When Government Mandates “Charity”, Everyone Pays Higher Prices, But Very Few Benefit
By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
??? Cape Savings recently changed from a “mutual savings bank” owned by its customers to a new corporation owned by shareholders.?? Customers like me were offered up to 7,820,000 shares of the new Cape Bancorp. Inc. (CBNJ) at $10 per share.?? Boardwalk Bank shareholders also got shares of the new corporation when the two banks merged.
??? As part of this deal, the new Cape Bank “donated” $782,000 cash, and $5.47 million worth of stock to a new “Cape Bank Charitable Foundation” run by the bank’s officers.
??? I did not buy the stock because I did not want to donate 8% of my investment to a charity controlled by others.?? I invest to make a profit.?? When I give to charity, I give to whom I choose.? (CBNJ opened at $9.80 per share this week.)
??? Later, people in the business told me that Cape Savings was forced to put 8% of its value into this “charity”.?? New Jersey’s Banking Commission would not approve the deal without it.? I was also told that every bank in New Jersey is forced to make similar “gifts”.
??? Earlier this month, the Current reported that Commerce Bank “donated” $200,000 to 50 public libraries, with $4,000 given to the one in Atlantic City.?? Why that “charity”??? The Atlantic City Public Library (and the one in Ocean City) is stuffed with so much cash they do not know what to do with it.??? NJ public libraries are funded by a fixed share of property taxes – regardless of need.?? This gives public libraries in casino and resort towns like Atlantic City and Ocean City lots of money, but too few people to spend it on.
??? Government mandated “charity” in New Jersey is not limited to banks.?? Look at your electric bill.?? A “Societal Benefits Charge” adds 2.55% to your bill, and gives that money to people who say they can’t afford to pay their electric bill (although many get other government handouts).?? A “Non-Utility Generation Charge” adds 8.55%.?? This pays top dollar to wealthy business owners for windmills, solar panels, and a new refrigeration system for a Millville supermarket, etc.
??? Adding $11.10 to a $100 electric bill each month may seem small.?? But that 11% is also added to the cost of running every streetlight, store, hospital, and casino in the state!
??? The South Jersey Gas Company does something similar, but it does not itemize those charges on its bills.
??? Doctors and hospitals also pad their bills to pay for “charity?.?? A big chunk of it is for “illegal immigrants”-that is foreigners who are in New Jersey illegally.
??? The U.S. Postal Service recently raised its rates.?? Part of that increase paid for its “charity” canned food drive.?? The Atlantic County Utilities Authority forces every local government to pay a big fee for every piece of garbage picked up in the county.?? A lot of that money goes for “charities” chosen by that government agency.?? The ACUA runs canned food drives, contributes heavily to all sorts of local charities, and runs expensive programs to teach kids in school that more laws, higher taxes, and less freedom are needed to “save the planet”.
??? And of course, New Jersey law forces every casino to pay 1.25% of their gross casino income to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.?? But a lot of that money is not reinvested in anything.? Instead it is given to all sorts of ?charities”.
??? All of these government-run “charity” programs have a lot in common.?? They raise taxes and prices on things we all need, and are a form of taxes.?? But we have no say in how the money is spent.?? Most of the programs are not needed, do not deal with the root causes of problems, or duplicate the work of other government programs or charities.?? Much of this “charity” seems to benefit politicians or their friends more than anyone else.
??? Although Liberty and Prosperity is recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt charity, we have yet to get a single “donation” from any bank, utility, hospital, or casino.?? That says a lot about what we are up against – and why we need your help to continue our work.?? I invite you to attend our reception and book signing with Steve Lonegan of Americans for Prosperity on Sunday, June 8, at the Carisbrooke Inn in Ventnor.?? Tickets are $75 for one – $100 for two.
For more information, visit www.libertyandprosperity.org or contact Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman at email@example.com or 609-927-7333.??? Seth Grossman hosts a two way talk radio program every Saturday from 8am – 9am on WVLT Vineland, 92.1 FM.