Elizabeth residents struggle with weak income as politicians get rich off taxes

According to the MIT living wage calculator, a living wage in Elizabeth is $17.53/hour for someone with no children. The living wage is the hourly rate that an individual in a household must earn to support his or herself and their family.

The same calculations show a living wage that each individual must earn to support the family in a household with two adult workers and two children is $39.24, so obviously people in Elizabeth have been left behind and they are falling fast.

Chances are, you are already aware that your paycheck is not enough to cover your living expenses but there is a way to vent your frustrations and possibly get some relief.

Instead of voting for the politicians who hold power —the ones running on Column A on the Democratic primary election ballot— you may select the challengers whose names appear in Column B.

The Column B state Senate candidate is Angela Aley-Wimbush, a pro-choice Democratic woman who is challenging incumbent Joseph Cryan, a politician who packed ten of his family members into government jobs and pockets more than $330,000 a year for himself at taxpayer expense.

Greedy Joe Cryan pockets more than $330,000 a year at taxpayer expense, which is about six times as much as typical a Elizabeth household lives on!

Cryan gets a $49,000 salary from his state Senate job plus he has a compensation package worth $273,704 in 2023 as executive director at the Middlesex County Utilities Authority.

Cryan’s $332,704 taxpayer-funded income is more than six times as much as an average household in Elizabeth, where the median household income is $50,647.

The most common employment sectors for those who live in Elizabeth are Transportation & Warehousing (10,366 people), Health Care & Social Assistance (7,258 people), and Retail Trade (6,896 people). These occupations often involve low-wage jobs and the minimum wage remains below the hourly rate that is a living wage.

Ultimately, any meaningful minimum wage change will need to come from Trenton or Washington, but Angela Aley-Wimbush has the experience to get it done – not just once, but to have it permanently tied to the rate of inflation so we don’t have to have these fights again.

More importantly, she cares about people like you and others who rely on an economy based on fair wages, while Cryan clearly does not. His priorities appear to be taking care of himself, his family members and the campaign contributors who have given him about $5 million over the course of his political career.

But for some, a higher minimum wage isn’t enough. Angela Aley-Wimbush said that we need to have programs that help residents who haven’t participated in the workforce develop the soft skills they need to be competitive.

That’s one of the reasons why Angela Aley-Wimbush will propose a program that would hire local residents with little or no work experience to perform useful jobs while providing them soft skills training, like resume writing, so that they are prepared to enter the workforce.

That being said, Angela Aley-Wimbush knows a higher minimum wage doesn’t do enough if there aren’t jobs here.

To create good jobs and provide more opportunities for working class individuals, Angela Aley-Wimbush will seek to recover funds that have been given away as corporate welfare during her opponent’s tenure in Trenton.

There are actually thousands of tax breaks and subsidies for the wealthy provided by federal, state and local governments, but corporate welfare and welfare for the rich has utterly failed to live up to its promises.

The ultra-conservative Americans for Prosperity – New Jersey joined a bunch of liberal organizations —among them New Jersey Working Families, New Jersey Policy Perspective, New Jersey Citizen Action, New Jersey Work Environment Council and Make the Road New Jersey — to support an investigation into the state’s Economic Development Authority.

Gov. Chris Christie’s administration surpassed $8 billion in “corporate welfare” so his successor and Cryan created a seven-year, $14 billion package of business tax breaks plus $3 billion in subsidies for nuclear plants.

So, not only have New Jersey taxpayers been handing over their hard-earned money to corporations that don’t need it, but they have gotten little to nothing in return.

To receive tax subsidies, corporations are supposed to create a certain amount of jobs. However, a recent audit by the New Jersey Comptroller discovered that the EDA awarded $11 billion in tax subsidies — in many cases without verifying that the companies had created those jobs.  

Angela Aley-Wimbush that is not all that our schools will be doing. By being open from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm, working parents (especially working mothers who are heads of households) will be able to drop off and pick up their children from school and still get to work on time, while their children participate in enrichment programs and eliminate the need for costly child-care before and after school.

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