Sunday, March 04, 2007

Woodworking advice

In the never-ending quest to maintain our 91-year-old house, I have come across the need to replace some kitchen cabinets. At a couple-hundred bucks each, it makes sense to build them rather than buy them. The only major tool needed for such an endeavor, not already in my shop, is a table saw.

I've looked at a couple of different models, but would like some advice on which model will work best for an amateur like myself. I can afford something in the $500-600 range. My shop area is set up only for 120V power, and is in a basement with fairly low overheads and a not-quite-level floor. Here are the candidates:

Grizzly's G0444.
Pro: I've heard good things about Grizzly tools over the years. Nice fence.
Con: Stamped steel wings. Shipping cost. I could drive 3 hours each way to get one from the showroom.

Jet's 708100 JWTS-10.
Pro: I've heard good things about Jet tools over the years.
Con: Stamped steel wings. Shipping cost ($149), but apparently has free shipping today.

Ridgid TS3650.
Pro: I can walk into Home Depot and walk out with this saw. Twenty-six 5-star reviews on the Home Depot web site. The wings appear to be cast rather than stamped. 12-months no payments/no interest if I use my Home Depot card.
Con: I don't see any, but could be wrong.

So can anyone out there help me?

Friday, March 02, 2007

New Jersey 2008 State Budget - Municipal Aid

Enlighten New Jersey notes today the inequality in state aid to municipalities.

As required by law, each Legislative Distinct (LD) has approximately the same number of residents, and yet proposed municipal aid ranges from a low of $23,625,299 in LD-24 to a high of $119,422,814 in LD-29. The proposed average municipal aid per Legislative Distinct is $43,178,397.

Proposed state aid for each municipality and Legislative District can be viewed here and New Jersey population statistics as of December, 2006 can be found here.
Why are there differences? Enlighten doesn't come out and say it, but the two districts cited provide a clue. District 24 has a large number of small municipalities, 31 in all, receiving an average of $768,558.

District 29, on the other hand, covers Hillside Township and a portion of Newark. The average state aid in 29 is $59,721,407; Hillside will receive $5,676,440, while the tab for Newark is $113,766,374.

The observant will note that in addition to the difference in character (rural vs. urban), District 24 is represented in the Senate and Assembly by Republicans, while 29 is a Democrat District. Surprise!

Actually, it gets better. Breaking down the municipalities statewide by their representation, an interesting trend emerges. All-Democrat districts (Senator + 2 Assemblymen) receive an average of $5.3 million (per municipality) in total state aid, while all-Republican districts average $1.59 million. Here's the breakdown by representation:

Senate Assembly Average Aid Average Increase
D D, D
$5,304,771.40 1.95%
D R, D
$2,582,107.63 1.91%
R D, D
$2,106,762.21 1.91%
R R, D
$3,081,757.84 1.91%
R R, R1
$1,589,208.16 1.88%

Breaking it down by county, it's clear that this year's state budget remains, as always, a vehicle for transferring cash to the New York area, at the expense of the rest of the state. Hudson County, with the largest starting aid level, also leads the way in growth at 1.97%

Average Aid
Average Aid
Hudson $15,408,884 $15,711,918 1.97%
Essex $9,831,517 $10,023,886 1.96%
Mercer $8,766,272 $8,938,238 1.96%
Middlesex $6,204,436 $6,324,626 1.94%
Passaic $5,883,483 $5,996,404 1.92%
Union $5,791,894 $5,904,388 1.94%
Camden $3,359,636 $3,424,738 1.94%
Ocean $2,129,170 $2,169,268 1.88%
Somerset $2,074,086 $2,113,291 1.89%
Monmouth $2,036,287 $2,075,099 1.91%
Bergen $1,824,555 $1,858,832 1.88%
Cumberland $1,781,920 $1,816,349 1.93%
Morris $1,717,062 $1,749,088 1.87%
Atlantic $1,679,125 $1,710,660 1.88%
Burlington $1,630,726 $1,661,178 1.87%
Salem $1,619,646 $1,651,477 1.97%
Gloucester $1,512,750 $1,540,960 1.86%
Cape May $1,390,098 $1,416,850 1.92%
Hunterdon $815,436 $831,054 1.92%
Warren $780,444 $795,219 1.89%
Sussex $739,841 $753,266 1.81%
Grand Total $2,993,880 $3,051,477 1.92%

Furthermore, larger municipalities continue to grow faster than smaller ones:

Municipality Type 0607
Average Aid
Average Aid
City $11,846,443 $12,079,345 1.97%
Town $4,418,015 $4,503,779 1.94%
Township $2,953,055 $3,009,313 1.91%
Village $1,629,736 $1,660,126 1.86%
Borough $1,043,348 $1,062,833 1.87%
Grand Total $2,993,880 $3,051,477 1.92%

Combining the representation cut with municipality type, the disparity in state aid to municipalities becomes abundantly clear.

All-Democrat All-Republican
City $ 22,981,789.73 $ 4,145,897.80
Town $ 9,016,540.40 $ 1,996,690.78
Township $ 3,909,956.64 $ 2,266,959.05
Village $ 1,891,688.50 $ 1,428,564.00
Borough $ 1,470,199.91 $ 817,775.29

The budget does not, as the governor said in his address, provide "an across-the-board two percent increase in municipal aid." It provides additional aid at less than the 2% he claims, and in the most divisive and partisan manner possible. If he had any shame, Governor Corzine would resign after submitting this garbage.

1 Posted edited 3/2 9:20 AM to fix a typo