As a small business owner and taxpayer in Morris County, New Jersey, I face two issues that are near and dear to many others in our county: taxes and the business climate. I believe that these issues are directly related and it is only by bringing business back that we can prevent Morris County residents from being taxed out of their homes.
As a business owner, I am proud that I am able to help my employees to put a roof over their children’s heads and food on their tables but it is also a great responsibility that cannot be taken lightly. Here in Morris County, like anywhere else in the world, business climates change.
In this county, where large and small businesses alike have been leaving since the late 1980’s, the swings in the income or workload of any small business can be very substantial as the disposable income of patrons fluctuates. Whether you are in business as a florist, mechanic, doctor, cleaner, carwash, dentist, lawyer or anything else, when things get slow you must make tough decisions. You can take away bonuses people count on, cut salaries or resort to layoffs so that you remain profitable or you, as the business owner, can take little or nothing for yourself in order to avoid negatively impacting employees and their families.
Since opening my business in 2004, I have always chosen to tighten my own belt in order to protect others when business slows down. This means that I am either depleting my savings or paying my own obligations late to protect my employees.
As a Morris County tax payer, I, like the rest of you, am faced with Average annual taxes per resident are $10,077, earning us a spot among only nine counties in the entire nation- that’s right, the nation- with average annual property taxes over $10,000. With taxes being so high and the penalties for paying late being so low, many people, myself included, whether they own a business, have kids in college, are doing major home improvements, have serious medical problems and a host of other reasons will choose to pay taxes late which amounts to a form of low interest loan.
Unfortunately, there are those who will find themselves unable to make up the shortfall, whether on a fixed income, faced with job loss or otherwise.
We must restore economic prosperity in Morris County. We must bring businesses back to Morris County. We will restore viable economic opportunities for our young people, restore jobs for those who have lost them or are currently working at jobs far beneath their skill level, and ease the tax burden on the residents of Morris County.
This can be done and I have a plan which I have touched upon many times in speeches over the last few months. I am asking for your vote on June 6th so that together we can restore prosperity to Morris County.
Heather Darling is a practicing attorney and successful businesswoman who is a New Jersey Republican candidate for Morris County Freeholder.