BECK’S FARM TAX STANCE IRKS GOP MATRON

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It appears that Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck of Red Bank, in attacking 12th-district Senate opponent Ellen Karcher over Karcher’s use of a state farmland assessment program, has put herself at odds with one of her own backers: Judith Stanley Coleman.

Today’s Asbury Park Press has that story, along with another that says the Beck v. Karcher mudfest is on track to become the costliest legislative race in New Jersey history.

As part of a package of stories on the farmland assessment, Press reporter James W. Prado Roberts says that Beck’s attack on Karcher for taking a farmland deduction on her Marlboro property “broadsided a long-time supporter.”

Monmouth County Republican Party matriarch Judith H. Stanley Coleman has a similar tax break on the scenic tract surrounding her home on the Navesink River in Middletown.

For at least 10 years, Stanley Coleman has raised bees on 5.4 acres surrounding her house. This year she sold 540 pounds of honey and wax at $1 per pound. In return, she pays $125 a year in taxes on that parcel. (She did pay $47,820 in taxes last year on her house and an acre surrounding it.)

The Press reports that Stanley Coleman has held fundraisers for Beck on the estate. In fact, one was scheduled last Thursday, but Beck canceled it because of her position on the bee farm tax assessment, Stanley Coleman told the newspaper.

Beck denied that was the reason, saying she recently held three fundraisers, and her campaign couldn’t arrange the logistics.

“I just made a judgment call,” Beck said. “It didn’t have anything to do with that.”

But Beck’s criticism of the farmland assessment program has clearly raised an eyebrow on the Stanley Coleman sod.

Stanley Coleman gave Beck’s joint Assembly primary campaign $500 in 2005. But Stanley Coleman said she’d have to discuss matters with Beck before writing another check.

“I’m going to have to talk to her first about the position she has put everybody in,” Stanley Coleman said. “To attack the only incentive we have to save land, I think, is wrong. She should have come out with what to do first instead of what not to do.”

In another story, Press reporter Larry Higgs says the 12th district mudslinger appears on track to cost the two sides a combined $4 million or more, making it the priciest ever for a Statehouse seat.