Lawmakers are Quiet as Problems Persist in NJ
As New Jersey continues to struggle to create more jobs and spark the state economy, another multi-billion dollar budget deficit is looming on the horizon.
The state must find a way to raise billions of dollars to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund and pay off mounting pension and benefits debt, and homeowners are still waiting for some kind of meaningful action to be taken to lower our highest in the nation property taxes.
Other front burner issues that have not been addressed include mandatory sick days for all workers and doing away with huge sick leave payouts that have cost many towns millions of extra dollars when public sector workers retire and get paid for accumulated sick days.
With all of these different problems, state lawmakers have not been seen in Trenton for months, and they're not expected to come together again for more than two months.
According to Ben Dworkin, a political science professor at Rider University, it's not uncommon to see legislators who are up for re-election wanting to go home and spend time in the community, shaking hands and making speeches to ensure their re-election, as opposed to being stuck in Trenton, crafting legislation that may not be very popular, like increasing the gas tax to pay for transportation project.
Dworkin also said another reason why nothing will get done in Trenton for months is because "the governor, who could rally everybody, call people into session as he has done in the past, is simply spending more time in Iowa and New Hampshire right now."
He said with Gov. Chris Christie busy campaigning for the GOP nomination in the presidential race, "the one person who might be able to corral the legislature into dealing with certain issues because he wants them dealt with is not here to do that."
"I don't think there's going to be anything of significance, barring some unforeseen crisis, taking place in Trenton before the November election," Dworkin said.