The Lonegan Plan: End Abbott, School Vouchers, Flat Tax
"The first step towards taking back our state."
Republican Gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan this afternoon announced a three point plan to improve education, cut taxes and bring back our state's economy.
The Lonegan Plan consists of overturning the Abbott school funding decision by Constitutional Amendment, requiring school vouchers in poorly performing districts and replacing the current progressive income tax with a flat rate.
"New Jersey's high income taxes are a direct result of the Abbott school funding decisions that must be overturned," Lonegan said. "Half our income tax revenues are squandered in the 31 Abbott districts that have shown no matter how much money they have, they are unable to educate their children," he noted.
"School districts that cannot provide a quality education at the state with the same per pupil aid as other districts will be required to give the parents of those children a voucher to use at the school of their choice within that district."
"Only through competition can we bring better education for every child in the state," added Lonegan. "If everything in those slick NJEA TV ads are true, then they have nothing to fear from competition from the private sector."
Noting that sharp drops in tax revenue will continue throughout the year, Lonegan said this is a direct result of the Progressive Income Tax which Lonegan says must be overhauled and replaced with a Flat Tax.
Lonegan's plan would start with a rate of 2.9% and that rate would be reduced to 2.5% after one year and lowered to 2.1% in the next year.
"The overwhelming majority of homeowners and taxpayers in New Jersey will benefit from this plan immediately between lower marginal rates and increased state aid to suburban school districts," Lonegan said. "Younger taxpayers will benefit as their incomes increase and are no longer taxed at high rates ranging from 3.5% to 8.97% -- not counting the .09% Paid Family Leave tax which I also hope to repeal."
Lonegan, who served three terms as Bogota Mayor before stepping down in 2007, said he was aware that some would attack him for "cutting taxes on the rich'."
"It sounds good to say tax the rich' but the rich' have options including moving to Florida, Nevada or other states with no income tax," Lonegan said. "Then we collect nothing and when the economy crashes the effect is even worse."
"Under our plan, we will replace the Progressive Income Tax with a flat rate that will be lower than New York, Delaware and even Pennsylvania's flat rate of 3.07%," Lonegan said. "And that's just in the first year. By getting rid of Abbott and distributing aid on a per student basis, the money will be available for property tax relief for suburban homeowners, or even further state tax rate reductions."
"I believe state tax revenues should be raised for one purpose and that is to run state government, not engage in destructive income redistribution schemes that create the false illusion of something for nothing."
"Those liberals who oppose my plan will make their usual class warfare arguments, but that only works with some people. Others who dream of success reject pandering to class envy and look to what can be in this great country of ours," Lonegan added. "The current plan has failed and the exodus of our friends, neighbors, co-workers and too often employers is proof positive."
"This is an issue Republicans should unite around. Chris Christie, Rick Merkt, Brian Levine and I obviously do not agree on every issue, but on this one, I hope we all can agree," Lonegan added. "Our state's future is on the line and it's time for bold leadership, new solutions and aggressive action to turn our state around and make New Jersey great again."