By: Matt Stoller October 05 at 11:15 AM EST

Herb Jackson has an excellent column today on taxes:

Quick. Define "tax increase."

If you said it's when the amount of tax someone has to pay goes up, then you have a disagreement with Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Forrester. To Forrester, you're voting to raise taxes when tax rates would stay exactly the same, and even when they would go down.

Forrester is running a television commercial that says Democrat Jon Corzine "voted 133 times for higher taxes," but the list he uses to back up the charge includes only 22 votes to increase taxes. Using the Forrester campaign's own characterizations, there were also 37 votes against tax cuts, 53 votes to reduce the size of tax cuts, 11 votes to delay tax cuts and 10 votes for Democrat-sponsored tax cuts.

Amazingly, 11 of the votes on Forrester's list of tax increases are also on a list of 69 tax-cutting votes that Corzine provided.

Most of the duplicates are cases where Corzine supported a tax-cut package that was less generous or weighted more toward lower- and middle-income taxpayers than a Republican plan.

For example, when Republicans were working to cut taxes on dividends, Corzine worked instead to give working people a year's holiday from Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. Corzine also voted for one bill to allow people to exclude up to $3 million from estate taxes and another excluding up to $4 million. Forrester considers both to be tax increases because they did not eliminate the "death tax" entirely.

The Forrester campaign says it is not distorting Corzine's record, just applying its own interpretation on the record. Campaign spokeswoman Sherry Sylvester argues that by not supporting the biggest possible tax cuts, Corzine supported higher taxes.

But voting to lower taxes or keep tax rates unchanged is not the same thing as increasing them. You shouldn't be able to change the definition of "down" to mean "up" just by buying a bunch of TV commercials.

Forrester's need for exaggeration is puzzling, because he would have been on solid ground if he had just assailed Corzine for voting against tax cuts.

One Blogger’s Perspective on a Corzine Meeting

By: Matt Stoller October 04 at 3:48 PM EST

Here's a nice write-up of a recent Corzine event.

I only got to say hello, shake his hand, and give him a general thank you. I wish I had more time to tell him how much I thank him for voting against the war in Iraq. How much I thank him for standing up for our veterans, our seniors, and our children. How much I thank him for his financial brilliance and for his vigilance and conviction in authoring legislation to really keep our shores safe. So I will do it now. Thank you for all you have done for the state of NJ as a Senator!

You know, I have been very down on the Democratic Party leaders of late and deservedly so, but that does not mean I can't give props to anyone in this Party who deserves it, and Senator Jon Corzine deserves it. He is a down to earth, upstanding man whom I will be proud to have serve as my Governor.

And no matter what I may say about Democrats in our Congress because I truly do care that this Party be the Party that not only stands up for Americans, but really fights for them, those seniors I saw there today are real Americans looking for real help, just like me, which was why I also brought my son. This is going to be the country he and all his age inherit. Please, Senator Corzine, don't let them down, and I don't think you will.  

Oh, and one end note. He did say we need more women running for office. How true, and that may be something I will now seriously ponder.  If we want to change things for the better, we have to do it. I'm behind Jon Corzine, and I am committed to doing anything I possibly can to now help make this country what I know it can be.

On Miers

By: Matt Stoller October 03 at 4:33 PM EST

From the Asbury Park Press:

New Jersey's two U.S. senators, Democrats Jon Corzine and Frank Lautenberg, were guarded Monday about President Bush's choice of White House counsel Harriet Miers to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court.

Both lawmakers, among the Senate's most liberal voices, applauded the president for picking a woman. And they have worked with Miers on judicial appointments to the federal bench in New Jersey, describing her as "professional" and courteous.

But they said they don't know enough about Miers, who has never been a judge. They are hopeful that she would follow O'Connor's moderate path as the swing vote on the nation's highest court.

"What matters most, however, is not that President Bush has selected a woman, but that whoever is chosen protects the fundamental rights that women and all Americans have fought so hard to attain," Corzine said. "I look forward to learning more about Ms. Miers and sincerely hope that President Bush has not chosen someone who places ideology over respect for precedent."

Grassroots Stem Cell Forum from Bluewave

By: Matt Stoller October 03 at 12:01 PM EST

Embryonic stem cells are one key to curing a whole host of illnesses and conditions.  A strong pro-science medical industry is also one driver of economic growth and job creation.

Jon Corzine presented his plan on stem cells last month.  On October 8th, grassroots group Blue Wave NJ is having a stem cell forum on October 8th from 2:30-4:30pm.  They have a great line-up of forum participants.

Clinton Comes to Town

By: Matt Stoller September 30 at 1:04 PM EST

Bill Clinton came to town yesterday.   I'll have a bunch more on it, but I just wanted to let you know that it was amazing!

The Star Ledger has a nice recap, as does Sharon at the Center of New Jersey Life.  

A Thought Experiment

By: Matt Stoller September 27 at 12:48 PM EST

(I created a new section for the blog - 'Ads')

Doug's new ad claims that he's serious about reducing property taxes by 30% in three years.

Let's do a thought experiment.  In 2003, New Jersey collected around $17B in local property taxes. That has increased about 6% a year since then, but hey, let's be generous, and forget about that for now.  How much is 30% of $17B? $5.1B. So Doug is clearly promising a plan that costs around $5.1B per year in its third year. That's a pretty significant chunk of the NJ state budget.  I don't know, maybe there are loopholes that cut that cost to $3B or something; regardless the plan must cost multiple billions, unless the 30% in 3 years is a totally meaningless slogan.

The problem is that according to Doug's campaign web site, Forrester is relying on a study that says his plan will cost only $1.2B in year three.  

Of course, Doug Forrester is going to say that he'll make up the difference by cutting corruption and waste.  But that's really besides the point.  You see, he could have said 'my plan will cost $5.1B, but I will make that up by cutting waste and fraud'.  That's not what he's saying - he's actually claiming that his plan will cost only $1.2B in the third and most expensive year of its implementation.  So either his plan doesn't add up, or he's lying.  Or both.

To put it another way, he's offering New Jersey a free lunch.  I know card sharks that offer more realistic promises.

From the Department of Irony

By: Matt Stoller September 26 at 7:49 PM EST

Forrester's DC-based political mentors give the ultimate expression to the phrase 'Those who can't do, consult...':

CBS News correspondent Gloria Borger reports that Michael Brown, who recently resigned as the head of the FEMA, has been rehired by the agency as a consultant to evaluate it's response following Hurricane Katrina.

I'm sure Forrester will be the first to speak out against this outrageous patronage in the Homeland Security Department.  Um.  Yeah.

Patty Cake, Patty Cake

By: Matt Stoller September 26 at 7:43 PM EST

Josh Marshall at Talkingpointsmemo has been doing great work tracking the scandals at the heart of the Bush administration.

The Republican machine built by DeLay, Norquist, Abramoff, et al. and pulled into high gear after 2001, is a pay-for-play political machine. This is just another part of the operation, like the diktat for trade associations to hire only Republicans. Big political machines need their soldiers taken care of -- jobs on K Street which also discipline the trade associations under Hill leadership. Just so, they need big sums of money to move around off the books. How does Rove keep the millions moving to Norquist? To Reed? To all the other operatives whose names you don't know about?

Indian tribes bursting with millions who need very focused sorts of legislative intervention -- that's one good source of money. Corrupt Pacific Island governments who need similar help -- another good source.

If Tyco wanted help, they had to pay in. That's what the $2 million was. Of course it got passed on to some other GOP outfit with Abramoff connections. That was the point!

This comes only days after Bush's top federal procurement official,  David H. Safavian, was arrested.  If you think this is basic corruption, you're sort of missing the point.  The Republican Party has constructed a vast and powerful national political machine.  They control patronage positions and billions in budgetary outlays, and use their power to punish their enemies and reward friends.  It's really a remarkable political development, this attack on the idea of a government that actually serves the public.  Students of American history must look back to the Gilded Age, or the 'state of courts and parties', to see so much grabbed by so few in such a short amount of time.

The modern Republican political machine all cycles through Karl Rove's clutches, the same Karl Rove who raised money for Doug Forrester earlier this year.  It's really remarkable.  Forrester is playing patty cake with the most corrupt political machine this country has ever seen.  And he's not just allied with them financially.  There's also a strong ideological bind.  For instance, there's Forrester's opposition to polluter pay laws, and his game of footsy with the NFIB (which opposes the recent minimum wage law).  He'd prefer taxpayers to pay for pollution clean-ups, and for industries to regulate themselves.  Which of course sounds suspiciously like letting big business do whatever it wants, the public interest being besides the point.

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