I am running for governor against Christie because I am far more qualified to shrink the size and cost of government, to cut taxes, business, and insurance costs, and to rebuild the New Jersey economy.
Growing up in Atlantic City, I heard stories of how the town thrived during the Depression because people who lost their jobs started new businesses. They never could have been successful if they were burdened with all the regulations and need for lawyers, consultants, permits, and political "access" that are par for the course for starting a business today.
I studied history, government, and business at Duke University, served in my local National Guard unit, and earned a law degree from Temple. Along the way, I learned what worked and didn't work in government - not only from books and professors, but also from African American business and political leaders of Atlantic City.
My family had few political or business connections. In 1975, I moved back to Atlantic City, and built a law practice from scratch. I started by taking the hard-work, low-pay cases that other lawyers didn't want.
I also formed a community organization to challenge the pay-to-play politics that had killed Atlantic City. In 1978, the casinos came and revived the town - and they also bailed out the politicians who had created the mess. Within 10 years, a handful of casinos were sending buckets of money to the city, county, and state governments.
I battled to limit the size and cost of county and local government so this windfall would make real estate in Atlantic County virtually tax free for both homes and businesses. I also fought efforts to expand state government so that we could keep our low 3 percent state income tax and 5 percent sales tax.
In 1986, I overcame Democratic and Republican opposition to win a seat on the Atlantic City Council. Two years later I became a county freeholder. But when I ran for mayor in 1990, Democratic and Republican leaders worked together to defeat me.
Since then, Republicans and Democrats have run New Jersey and Atlantic City their way. They have expanded the size of almost every layer of government. We now have some of the highest sales, income, and property taxes in the country. We also have high tolls, permit fees, small taxes on dozens of things, and hidden taxes that give us the fourth-highest electric rates in the country.
These taxes do little to benefit people. They mostly support complicated new laws that put almost every business in violation of something, and smother the economy with additional costs for lawyers, consultants, political donations, and endless lawsuits and permit applications.
There is nothing hard about fixing New Jersey's economy. We can bring back the prosperity of the 1980s by bringing back the low taxes, simple laws, and the smaller government we had in those days.
What makes this task difficult is that the people who now control both parties with their campaign cash want things to remain the way they are. They would rather kill the state than change things for the better for the average New Jersey taxpayer.
Seth Grossman is an attorney seeking the Republican nomination for governor in New Jersey's June 4 primary. E-mail him at email@example.com.