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Letter to the editor APP.com
State’s bistros need beer, wine licenses
NOVEMBER 8, 2009
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BYOB is un-American. The New Jersey policy that allows retaurant patrons to bring their own wine and beer for consumption into an establishment cripples one of the foundations of this country — small businesses.
Only larger, usually corporate bars can afford a New Jersey liquor license, which averages $500,000 per license. This price is prohibitively expensive for a small retaurant.
As a result, the small corner bistro must depend solely on the markup on food for profits. The markup on beer and wine is where the money is. That is why bars can offer meals at such low prices.
Given the high cost of food, labor, taxes and operating costs, it is almost impossible for a small BYOB restaurant to stay in business.
New Jersey needs beer and wine licenses. A limited license, at an affordable price, would allow small bistros to sell beer and wine only, and only as an accompaniment to food.
More businesses mean more jobs, which means lower social services, which means lower taxes. More retail sales generates more tax revenue, which means lower income taxes.
The patrons would benefit as well, as the price of a meal would drop (because restaurants would realize profits from the alcohol).
But our cowardly state senators bow to lobbying groups. The New Jersey Restaurant Association fears that creating a state beer and wine license would devalue the liquor licenses held by bars. But a beer and wine license is a different category entirely.
Shame on our senators for ignoring the needs of small businesses and not creating a New Jersey beer and wine license.
POINT PLEASANT BEACH
Where’s sense of decency?
Kudos to the Marlboro school board for standing up to the extortion tactics of the teachers union. (“Marlboro school workers campaign for new contract,” Oct. 31.)
Threats like “end this before it gets any worse” stated by New Jersey Education Association spokesman Steve Wollmer are simply unbelievable. Such self-serving aloofness is incomprehensible in today’s climate.
Do these elite union members have any sense of decency and morals left at all — or are they blinded by greed? And these are the people we trust with educating our children? Heaven help us.
It should be interesting to watch teachers and education department employees knocking on doors for support of salary and benefit increases the residents couldn’t dream of in today’s environment. They should get a great welcome.
While citizens do their best to maintain a bare bones existence, these education employees are knocking on the doors of the very homes that many residents are doing their best to keep from foreclosure. Yet they have the unmitigated gall to ask citizen support for salary increases and benefit increases from the very people who have lost most benefits (or pay a small fortune for them), and forget what a salary increase is.
What happened to fairness? Are they at all aware of today’s economic climate? Shouldn’t they be just glad they still have a job?
I’m sure there will be a lot of very embarrassed door knockers in the ranks of teachers and education department employees. And they wonder why the public has such a low opinion of the NJEA. Hang in there Marlboro — we are all in your corner.
$8,000 homebuyers tax credit extended
President Obama reups popular tax credit through June 2010 and expands it to include people with higher incomes and some who want to trade up into new homes.
By Les Christie, CNNMoney.com staff writer
November 6, 2009: 3:18 PM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — President Obama signed an extension and expansion of the first-time homebuyers tax credit on Friday.
The $8,000 credit was scheduled to lapse on Dec. 1 but will now be in effect through the end of June. Homebuyers must sign a contract before April 30 and close by June 30. The income limits were also raised: Single buyers can now earn up to $125,000 and still get the full credit while a married couple can earn $225,000.
The bill also made more homeowners eligible to claim the credit on their taxes. First-time buyers — those who have not owned a home in the past three years — still qualify for an $8,000 rebate. But now people who want to trade up can also qualify. Those who have owned and occupied a residence for at least five years out of the past eight can claim a $6,500 tax credit if they close on a purchase by the end of June.
“The new version of the tax credit has the potential to stimulate the housing market even more than the old version due to the fact that more people will qualify under the new rules,” said Gibran Nicholas, chairman of the CMPS Institute, an organization that certifies mortgage bankers and brokers.
Nicholas provided four scenarios illustrating how the tax credit rules for existing homebuyers will apply:
• Harry owned a home in 2001 and 2002 but sold it to relocate for a job. He would qualify for the $8,000 first-time-buyer credit because he has not owned a home in the past three years.
• Sue purchased a home in 2004 and has lived there since. If she decides to buy a new home, she would qualify for the $6,500 tax credit because she has lived in the same residence for five consecutive years in the past eight.
• Jane purchased her home in 2002, lived there for five consecutive years before she rented it out in 2007. She would qualify because she was an owner/occupier for at least five consecutive years in the past eight.
• Mark purchased a home in 2006 and lived there for the past three years. He would not qualify because he is neither a first-time homebuyer nor someone who lived in the same primary residence for five consecutive years out of the past eight.
How it helps the economy
Legislators and industry experts expect that the credit will encourage buyers such as Jane and Sue to move up their purchase plans.
“This bill will shift demand from the second half of 2010 into the first half,” said Pat Newport, a real estate analyst with IHS Global Research. “As a result, home sales and prices will get a boost in the first half of 2010, with payback in the second.”
That’s not a bad thing, according to Bill Kilmer, vice president of advocacy for the National Association of Home Builders. It’s important to stabilize real estate markets quickly to help bring the economy out of its tailspin.
The original $8,000 tax credit appears to have helped accomplish that goal: Home prices have inched up the past few months, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.
Would it have happened anyway?
But critics still see the program as being ineffectual because it rewards buyers who would have purchased a home anyway. Newport estimates that fewer than 400,000 of the 2 million who have claimed the original credit made their purchases solely because of the tax advantages.
Furthermore, buyers do not, in reality, receive the entire benefit. “The credit helped prices stabilize,” said Newport. “So the credit has been split between seller and buyer. The sellers are getting higher prices and buyers paying more than they would have without it.”
The housing industry, however, is pleased with the extension, although the credit has not been quite as effective as they hoped.
The industry thought the credit would provide a ripple effect, with sales to first timers triggering as many three additional “move-up” sales.
That did not happen, according to Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.
“It did not have the chain reaction impact it was supposed to,” he said. “Instead, many first-timers turned to vacant, foreclosed or other distressed properties the sellers of which were unlikely to be move-up buyers.”
So, the tax credit helped prop up the low end of the market without having much impact on the rest of the spectrum. Expanding the benefit to existing homeowners should boost those segments. That should produce additional benefits, according to Yun.
“Preventing further price decline or even nudging prices up a bit stabilizes housing wealth, which makes homeowners more comfortable in their spending,” said Yun. “They’re more likely to go out to the stores or buy a new car. That provides a boost to the overall economy.”
Farmingdale man charged with leaving scene of fatal Wall crash
On revoked list until 2030
By MICHELLE SAHN
A Farmingdale man, whose driving privileges are suspended until 2030, has been charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident on Route 35 this weekend.
Walter Poland III, 46, of West Main Street, was arrested Monday. He was charged with knowingly leaving scene of accident resulting in death and causing a death while driving on the revoked list, said First Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Peter E. Warshaw Jr.
The Farmingdale man was driving a 1996 Dodge Ram van that was fashioned into an ice cream truck, said Warshaw. He was not selling ice cream at the time the accident occurred.
Authorities said the accident victim was a man in his 50s, but they cannot release his name because his family has not yet been notified. He was struck just after 7 p.m. Sunday on Route 35 North, near 18th Avenue.
Poland has been convicted of driving under the influence seven times and his license is suspended until 2030, said Michael Horan, a state Motor Vehicle Commission spokesman.
Poland’s first DUI offense occurred in September 1981, in another state, records show. His license was suspended in 1982 for DUI and refusal to submit to a Breathalyzer test, then again for DUI in 1987, May 1988, November 1988, 1992 and 2006, according to Horan.
In some of those cases, Poland was also charged with driving with a suspended license, records show. His license has also been suspended administratively more than a dozen times, often for surcharge-related issues, records show.
Poland’s bail was set at $150,000 cash-only, and before he can be released, he must turn in his car registration to Wall police.
“The Wall Township Police Department did a tremendous job in the investigation of this matter,” Warshaw said. “Their tenacious effort led to a very quick arrest.”
Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Wall police at 732-449-4500.