Corzine: Making NJ Affordable

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I feel lucky to have lived the American Dream. I started at the ground floor of a great company, worked my way through business school at night, and eventually worked my way up to lead that company as CEO. But I will always know that I got my start from great public schools, a loving family, and a strong and supportive community. Community must come first. We cannot ignore the plight of children living in poverty while cutting taxes for the wealthy.

I’m often asked why I’m running for governor, and the answer is simple: I want to make New Jersey the best place in America to grow up, to go to school, to live, to work, to raise a family, to start a business, and to retire with security and dignity. 

I feel lucky to have lived the American Dream. I started at the ground floor of a great company, worked my way through business school at night, and eventually worked my way up to lead that company as CEO. But I will always know that I got my start from great public schools, a loving family, and a strong and supportive community. 

Community must come first. We cannot ignore the plight of children living in poverty while cutting taxes for the wealthy. We have a moral obligation to fight for hardworking families who can’t afford quality health care, housing, and education. I believe we need to invest in our human assets. New Jersey is home to one of the most diverse, best educated, highly skilled, and most ambitious and hopeful populations in the world. All of that great potential must be put to work to broaden opportunities for every New Jerseyan.

First, we need to make New Jersey a far more affordable place. Throughout my campaign for Governor, I have outlined what I call my “Affordability Agenda,� to make life more affordable for New Jersey families. Since February, I’ve outlined specific plans to do this – from creating 10,000 new tuition assistance grants to help families afford college, to doubling funding for after-school programs that give working parents an option for a safe, enriching learning environment for their children. I have also outlined my plan, in the next four years, to make affordable health care available to 95 percent of New Jersey citizens, and to cut costs for families 10 percent below what they otherwise would be. Unacceptably, 1.2 million of our fellow New Jerseyans go without any health insurance – including 265,000 children. They only receive health care at a moment of crisis – and at the highest cost - in our hospitals’ emergency rooms. I know we can do better.

I have also offered a real property tax plan that delivers relief to those who need it most. My plan provides direct rebates to middle class New Jersey families and seniors. And, my plan gives rebates to renters – because New Jersey’s renters are affected by high property taxes too, ultimately paying the 3rd highest rents in the nation in part due to property taxes that are passed on to tenants. Under my plan, rebates for seniors, middle-class families and tenants will increase 10% each year over the next four years.

Another aspect of making New Jersey more affordable is growing high-wage jobs for people of all skill levels – and focusing efforts in places where unemployment is the highest. When I’m Governor, creating jobs won’t be just the focus of an agency or ‘line B’ in some program - it will be my personal mission. 

We can make strategic investments in research and development. We can leverage growth in our port regions, and grow the logistics and port-related industries.  We can invest in entrepreneurs through an “Urban Investment Bankâ€? that will provide loans and capital for businesses both starting and expanding in urban areas. With these plans, I know we can drive high-wage job growth for decades.

I also know it’s time to bring a higher ethical standard to every level of government. As Governor, I will end the cronyism and insider deals that have fed the “old boys network� for too long. I will end ‘pay-to-play’ at all levels of government and establish a new, elected state Comptroller to ensure honest government and fair contracting.

As Governor, it will be my mission to give New Jersey a government as honest and hard working as its people.

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