Yesterday I paid a landscaper a pretty penny to blow all of my leaves to the curb for the usual second pick up of the season, only to find out they will not be picked up. My next door neighbor called and the official answer he got is...."the town is broke."

Oh we're not alone, many New Jersey towns are struggling with their budgets. The explanation I got for our towns woes is, they spent a ton of money in legal fees and consultants fees in fighting and studying a proposed development project that has now been scrapped. Ok, but this is a fairly affluent town with pretty high property tax rates, so where does all of our tax money go?

Surely picking up a few leaves isn't going to break the bank. Trash collection is only once a week. They stopped bulk trash pick up a while ago. There is very little crime in town. We have nice schools and......ding ding ding! We have the answer. Almost 75 percent of our property taxes goes to the school system.

We pay all of the people in the system a nice wage, especially all of the administrators (and there are many) and some of the long time teachers. When they retire, we continue to pay them and their top of the line benefits. Same with the police department. Hey, I am truly happy for those folks who got in when the gettin was good, but now that the chickens have come home to roost, the party has to end. This system is unsustainable.

Congratulations to the people who got in on it, my beef is not with you. My beef is with the system. We can no longer pay the salaries and pensions we have in the last 30 years and survive. IT IS UNSUSTAINABLE!!! End of story.

How do we fix it? Well the governor has a tool kit, but the legislature won't pass the rest of the bills into law to make it happen. NEWS FLASH! It ain't never gonna happen. The unions representing these public workers have a lot of money and they use it to support people in office to keep it going. So if you aren't in the system, too bad for you buddy. You can stay here and slog it out and hope it will get better or join many of the folks who worked in the public sector in New Jersey who have now retired and HEAD FOR THE HILLS!

More accurately, head south to Delaware, the Carolinas or Florida. Anywhere but here, cause you just can't afford to live here with this tax burden. You can knock yourself out trying to fight it and support all the Chris Christie's you want for the next 20 years and IT AIN'T GONNA CHANGE! I hate saying that, but it's true.

I have family and friends in Southern Italy, where the mafia is alive and well, and they all treat it like a force of nature. "There's nothing you can do about it, it's part of the fabric of the culture", is what they tell me. Well guess what, you either pay the vig (property taxes AND income taxes) or they'll come put you away and taka you housa too. Oh yeah I forgot to mention our healthy income tax that was implemented in the 1970's to stave off high property taxes. How's that workin out for us?!?!

 The state government and the people entrenched in it have built a powerful force that is not going to relinquish power easily or anytime soon. If you want to see your situation in New Jersey get better, than look at it in the rear view mirror of your moving van. Don't worry these guys will find other suckers to take your place!