He’s a union boss and a politician who has greatly benefited from the millions of dollars of public union political spending. He’s the leader of the New Jersey State Senate. He’s accusing the same unions who made his rise to power in Trenton possible of extortion. Wait, what?
Yes it’s true. In a stunning move demonstrating Steve Sweeney’s erratic temperament and often ignorant approach to state issues, he recklessly accused one of the largest public worker unions in the state of “Extortion”. He also levied the same accusation against the Fraternal Order of Police in letters to the state Attorney General and US Attorney.
This week two things happened that demonstrate without new leadership in Trenton our state will become increasingly unaffordable. And that’s saying a lot considering we are already one of the highest tax burdened states in the nation.
The Republican Governor and Democratic Senate President met and discussed how to fund the Transportation Trust Fund. The didn’t find a mutually agreeable solution, but they agreed on one thing…the gas tax should be raised by $0.23.
Then in another blow to commuters and residents, the leader of the Republicans in the NJ Assembly, Jon Bramnick embraced the hike in the gas tax as a “strategic necessity“.
In “Trenton Speak” the phases “Strategic Necessity” and “Tax Fairness” means YOU will pay more to live and work here. A lot more.
So the Governor is away. He left after signing a budget and taking out the red pen to exercise his line item veto power. Given that the budget is nearly $35 Billion a few hundred million in vetoes don’t exactly make the state’s financial situation any better, but it’s a start.
Too often politicians are looking for a huge statement, a grand headline, a game-changing move. And more often than not the big move is blocked and the voters and taxpayers are left holding the bag. In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker, elected in 2010 with a new Republican majority in both houses, successfully made that move changing the way pensions and benefits for state workers and teachers. That state went from a $3.6 billion deficit to a $900 million surplus. As you know, Governor Christie has had to deal with both houses of the NJ legislators solidly under Democratic control. Given the ineptitude of the GOP opposition in this state, that’s likely to be the case for some time.