Last Thursday Governor Corzine signed a bill establishing the new layer of bureaucracy called the “Office of the Comptroller.” This powerful $9 million enforcement arm of the governor’s office will be charged with auditing the auditors. The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Division of Local Government Services is already armed with the authority to audit local municipal budgets. New Jersey is the only state that requires budget oversight of local governments for the purpose of “preventive” measures. In other words, New Jersey has more central government intrusion, regulations, mandates and bureaucracy than any other state. The net result is we have the highest property taxes in the country. Trenton’s answer to the fastest growing state budget in the country, the highest property taxes in the nation and a skyrocketing debt is an even more expansive government bureaucracy.
Four years ago, Governor McGreevey established the State Office of “Investigator General” to root out waste and corruption. Then we heard about the Office of Public Advocate to root out waste and corruption. Now we are told this new layer of bureaucracy will root out waste and corruption. If the definition of insanity is performing the same action over and over again expecting a different outcome, welcome to the Trenton Psycho Ward.
This job pool will be the mechanism used to force local municipalities to implement the Corzine agenda. The title “Comptroller” is ominously foreboding, as the legislature capitulates to the executive’s efforts to draw local governments into the vortex of chaos that is Trenton. It subjects local governments to more regulations on top of an already over-regulating bureaucracy. This police force will add more confusion and delays in management of municipal governments as the Trenton establishment puts Project Labor Agreements, Mount Laurel requirements, minority set asides, an endless list of unfunded mandates and Department of Environmental Protection regulations ahead of the interests of property taxpayers. Local governments can expect an increase in the already steady flow of “enforcement” officials marching through borough halls, as the real problem, the Trenton leviathan, lumbers on unimpeded. This new gang is answerable only to the governor-and this type of power should not be vested in this office. The legislation establishing this enforcement authority is deliberately vague and unclear and open to interpretation as to its power. The “interpretation”, which is inevitable, will be at the hands of the Attorney General appointed by the governor.
This is another step in the ongoing movement towards centralizing power in a state government that has already proven reckless and irresponsible. The result of this collectivist agenda has been manifested in the loss of voters’ rights to approve new debt, centralizing state control of neighborhood schools, overriding local zoning by the Mount Laurel Doctrine and the Highlands Bill coupled with massive income redistribution schemes. This agenda equals more than higher taxes. It also includes the loss of our property rights to eminent domain abuse, the overregulation of our businesses and the loss of home rule to a band of nameless, faceless bureaucrats in Trenton. The Comptroller bill is a sham and is a feeble attempt to cover up Governor Corzine and the legislature’s refusal to stand up and fight for taxpayers instead of state employees and other special interests.