Since his first run for Congress in 2016, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) has waged a one-man war on what he calls Moocher States – places take more than they send to federal government each year.
Gottheimer pledged to level the playing field – he calls them claw backs – to bring more federal funds back to New Jersey’s 5th district.
“Jersey has been treated like the Moocher States’ piggy bank — by paying everyone else’s tab for their roads, bridges, and first responders, while our taxes keep going up,” Gottheimer said. “It’s a joke and it’s why we are fighting so hard for these grants and resources, to help even the playing field here.”
The two-term congressman’s Return on Investment report issued on Wednesday touts a 108% increase in federal tax dollars “clawed backed” to the North Jersey congressional district since 2016.
Gottheimer says 5th district families receive an average annual savings of $448 as a result of his claw backs.
“In our current crisis, our county and town budgets are being stretched to the max, with local municipalities facing serious revenue shortfalls and budget gaps due to the pandemic’s impact on economic activity in North Jersey,” Gottheimer said. ““One way we could help get our property taxes down was to claw more of the dollars we sent to Washington every year back to our communities.”
According to Gottheimer, his Return on Investment program has resulted in: $2 million in firefighter assistance grants to a dozen 5th district municipalities, $603,000 in staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants; $4.1 million in Nonprofit Security Grant Program grants to boost security for tax-exempt groups like houses of worship, schools and non-profits; and $1.17 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grants.
“There are all of these grant programs out there for everything from firetrucks to security grants to protect churches and temples, but, historically, we just hadn’t applied for many of them. And the person in my seat didn’t push for them,” Gottheimer said. “The result was that all of these other states, that paid far less in federal taxes than we do, states that I call Moocher States, kept getting these grants, giving relief to their taxpayers, not ours.”
Gottheimer also took aim at Mitch McConnell’s refusal to send federal funds to New Jersey to help the state recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The fact that the Senate Majority Leader and others from Red States – from Moocher States – are refusing to help states like ours during the COVID pandemic is absolutely absurd,” the two-term congressman said. “We are always there for them during a hurricane, flood, tornado – you name it – and we reach into our pockets to support their families. It’s only right that they do the same and stand by communities like ours that were in the eye of the COVID storm. Nearly 3,700 people died in the counties that make up my district. It’s a travesty.”Gottheimer Moocher State clawback report August 2020