Opinion: Cut Spending and Lower Taxes, Stupid
We are certainly at a crossroads in New Jersey. The path chosen over the next few days, weeks, and months will determine how many more Jerseyans opt for plan "B", the exit plan.
The budget deadline is fast approaching with the leading democrats at odds on just how much more we should be spending and taxing in the next fiscal year. Unfortunately, these morally bankrupt Democrats led by Steve Sweeney got help from a group of seven Republicans who think that it's OK to spend beyond our means. This feckless group of Senators, lead by Senator Tom Kean Junior, thinks it's perfectly acceptable to vote with the tax and send Senate President on a budget that does not cut taxes and increases spending! Seems all they care about is a headline showing them standing against the Governor.
Thankfully two leaders have emerged over the budget battle: Assembly minority leader Jon Bramnick and New Jersey GOP chairman Doug Steinhardt. At least these two men understand that NJ is at a breaking point. No opposition party member should be voting for even one dollar of new spending. Any credible opposition should understand that Governor Murphy is actually right to go after the recipients of hundreds of millions in tax credit incentives.
The GOP can actually earn the right to call themselves an effective opposition if they start fighting for the working and middle class. That starts with a solid NO vote, as all twenty-four Assembly GOPers did on the Sweeney budget, on all new spending. Followed by public support for the audit of the economic development authority audit pursued by Gov. Murphy.
Then they need to draft their own budget, which should include tax cuts like the "reverse Millionaires tax" I've been talking about for years, plus department cuts to shrink the bureaucracy and a restructuring of debt and pensions. The ideas are there.
What we need are leaders to become champions of those ideas. And right now those voices are few and far between. Remember, as voters you have actual power. Don't dismiss the fact that NJ voters rose up together over the past few months and shot down around $600 million in new spending, borrowing and taxes at the local level.
Don't forget that Murphy is only governor because more then THREE MILLION eligible NJ voters stayed home. You have the power. Let's use it.