James Benscoter and Frank Gaffney
"Best for Green Brook"

I hope this message finds you and your family well during these trying times.

We, James Benscoter and Frank Gaffney, would like to share with you an important issue that we feel the voters of New Jersey should have a voice in deciding.

For too long, New Jersey has held the unenviable position as the highest property tax in the nation[1]. In fact, New Jersey's effective real estate tax rate is nearly 2.7 times that of the midpoint of all 50 states and more than 9 times that of the lowest state. Green Brook Township has worked hard to control local taxes by sharing services and maintaining strict oversight over spending. The all Republican Township Committee has not raised the municipal portion of your property taxes in over 5 years!

Recently, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy reached an agreement with the state democratic leaders to allow up to $9.9 billion in borrowing, to make up for lost revenue from COVID-19. This issuance of bonds will have to be brought to a full Assembly and Senate vote. The full bodies of the Legislature, both controlled by democrats, will vote to approve the issuance of bonds, and then it will be signed by the Governor -- this borrowing will not need to be approved by voters!

It is our position that the approval of borrowing of such magnitude should require voter approval. Our already overburdened taxpayers are feeling the effects of COVID-19, and they should have a say in this action. It is estimated that these bonds will cost New Jersey taxpayers at least many hundreds of millions of dollars in additional debt service costs for the next 35 years[2]. Our children and our children's children will have to pay off this debt. The cost of living in New Jersey is already among the highest in the nation[3], Governor Murphy is discussing raising taxes[4] on top of the taxes he has already raised. The Governor has already approved toll increases[5] and New Jersey has some of the highest car insurance rates in the country[6]. The taxpayer can only pay so much before nothing is left to save for the future or pay other bills such as groceries and medications.

According to Tax Foundation's 2020 State Business Tax Climate Index, New Jersey has the distinction of being ranked last out of the entire United States in overall business tax climate[7]. We believe in stabilizing and lowering taxes on our businesses and on our residents, whenever possible. This will allow our businesses to stay in operation and will bring in new business opportunities to our area. Our residents will also be able to remain in Green Brook! Borrowing billions and continuing to prevent businesses from coming to New Jersey due to high business taxes, has not worked and is destroying our economy. Increased tolls and taxes will be passed along to renters and consumers, further increasing the economic burden that our residents and seniors face today.

Candidates for reelection, James Benscoter and Frank Gaffney, have signed letters of support for our local police. We will not be defunding our Green Brook Police Department, as this would lead to increases in crime. We do advocate training and proper equipment, which will help our Police Officers maintain the high level of excellence they are known for -- our residents deserve the best protection we can provide. We are dedicated to keeping taxes low, and any increases, if necessary, will be kept to the lowest level possible. We will continue to look for ways to better serve our residents and our community. The recently opened Arthur L. Lewis Park is an example of how the Township was able to obtain the former Green Brook Swim Club and transform it into a beautiful open space for the community[8].

In November, it is critical to vote and have your opinion counted in this election! The results of this election will have a direct and immediate impact on the personal and financial lives of everyone in Green Brook. Jim and Frank are experienced and principled leaders, who are needed during these very uncertain times. This is no time to have on the job training for our local leaders.

We ask for your vote this November, so that we can continue to keep municipal taxes to a minimum, fund our local police and keep Green Brook a great place to live, work and play!

To learn more, visit our website at http://www.gbgop.org/

Thank you,

James Benscoter

Jim Benscoter & Frank Gaffney

[1]John S. Kiernan, "Property Taxes by State", WalletHub, Washington DC, Evolution Finance Inc, 2020, https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-highest-and-lowest-property-taxes/11585/, (accessed 12 July 2020)

[2] NJBIA, "NJBIA Testifies on NJ COVID-19 Emergency Bond Act", New Jersey Business & Industry Association, Trenton NJ, NJBIA, 2020, https://njbia.org/njbia-testifies-on-nj-covid-19-emergency-bond-act/, (accessed 13 July 2020)

[3] Les Masterson, "States with Lowest Cost of Living", Insure.com, Foster City CA, QuinStreet, Inc., 2020, https://www.insure.com/cost-of-living-by-state.html, (accessed 12 July 2020)

[4] Brent Johnson, "Murphy hints tax hikes in N.J. are likely because of coronavirus", NJ.com, Iselin NJ, Advance Local Media LLC, 2020, https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2020/07/murphy-hints-tax-hikes-in-nj-are-likely-because-of-coronavirus.html, (accessed 12 July 2020)

[5] Larry Higgs, "It's official. Murphy approves toll hikes on three major N.J. highways", NJ.com, Iselin NJ, Advance Local Media LLC, 2020, https://www.nj.com/news/2020/06/its-official-murphy-approves-toll-hikes-on-three-major-nj-highways.html, (accessed 12 July 2020)

[6] Michelle Megna, "Auto insurance rates by state", CarInsurance.com, Foster City CA, QuinStreet Inc., 2020, https://www.carinsurance.com/state-car-insurance-rates, (accessed 12 July 2020)

[7] Jared Walczak, "2020 State Business Tax Climate Index", Tax Foundation, Washington DC, Tax Foundation, 2019, https://taxfoundation.org/publications/state-business-tax-climate-index/, (accessed 12 July 2020)

[8] "Small Communities Accomplish Big Projects with Romtec", Romtec, Roseburg OR, Romtec Inc., 2020, http://romtec.com/blog-categories/small-communities-accomplish-big-projects-with-romtec?fbclid=IwAR1pe1ncmH3hTALYUzgUyGQD6y0SxS_sY8GZ5JaWXIZChMkxZC6FfHlIx2I, (accessed 6 June 2020)