Op-Ed: NJ.com’s tone deaf “millennial” opinion piece talks down to taxpayers

By Brian Thomas
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Here’s a bit of wisdom which is all too often forgotten:just because you have an opinion it does not mean your opinion is correct.

Case in point is a new opinion piece by author Jason DeAlessi over at NJ.com. The idea that DeAlessi’s opinion is in anyway relevant to New Jersey residents, or that it should be construed as representing the opinions of a generation, is absolutely and completely ridiculous.

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The “millennial” in question represents the prototypical “silver spoon” personality and by no means should be deemed representative of the countless young adults who blatantly disagree with his position on taxes and the ever-increasing levels of unaffordability that impacts the lives of New Jerseyans.

Now, in full disclosure, I am 36 years old and not sure if I fit the time frame of a “millennial”; however, I do know that I do not fit the typical stereotypes nor DeAllessi’s silver spoon mentality.

I came from a single-mother home, solely supported by a loving mother who fought and struggled to provide for me and my younger sister without so much as a break even though she suffered from debilitating health issues.

Her work ethic and willingness to fight was instilled in me from a young age. I began my first job at 13 helping in construction continued that while working as a busboy and serving tables past college and into graduate school. This is not to pat my own back, not in any way whatsoever, but to demonstrate that I know the value of working hard for every dollar I have ever earned like so many New Jersey residents do.

I did not walk in anyone’s shoes; in fact, I made my own path in life that I am proud of traveling.

Now to the point: the fact that someone can speak down to the residents of New Jersey and suggest that we not only accept the status quo but be grateful to be paying so much is inconceivable. We all emphatically support our fire departments, police, and teachers (my wife being one of them); that is not the issue. Taxpayers have been overburdened and then asked year after year to pay more… those firefighters, police officers, and teachers included.

There is a middle ground which can be obtained, when the political will arises, to fix the financial constraints hurting New Jersey residents who are more often than not living paycheck to paycheck. But to kick back and say “just accept it” or that “you are only successful because of it” is outright ludicrous and highly disingenuous to taxpayers.

Tell the families struggling every day to pay their electric bills that they should be grateful; tell the single parents that they should be happy to hand over more of their finances; and tell senior citizens that if they cannot afford to be live anymore then they should just push through the struggle all to support a state that does not offer so much as a hint of compassion to them.

Better yet, tell me that I am wrong and that I do not understand the struggles facing New Jerseyans. I stand up for the residents who feel they are drowning from New Jersey’s waves of taxation without so much as a life vest because I am one. For everything I have accomplished in my life – owning a home, working for a governor, building a future for my family – I am proud. No state, program, or other person built what I am and what I own. I did.

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Brian Thomas is the executive director of Citizens for Accountable Taxation, Inc. and former Senior Regional Director for Governor Chris Christie. He is also a Monmouth University duel graduate and current Neptune City council candidate.

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