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Commentary on national and local events from the standpoint of a Trenton city resident and state worker.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Truth About Governor Christie

Now I can see it.  All the Republicans out there are going to be writing in saying that I got it all wrong, just like they always do when I criticize the governor.  But let's face it, you have to admit it was a little disingenious to spend two years cutting back on aid to municipalities and cutting wages and benefits of public employees, not only for the stated purpose of "we can't afford it", but to finance a tax cut as well.

After our governor went ahead with the cuts which have left Trenton, Newark and Camden together short over 1,000 police officers and caused a massive spike in crime in these cities, our governor now thinks we deserve a 10 percent cut in the state income tax rate.  Of course, such a tax cut is being done to boost his popularity in the suburbs because it proves he can "do something" about the high cost of government here.  He certainly believes such a move will help boost his reelection chances when he has to run for office next year.

When talk of the cuts surfaced at the start of his term, I said that they will lead to more crime, bigger fires and larger class sizes.  Well my prediction was right, and at least some of the impact is being felt in the suburbs where things like Chinese classes and varsity hockey had to be cut out.  In the cities however, the cuts have done more than cause some budgetary trimming around the edges.  Rather it has required cuts in essential services that wouldn't be tolerated in more wealthy communities.

Consider the cuts to Camden's fire department, which almost went to the breaking point after being overwhelmed by a series of factory fires.  Or how about Trenton, where the mayor proposed getting rid of the TAC squad (SWAT team) because we did not have enough patrol officers.  Here we got things like a shootout on Route 29 that caused the road to be shut down when state workers had to go to work the following morning, costing the taxpayers millions in lost workplace hours because anyone using this road was at least a hour late for work.  Those of you that don't work for government may think "so what", however it was a bid deal when a car is traveling south at a high rate of speed in the northbound lane of a divided highway and when gunfire is being exchanged between two other cars all when bystanders are using the road to go home from work.  See, its not just Trenton people that are affected, but anyone who has to pass through our city.  For a news video about the shooting, click here.    

And with the Governor's two percent cap on pay raises and property taxes, you will see that over time, this is not sustainable.  A better plan would have been to tie raises to the Consumer Price Index, but that wouldn't have made as good a sound byte.  When inflation exceeds two percent (which it does now), the earning power of public employees will be eroded.  Eventually their wages will fall far enough behind the private sector that nobody will want to take jobs with the state, county, police departments or school districts.  My guess is that in 10 years, this scheme will become unworkable.

But what does the governor care anyway.  He is a fake and a fraud that isn't really solving problems.  He is just shifting the burden to the cities (where nobody votes Republican and few people bother to vote at all), and to public workers.  And eventually all this will come back to haunt all taxpayers in the state.  But Christie knows that this won't happen right away.  He will keep the illusion going just long enough to finish his second term then move on to bigger and better things.

Sounds like the true pandering political whore that Christie is.

2/6/12;  Its Monday, one day after writing the above.  Perhaps the language is a little coarse, but you have to admit that a tax cut in the face of ongoing state deficits is not a good idea from a fiscal standpoint.  It only makes sense as a political statement to convince voters he has been more successful in getting costs under control than he really has and to buy some votes for next year's reelection effort.

Even the Trentonian, which is a stoutly Republican paper, doesn't like all of Christie's program.  Click here to find out what they have to say:

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