Tag Archives: New Jersey

Phils Fans Warmly Welcome the Millville Meteor

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Phillies fans gave local product Mike Trout a warm welcome home

Last night in the top of the 1st inning with the Los Angeles Angels batting against the hometown Philadelphia Phillies, the notoriously tough on the opposition Philly crowd did something highly unusual.

As the opponent batter was announced and stepped towards home plate, the crowd rose together as one and gave the handsome young kid in the visiting uniform a rousing standing ovation. There is no doubt that the kid got goosebumps.

The reason that this Phillies crowd was giving the young Angels centerfielder such an unusually warm reception goes beyond the uniform that he is currently wearing. The reception was because of who he is in particular. The player in question was Mike Trout, and the reason for the ovation was that he is a rarity in pro sports circles – he is one of us.

Michael Nelson Trout was born in Vineland and raised in Millville, New Jersey. He has been a Philly sports fan his entire life, still attending Eagles games in recent years. He tailgated at the 2008 World Series, cheering as he watched his hero, Chase Utley, help lead the Fightins to just their second-ever world championship.

But Mike Trout didn’t just cheer, he also played the game, and he played it very well. During high school, like many of the best athletes in the game at that stage, Trout was not an outfielder. He pitched and played shortstop, and even tossed a no-hitter during his junior year in a game against Egg Harbor Township.

In his senior year he was shifted to the outfield, and set a New Jersey state record with 18 homeruns. For the player built like an NFL linebacker, power wasn’t the only impressive part of his particular game, as Trout could also run like the wind. He was so fast that he was given the nickname “The Millville Meteor”, and his rare combination of power and speed caught the attention of Major League Baseball scouts.

I remember very well watching the 2009 MLB Draft on television. That was a unique experience in itself, because it was the first time that the event was televised on what was then the brand new MLB Network cable service. While the NFL had already been broadcasting their event, growing it into the spectacle we all experienced last week, MLB was behind in that regard.

For a baseball nut like myself, it was fascinating to be able to watch the process of that first round of drafting take place, and to get to listen to analysts describe the prospects, show video of their amateur playing days, and make commentary on their skills. I had followed this type of coverage online and in print for years, but it was a happy day indeed to see my favorite sport moving into the 21st century.

There was one problem with that first live broadcast and network coverage of the event. Unlike the NFL Draft spectacle, where all the top draftees are present on the day of the Draft, taking the stage happily when their names are called, there were no actual players present for this event. It seemed very weird that these young players and their families, whose lives were about to change forever, would not be present to participate in this event.

It was weird, unless or until you realize that the MLB Draft process is very different from the NFL process. In the vast majority of cases, the players selected in the NFL Draft have no other choice: they will play in the league, or they will not play at all. Oh, they could choose to go play in Canada, or choose another sport if they are good enough. But for the overwhelming majority, it’s the NFL or bust.

With baseball, the prospects selected in the Draft almost always have another option. If they are college kids, they are usually in their junior year, sophomore possibly, and can choose to return to school. If they are drafted right out of high school, as Trout was, they can choose to go to college rather than play for an MLB organization.

The other big difference is that whereas in football, the players selected in the Draft are about to compete for actual jobs with the pro sports club and begin play immediately in the NFL, the baseball draftees are almost always only beginning a process of development through the minor leagues that will take a year or two, sometimes more, before they ever play inside an MLB ballpark.

So in retrospect it probably should have not been too surprising to find that no players were actually present at that first live televised MLB Draft. It was simply that their agents had advised them to stay away, because the Draft is only the beginning of a negotiating process with the team that selects the prospect, and the prospect and his family may instead choose to decline the offer and return to school. Thus, why show up and pull on a cap and jersey, when it may all be for nothing?

So at that first televised 2009 MLB Draft, no players showed up. Well, that is, almost no players showed up. One did attend the process. One player who was anticipated to go in the first round sat lonely in a makeshift dugout in the MLB Network studios. That player was Mike Trout.

He and his family didn’t care that they had a scholarship to East Carolina University accepted. This was too big an opportunity, too big a deal, and it was being held in Secaucus, New Jersey, a relatively short drive. They had vision, and they attended this first live draft.

The cameras frequently panned inside that makeshift dugout for a look at Trout as the Draft unfolded, especially as one team after another passed on selecting the phenom. It was anticipated that Trout would be selected high in the process, but pick after pick was announced without his name being called.

The supposed prize of that 2009 MLB Draft class, pitcher Stephen Strasburg, was selected with the top overall pick, as was anticipated. Then the process wound through a couple dozen choices, including pitchers like Zack Wheeler (6), Mike Minor (7), Mike Leake (8), Jacob Turner (9), Aaron Crow (12), and Shelby Miller (19), all of whom have tasted some level of success now at the Major League level.

Those early selections also included 8 position players: Dustin Ackley (2), Donavan Tate (3), Tony Sanchez (4), Grant Green (13), Bobby Borchering (16), A.J. Pollock (17), Jiovanni Mier (21), and Jared Mitchell (23) – none of whom has been able to establish themselves as a star in MLB to this point. Half of them have never reached the Major League level, at least to this point in their careers.

Then the Angels turn came, and they had two selections. Due to the Mets signing of free agent closer Francisco Rodriguez, and the Yankees signing of free agent 1st baseman Mark Teixeira, the Angels now possessed each of those organizations first round picks at #24 & 25 overall. With the 24th pick, the Angels selected outfielder Randall Grichuk. Unlikely to take two outfielders, it appeared Trout was about to be passed over yet again. How far would he slide?

At this point, the casual baseball fan might be asking the question “Why didn’t any team pick him sooner?” Frankly, that is a question that a couple of dozen MLB organizations have been asking themselves for a few years now. Part of the problem is a built-in industry prejudice against players from the northeast, who due to the weather here play less baseball than players from places like Florida, California, and Texas, who can often play nearly year-round.

So Trout was still around as the Angels contemplated the 2nd of their first round selections. Having just taken an outfielder in Grichuk, they surprised some when the name “Michael Trout” was announced as their next pick. The cameras panned to his smiling face in the dugout as he was hugged by family. Trout stepped up to the podium and donned an Angels cap. MLB had their first draft star, their only face of that first-ever televised draft process, and man did he turn out to be the right one.

That first season in pro ball, Trout was sent to the Arizona League to play for the Angels rookie-level team. In just 39 games, he hit .360 with 25 rbi and 13 steals, and earned a brief promotion to the ‘A’ level of the minor leagues to finish the year. He began 2010 at that ‘A’ level, hitting .362 with 6 homers, 39 rbi, and 45 steals over 82 games. He was also selected for the showcase MLB Futures Game in July, and showcased his blazing speed during that game as well.

Following the Futures Game, he was promoted to ‘High-A’ ball, and that month, Trout was named by Baseball America as the 2nd-best prospect in the entire sport. After the 2010 season, he would be honored with the Topps Minor League Player of the Year award. The youngest player to ever win the award, he was still just 19 years of age.

Prior to the start of the 2011 season, Mike Trout was named the consensus top prospect in baseball. He would make his Major League debut later that summer, and by 2012 had established that he was in the Big Leagues to stay. Keeping this short, since most know what happened next, he became a serious MVP candidate in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons, finishing 2nd in voting both years to incredible seasons turned in by veteran Miguel Cabrera.

So when Mike Trout showed up at Citizens Bank Park last night with the visiting team, the hometown fans knew, appreciated, and had been following the exploits of this local kid turned baseball hero for a few years. They knew that he grew up rooting for their Phillies, that he was still an Eagles fan, that at heart he is still one of us. That is why the fans rose and gave him a rousing ovation.

At least hundreds, perhaps a couple thousand, were on-hand from his hometown of Millville and the surrounding area, representing his family, friends, teammates, and others who had known him or played with or against him locally. It was a true homecoming for the kid who at still just 22 years of age has universally become acknowledged as the best all-around player in the game today.

There was some hope that Trout would one day become a Phillie, running the outfield in the red and white pinstripes. For some, that hope appeared dashed when he signed a 6-year, $144 million contract with the Angels this spring. No one begrudged the deal, as quite obviously a young man offered that kind of money has to think about taking care of himself and his family for the rest of their lives, even if it means putting off a chance to play for the team he grew up loving.

But then you realize, Trout will be just 28 years old when that contract expires. He will be in the prime of his baseball career. The Phillies will be working under terms of a new cable TV deal signed with Comcast by then, pumping tons of money into their coffers. The Howard-Utley-Rollins-Hamels crew will be gone by then, having ridden off to the sunset as World Series-winning heroes. The fan base will be clamoring for the next generation of winners.

If he stays healthy for the majority of these next half dozen seasons, and produces at the levels anticipated by his talents and by his performances thus far, there is no telling how much money Mike Trout will command for that next contract. It is likely to be in the 10-year, $300 million range. If he is still healthy and producing then, which is likely, he will be worth every penny to the Phillies organization.

So Phillies fans can still dream on a day that the kid is patrolling leftfield at Citizens Bank Park, leading his hometown Fightin’ Phils back to the World Series in the next decade. For the rest of this one, those appreciative fans will still root for their local hero. And Mike Trout will still root for them, just not on these rare nights when he is playing against them. Thankfully, with the Angels in the AL West division, those nights when he is an opponent come around only once every 4-5 years or so.

For Republicans, rape is still rape

I am a proud Republican, and more than that, a proud Conservative, which I happily type with a capital ‘C’ in front.

I do not support every plank that the Republican Party puts forth, nor do I support every politician that takes up the ‘Red’ banner.

Those who get my vote, such as George W. Bush, sometimes only get it because they are better than lousy liberal alternatives.

I am also a proud father and grandfather of three beautiful daughters and a wonderful granddaughter, the husband of a loving wife, and a brother-in-law, cousin, uncle, nephew, co-worker, neighbor, and friend to many outstanding women.

All that prefaces my position now in full support of a bill (HR3) put forth by New Jersey’s outstanding congressman Chris Smith that would essentially end any taxpayer funding of abortions, as well as any tax breaks for health insurance that covers the same.

The usual suspects in the liberal community, from the radical fringe such as MoveOn, to the agenda-driven Planned Parenthood, to supposedly mainstream Democrats looking to protect their political power, are predictably against this legislative initiative.

However, as usual, they don’t stop at simply voicing common sense opposition in a debate of ideas. Instead they have stooped to tactics such as using code words, spreading divisiveness, and misinterpretation.

The tactic chosen to oppose the anti-abortion legislation, or as those of us firmly on the side of right and good choose to call it, the pro-life legislation, is incredibly and intentionally ugly. They have chosen to paint Republicans as somehow supporting, denying, or minimizing the crime of rape.
They are saying that Republicans are trying to “redefine rape”, and have actually stated in some forums that to Republicans, rape is no longer rape.

I find that kind of rhetoric, and that’s all it is, political and social rhetoric, to be patently offensive. As a man who has all of the above listed women in his life, I can tell you for a fact that to me and all Republicans, rape is rape is rape.

I would be sympathetic to and supportive of any woman in my own life who might experience this crime. In fact, a couple of them have experienced it. The same statement of sympathy and support can be said for Representative Smith, Republican leader John Boehner, and every other Republican politician.

Of course, this is not the issue that the legislation relates to at all. The legislation aims to back up with concrete action one of the basic platform items in the party’s ‘Pledge to America’ when it won control of congress in the elections of November 2010.

As Boehner has stated “Our members feel very strongly about the sanctity of human life.” A simple reading of the actual legislation easily shows that Republicans indeed have a heart.

The first handful of sections, 301-304, state the long-held party position against the murder of innocent babies in the womb. Those sections call for a prohibition on the funding of abortions themselves, for health care plans that cover abortions, on tax benefits relating to abortion, and on federal facilities and employees being used in the killings.

Then section 309 clearly reads that these limitations shall not apply to “situations where the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incense.”

It further reads that the limitations shall not apply in the case “where the pregnant female suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the pregnant female in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.”

Common sense legislation that respects and allows provisions for women who have been attacked, abused, taken advantage of, or placed in danger.

Legislation that also is standing up against the killing of innocent lives simply because someone was irresponsible, lazy, careless, negligent, or just plain-old heartless and uncaring.

Once again, and per usual, a simple actual reading of the actual legislation being presented shows the truth for those who are willing to seek it out.

So do not allow yourself to be persuaded by headline-grabbing, blog-clogging, radical lefty propaganda campaigns currently underway. Actually take the time and effort to read the legislation yourself. Then make your own decision.

But make no mistake, we Republicans love and care for the women in our lives, and we will not be “redefining rape” at all.

Rape is rape, and it is morally wrong. Just as morally wrong as the murder of innocent children whose only “fault” is one of being an inconvenient burden to an irresponsible parent.

Pensions Not the Problem

Last night the local Fox News affiliate here in Philadelphia chose to devote a large portion of their 10:00pm news program spotlighting what they call “The Pension Problem” in Philadelphia, New Jersey and other places. In calling pensions the problem, Fox misled the public and missed an opportunity to highlight the truth for tax-payers.

Once again, the local news media, this time Fox in particular, cow-towed to liberal politicians and let them off the hook for a mess that they singularly have created. But not only that, they also portrayed hard-working city and state employees as the problem, seemed to be trying to pit tax-payers against pensioners, and never once keyed on the real problem.

That real problem? Out of control spending on issues, services, and frankly outright budgetary ‘pork’ over decades and decades as well as regular, intentional under-funding of employee pensions. All of that going on with little to no outcry from media watchdogs.

Fox missed an opportunity when they once again identified the real problems improperly in stating that “Pensions are at the heart of budget troubles in the state of New Jersey and in the city of Philadelphia.”

Pensions are not the problem, politicians are the problem. Politicians who spend money that the city’s citizens simply do not have and never did have on programs that make them feel and look better.

No, I am not going to take any time whatsoever to point out any particular program or project that I feel falls into this category. I will make one simple statement, however. If any fiscal conservative individual had been put in charge, this would not have happened.

A critic of my position might call that a copout. Frankly it is a simple acknowledgement that there are far too many such spending debacles. Get yourself a copy of the budget and go through it for yourself. Why are we spending any money on some of the programs at all? What made them Philadelphia’s tax-payers responsiblity in the first place? There are many such items in every budget.

And further, Fox tried to blame a part of this on the stock market downturn. I have heard the exact same lament from Mayor Michael Nutter and other politicians. The fact is, the stock market should be almost a non-issue. If the city had funded the pensions fully all along, and invested that money safely, and not used it to cover other expenses, there wouldn’t be any problem right now, or those would be minimal.

Further, nothing will change in Philadelphia until the city follows the lead of the citizens of New Jersey and begins to toss the liberal Democrats who have run our town into the ground over decades out onto the streets.

Governor Chris Christie has begun the difficult task of straightening out New Jersey’s problems which were created by Democrats and RINO Republicans over decades in our neighbor state. Philadelphia needs exactly the same changes here in order to have any chance at saving itself from ruin.

Pensions are not some burdensome extravagance lavished upon privileged people. Speaking as someone who has been working for two decades with the promise of a city pension at the end of the line, what pensions are instead are a fringe benefit based on a solemn promise.

When I decided to take on the job of a Police Officer and go out onto the streets of Philadelphia day and night to fight crime, that promise of a decent pension at retirement was a huge reason for making that decision. The city gave me it’s promise of that pension, and I along with numerous other officers gave them decades of hard work in return.

It’s always bemoaned as some obvious fact that police officers “don’t get paid enough” for the work that we do. Chasing bad men with guns up dark alleys, searching through dark buildings for wanted criminals, standing in the middle of thousands of vehicles to direct traffic safely are all on the enormous list of dirty, dangerous jobs.

Most of us do this job because we love it, that’s true. Many, like me, are part of multiple familial generations of public servants for whom a part of the attraction is that knowledge that we are making a positive difference in our communities.

But we also have traded off that relatively low salary for dangerous, hazardous, and as we have seen highlighted here in Philadelphia over the past few years deadly work in exchange for benefits that are important to us including quality health coverage and secure retirement.

Again, those are things that the city of Philadelphia promised to us when we took this job decades ago. It was a promise the city made to my own father back in 1960 when he began to work for thirty years for this town as a police officer. It is a solemn promise that they owe both realistically and morally.

Now there is a little problem here. The “they” of whom I speak is a city. That means in functional terms it’s tax-payers have to share in footing the bill for these services. They also have to share the blame for the problems for continually voting in the same politicians and Party and mentality year after year.

Those fiscal problems can be solved by fully funding all pension obligations, providing basic services, and cutting out the pork entirely. Not a single politician or official working for the city of Philadelphia should have a ‘take-home car’ for instance. Why should tax-payers be paying for the vehicles themselves as well as costly maintenance, fuel, insurance, and so on? Outrageous on it’s face.

If the city of Philadelphia had real fiscal and social conservatives running the show, the budget and services would be slashed and taxes lowered rather than raised. This would make Philly attractive once again for residents and businesses. More businesses here, more jobs. The cycle would reverse.

But no, the liberal socialist mindset is not only alive and well in Philadelphia and most other big cities in America today, it has spread to our national government as well. Tax and spend, spend and tax: the liberal socialist mantra.

No, Fox Philly, pensions are not the problem. The out of control spending of politicians is the problem. And since the vast majority of those politicians and all of the power are liberal Democrats with socialist thought processes, there should be the proper direction for your news features and stories.

When the media begins to challenge the power structure that has been in place in Philadelphia for decades, begins to call a spade a spade in naming specifically the Democratic Party and the liberal spending policies as the true problem, then they might have some integrity and credibility.

Stop pitting citizens against citizens, tax payers against employees, one hard-working Philadelphian against another. Instead, Fox Philly and other media outlets, turn your Constitutionally-mandated and protected power against the powers-that-be who got us into this mess and keep us wallowing in it. That is your job. Go earn your pensions as we earn ours.

New Jersey gets same-sex Marriage right

All across the United States and across the spectrum of ideas, liberals and progressives have been attacking traditional American values for the better part of a century now. These attacks have gained momentum in recent decades thanks to persistent, pervasive, and often subversive campaigns by leftist organizations.

One of the most recent attacks came in the State of New Jersey, where a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage was being pushed through the legislature and being vocally supported by ultra-liberal Governor Jon Corzine.

In today’s editions of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Corzine actually implied that gay marriage is a “fundamental human right” and to deny it would be a violation of civil rights and liberties.

Thankfully, the New Jersey Senate did not see it that way. They voted by a solid 20-14 majority yesterday to protect marriage as solely between a man and a woman, as God intended.

The vote comes on the heels both of New York’s rejection of the idea and the electoral victory of Chris Christie over Corzine in November. Christie will take over the Governor’s office in 10 days and had promised to veto such a measure should it have passed.

The gay marriage issue is yet another in a surge of issues over these last few decades that liberals and progressives simply could not win in referendums at the ballot box, and so they have resorted to pressuring and bribing politicians, infiltrating the media, and bringing law suits in jurisdictions where the courts are known to be solidly liberal in their rulings.

 

Traditional Americans are beginning to both understand these threats and to grasp the seriousness of their nature when taken individually and as a whole as threats to our society. True mainstream America has begun to fight back and win.

In November 2008, California passed ‘Proposition 8’, which put an end to court-backed gay marriages begun months earlier and recognized marriage as only between a man and a woman. Maine voters then followed suit in November of last year.

The issue, of course, is not one of whether or not some State or Commonwealth may come up with some type of civil union legislation allowing couples of the same sex to reap the same civil benefits as opposite-sex couples.

The issue is the protection of a particular type of union called ‘Marriage’ or ‘Matrimony’ the basis for which was established by God Himself as being between a man and woman at the creation and which has been in existence for millenia.

If there are men out there who wish to insert their penis in another man’s anus or mouth and call that a normal, loving, sexual experience with a straight face, that is their business within the privacy of their own home. But for them to foist such an idea on the rest of society as something that we should all embrace as a normal, human act to be celebrated and sanctioned under the moral umbrella of ‘marriage’ is ludicrous on it’s face.

Marriage about morality? You bet it is. How does that jive with the legality of divorce and the practice of adultery? It doesn’t, frankly. Having gone through them myself, I can tell you that divorce and annulment are serious processes that should not be entertained, supported, or granted frivolously, and that certainly have no business being celebrated. And adultery is one of the dumbest, most hurtful things in which any married person could ever engage.

The marital ceremony is about bringing together a man and a woman as one, as were Adam and Eve by God. Marriage is about a loving celebration on a daily basis between a man and woman, husband and wife, in the course of developing more fully their own relationship with one another and with God, and in attempting to build a family. If you are not a man and a woman committed to these concepts, then you shouldn’t be married or entertaining the idea.

I am extremely fond of my dog, Petey. He is a good dog. Loyal, faithful, fun. We have lots of great times together. In fact, I would say without hesitation that I care more about Petey than some gay people care about their partners.

Should I be allowed to marry Petey? I mean, I love him, and would love to have society pay for his veterinarian bills. If I have to pay for the medical bills of some gay person’s ‘partner’ then why shouldn’t they pay for Petey’s vet bills?

Once men can marry men, and women can marry women, would we move next to allowing such further obscenities to the institution of marriage as me marrying my dog, or some farmer marrying his cow, or some shepherd marrying his sheep? What about a computer programmer marrying his computer-generated, life-like, animated, 3D female character? Where does it end?

Think that is a stupid, inane, ridiculous, or trivial thought process? Well that is exactly how many of us in normal society sees the idea of men marrying other men, and women marrying other women.

It has nothing at all to do with hate, or fear, or discrimination against gay men or lesbians. It is about protecting a particular God-given institution and Sacrament that is meant solely to be between a man and a woman. There is no Biblical or historical basis for, or constitutional right to gay marriage.

Currently there are 39 of the 50 U.S. states already fully and specifically prohibiting gay marriage with laws modeled after or pre-dating the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, including Pennsylvania, which thankfully despite the ultra-liberalism of the Philadelphia area actually remains the most socially conservative state in the northeast region.

We can no more make a gay person straight than we can make a stone come to life. Gay people were created that way by God. It is something with which they will have to go through life dealing. We don’t need to hate, we need to be compassionate. But compassion does not extend to supporting every action of an individual. It also does not mean surrendering our most cherished institutions and our God-given Sacraments to the ideology of a tiny minority.

The State Senate of New Jersey got it right yesterday when they voted to hold back the abomination of same-sex marriage. They also got it right a couple of months ago when they tossed Corzine out on his typical high-taxing, low-morality, America-hating can.

Here’s to hoping that Americans continue to awaken to what has been going on in our country and continues to take it back, as New Jersey may have begun.

Bell tolling for New Jersey residents

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Jon Corzine, elected as Governor of New Jersey in 2005

The results of electing a Democrat to a major executive office, especially at the state and federal levels as the Governor or President, can be seen no more clearly than what is happening in the state of New Jersey.

The residents of the Garden State elected the bearded hard-core liberal Jon Corzine as their Governor back in 2005 in a virtual landslide. Corzine won by a 53-43 margin over Republican candidate Doug Forrester. This was expected, as New Jersey is generally considered to be one of the strongest Democratic Party states in the nation.

That’s fine, the residents there can vote for whomever they wish. Problem is, they stick with the Democratic Party over and over and over.

The Dems continue to shaft them with tax and toll increases while lessening the actual services delivered, the voters then scream and holler and wring their hands…and then they go back out the next election and vote for more Democrats! It’s always amazing to me when people continue to do things that hurt them over and over again.

Now comes the news that the toll bridges connecting Philadelphia and South Jersey are going up by a full dollar beginning today. Who will be hurt the most by this? New Jersey residents, who use the bridges far more than their Philly counter-parts.

New Jersey residents come across into Philly to work every day. They come across to attend sporting and cultural events at places like Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Bank Park, the Wachovia Center, and more.

The toll increase is a de facto tax on New Jersey residents, yet another by the Democrats in charge there.

New Jersey residents seem to be infatuated with Democrats like Corzine, who spread their own personal wealth around to get elected (Corzine has spent tens of millions from his own vast personal wealth to overwhelm his political opponents, in effect buying his elections) while hurting the constituents’ pocketbooks.

During just his first six months in the Governor’s office, Corzine raised New Jersey residents taxes by $2 billion dollars. He forced into law a measure to get mandatory health care to Jersey residents, but did so without specifics. His measures are expected to cost at least $1 billion dollars.

Where do Jersey residents think the money is going to come from to pay for the program?

Corzine shoved a full 1% state sales tax increase down the residents throats, raising the rate from 6% to 7% by shutting down the state government in the summer of 2006.

While half of the tax goes to the state budget directly, further bloating the size of their government that will require repeated tax increases to support it, the other half went to ‘property tax relief’ in the form of checks mailed out to residents.

The fact is, the folks who received the “relief” checks relieved themselves. They paid it out of their own pockets!

The vast majority of New Jersey sales are paid by New Jersey residents, and every single purchase that they now make inside of their state costs them more. Those taxes fund a larger government, and will far-outstrip the brief happiness that getting one check in the mail created.

Everything they pay for every single day will cost more out of their pockets, thus eating up the “relief” check which they paid themselves.

But hey, they got a check last year, right? Again, the fact is, they will continue to pay for that check every single day, and it is only the beginning.

Corzine proposed an 800% toll increase earlier this year, and when the public nearly revolted he sunk into the background. He is now quietly supporting a plan in the state legislature to double tolls in the coming years.

New Jersey residents have a chance to begin to make a change in November, when they can vote for Republican Dick Zimmer in the U.S. Senate race over more of the Democratic taxation in the person of Frank Lautenberg.

History would suggest that Zimmer has little chance, and that Lautenberg will win with about 50% of the vote or so. New Jersey residents will then assure that there will be at least six more years of Democratic influence over their state, six more years of liberal policies that will severely hurt their households.

They will probably vote for Barack Obama for President as well, and his policies will raise their taxes even more from the federal level. They will then complain yet again. But they never seem to complain when it most matters – at the ballot box.

The ‘Retirement Living Information Center‘ recommends good places for folks to retire based on tax policies in that state. Their recommendations can also explain the reasoning that businesses normally use when deciding where to locate.

Their website instructs folks that: “If all other things are equal, a state with a lower burden is a more attractive place to retire than a state with a higher one. To get a true sense of which state is less expensive, you need to look at state and local tax burdens. Only then do the low tax states stand out…New Jersey residents paid 11.8%, topping the charts (as the highest taxation state).”

Which state is at the bottom, the best state for residents, the one that taxes the least? Alaska, home state of Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican Veep nominee. John McCain’s home of Arizona is in the bottom ten, another great state for residents to keep their own hard-earned money.

The bridge tolls are going up, taxes are up, services show no improvement for regular folks, Jersey residents are once again digging deeper into their pockets on a daily basis, but they continue to do nothing about it.

For whom does the bell toll? It clearly tolls for the residents of the state of New Jersey.