|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
On the day a New Jersey native was offcially nominated to become the nation's homeland security chief, the federal government sharply cut New Jersey's anti-terrorism funding.
The loss of $31 million to protect the state is "a slap in the face to New Jersey and all our residents," [Codey] said.
He said he was especially angry at what he considers to be the inequitable distribution of the money, saying that New Jersey will receive $4.35 per capita in federal homeland security funds while Wyoming and North Dakota will get $29.45 per capita and $20.80, per capita respectively.
Newark, which is home to Prudential Financial Inc.'s headquarters, was among the East Coast cities where the terror alert level was raised last summer in response to intelligence indicating that major financial institutions could be al-Qaeda terror targts. The alert level was reduced in November.
As President Bush lays the groundwork for a possible overhaul of the U.S. tax code, one option under consideration would deal its biggest financial blow to citizens of blue states such as California and New York.
Some conservative activists are urging the Bush administration to scrap the federal deduction for state and local taxes as part of a broader plan to revamp the nation's tax system.
Although the proposal would hurt some taxpayers in nearly every state, it would hit hardest in states with higher-than-average income levels and bigger-than-average state and local tax burdens. High on the list are a number of blue states — those that were carried by Democrat Sen. John F. Kerry in last month's presidential election.
Taxpayers in California and New York, for example, which have top state income tax rates of 9.3% and 6.5% respectively, would be highly affected; residents of Florida and Texas, which have no state income taxes, much less so.
"There's no question this effort would punish blue states," said Rep. Robert T. Matsui (D-Sacramento), a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. Over time, he said, it could force state and local governments to cut expenditures.
That could happen if taxpayers, stung by the higher tax burden that would come from losing the deduction for state and local tax payments, demand a cut in local and state tax rates and become unwilling to approve any increases.
Supporters of the change insist the disproportionate effect on blue states is a coincidence, but they acknowledge that the proposal could hurt most in states that voted against Bush.
"Let me put it like this: It certainly isn't something that's a discouragement," said one prominent conservative. "Yes, we talked about this. The fact that it hits blue states is not something that's been missed among Republicans."