Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks at a President Ford Committee Reception in Union, New Jersey.

October 13, 1976

THANK YOU, Matt, thank you, Cliff, thank you, Millicent, thank you, Dave, thank you, Tom Kean, thank all of you. You know, I have said it before, but I want to say it again. I saw a sign down the road that says "Jersey Loves Jerry." But let me reciprocate--Jerry loves Jersey.

I owe a great debt of gratitude to the New Jersey delegation that went to Kansas City and came through with, I think, flying colors. And it depended upon the great organization and the support of Tom Kean, Cliff Case, Millicent, Matt, and everybody else. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Incidentally, I want you to make darned sure that you reelect Matt, that you reelect Millicent, you elect Dave, so we can have a far better Congress to help Cliff Case in the next 4 years.

You know out in Kansas City, in my acceptance speech, I said I was going to not concede a single State, a single vote, and we were going to campaign from the snowy banks of Minnesota to the sandy plains of Georgia; we are doing it. We were in New York yesterday. We had a great reception in Flatbush, in Brooklyn, in Manhattan. We have been in Yonkers and White Plains and Rockland and Orange County. We were in New Jersey, had two great stops, including this one, and I'm encouraged. I know, I feel we're going to carry New Jersey November 2, period.

Now, one of the most important issues in this campaign, especially here in New Jersey, is taxes. The people of New Jersey have already heard four sides of the tax issue--two from Governor Carter and two from Governor Byrne.1

1 Governor Brendan T. Byrne of New Jersey.

You know firsthand how risky it is when a candidate says one thing about taxes on the campaign trail and then does something else when he gets into office. You know what it's like when a candidate faces the voters with a smile-[laughter]--and then turns his back on them later. You've been burned before. I will just say this: I think Mr. Carter has tried to do the same thing to you. Let me give you some examples.

First, back in February, Mr. Carter said he wanted to eliminate the home mortgage interest deduction on your Federal income tax return. Not long after that he said maybe he wouldn't eliminate it. He said, as it stands now--nobody is sure, certainly Mr. Carter, just what he wants to do on this particular item.

Second, a few weeks ago, Mr. Carter suggested that he would raise income taxes for anybody from the mean- to the medium-income tax level, which means about $14,000 per person. Now he says, that isn't what I meant. He says he has not studied the subject at all, but he will let us know how he really feels after he has been in office for a few months. Let me talk straight to you. That's too darned late. I think the people of New Jersey ought to know, along with 215 million other Americans, before the election what Mr. Carter really intends to do about your taxes after the election.

Third, Mr. Carter proposed putting a tax on all church properties other than the church building itself. He wants to tax church-supported schools, church-supported hospitals, church-supported orphanages, and church-supported retirement homes. Those activities are just as much a part of the church's work as the physical place of worship, and we shouldn't let him get away with that kind of a tax policy.

Fourth, Mr. Carter--his platform that he embraced and many people say he wrote--calls for between $100 billion and $200 billion in additional Federal spending, yet he talks about balancing the budget without raising your income taxes. He can't have it both ways. He can't talk about compassion and not have compassion for the hard-working, middle-income taxpayers in this country.

The American people have a big heart, but too many politicians mistake that big heart for a blank check. And I don't think the American people want to give that kind of' authority to a candidate for the Presidency of the United States who says one thing on Monday, another thing on Tuesday. He is on both sides of the issue, and he cannot be trusted with this kind of a statement or that kind of a platform.

We have got to beat him in New Jersey and in Michigan and in 48 other States. It's not an act of compassion to prevent a young couple from buying a home because Federal borrowing for deficit spending sends interest rates up. It's not an act of compassion to put generations of Americans deeply in debt and mortgage their future before they are born. You worked very hard, every one of you here and all of those several thousand outside. You worked very hard for the money that you earn. Your tax dollars should work just as hard for you as you worked for them. You know who pays the bill for every campaign promise. You know when the bills come due you get stuck with them, predicated on false promises before an election.

In the last 2 years I vetoed some 60 various bills sent down to the Oval Office from Capitol Hill. My vetoes saved you $9½ billion. I am darned proud of that record. And if we had had more stalwart Republicans up there to help with those vetoes, we could have saved you another $16 billion. So, that's a good reason why we ought to change the Congress and get the right kind of a Congress for the next 2 years.

Mr. Carter talks about tax reform. I think the best tax reform that we can talk about is tax reduction--cut spending, cut taxes, keep more of your own money. For the last 10 years now Federal spending has grown at an alarming rate, thanks to an overtaxing, overspending, overburdening Congress.

The budget that I submitted to the Congress last January sought to cut the rate of growth in Federal spending by 50 percent. I asked for a $28 billion tax reduction, coupled with a $28 billion reduction in Federal spending. The Congress sent me a $10 billion tax reduction and an $18 billion increase in Federal spending. That's going the wrong way, and that's another reason why we have got to change this Congress in this election.

The most meaningful tax reduction, the one you understand the best, the one that helps the middle-income taxpayers the most, is an increase in the personal exemption from $750 to $1,000. If you take a family of three children, a husband and wife, one taxpayer--that family gets, under my proposal to increase the personal exemption by $250--that family would get $1,250 more, more, more in tax reduction. That's the kind of a meaningful tax reduction that you ought to get, 215 million Americans ought to get. And that's what President Ford proposed, and that's what he will propose in January of next year as President of the United States.

As I have said before, the middle-income taxpayer gets shortchanged. He has been shortchanged for the last 22 years. He has been shortchanged by a Congress controlled for 22 years by the Democratic Party.

Mr. Carter calls our tax laws a disgrace. Well, he ought to look back and see the pages of history. What political party has controlled both the House and the Senate for the last 22 years? They have passed every tax law; they have passed every loophole. I think you know where to put the blame. Let's make sure, darned sure we get more good Republicans from the State of New Jersey to go down and help us with this tax problem in the next session of the Congress.

We have got less than 3 weeks to go. It hardly seems possible. It is a very crucial 3 weeks, but the decisions that people make in the State of New Jersey, New York, Michigan, and 47 others, those decisions will determine the direction of the American people in our great country for the first 4 years of our third century.

Mr. Carter and his party platform offer more promises, more programs, more spending, more taxes, more inflation, and more unemployment. I say the Government is already too big, too powerful, too costly, too remote, and too deeply involved in your personal life. I want your Government to be made your servant, not your meddling master.

I am a candidate for the Presidency because I have a deep conviction and faith, a deep inward feeling that the American people want to go the direction we want to take them. And, therefore, I come to the great State of New Jersey to ask for your help and your support. New Jersey is a key State. New Jersey can make the difference whether we have enough electoral votes on November 2 to win.

And so, let me just conclude by saying I know we will win in New Jersey. Jerry loves Jersey, and I have a good feeling that Jersey loves Jerry like Jerry loves Jersey.
Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 5:20 p.m. at the Town and Campus Inn. In his opening remarks, he referred to Representatives Matthew J. Rinaldo and Millicent Fenwick, Senator Clifford P. Case, David F. Norcross, Republican senatorial candidate, and Thomas Kean, chairman of the New Jersey President Ford Committee.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks at a President Ford Committee Reception in Union, New Jersey. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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