by Mike Hennessy Like most New Jerseyans embarrassed by the state government shutdown fiasco, I am astonished at how badly Governor Corzine has managed to mangle the current budget process. To make matters worse, the tax-and-spend economic policy he is following has also jeopardized New Jersey’s economic future, making it even less affordable to live and work in the Garden State. The shutdown is but a foreshadowing of the disaster we face due to a $2 billion increase in taxes coupled with a $3 billion increase in spending. This repudiation of supply-side economics which is creating record tax revenue on the federal level may prove to be the downfall of yet another Democrat Governor of New Jersey. I optimistically held out hope that a successful businessman such as Jon Corzine would never follow in the economic footsteps of Governors Jim Florio and Jim McGreevey. And yet here he is, arm in arm with two of the worst gubernatorial administrations in the history of the state. It is obvious that Corzine has not changed Trenton politics, nor does he seem able to lead even his own party. Unbelievably, he is even following his Democrat predecessor’s policy. He is increasing spending 10% while at the same time increasing New Jersey’s already onerous tax burden, with our property taxes the highest per capita in the nation. His compromise with his own party is to raise the sales tax to 7% to fund so-called Property Tax Relief. It is ridiculous to raise one tax in order to make false promises about lowering another tax while not addressing the real reasons property taxes increase every year. It sends the wrong message to the business community and potential investors, something we can ill afford given that New Jersey already ranks 49th in the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index. We can no longer afford government that solves its self-created budgetary crises by constantly reaching into taxpayers’ wallets. We can no longer afford the sort of government that breeds cycle after cycle of political patrons and cronies who corrupt the system and endanger the health and wealth of New Jersey’s citizens in the name of partisan personal and political gain. Our government has become so inefficient that it cannot effectively administer even the smallest programs, let alone protect us from our greatest threats. New Jersey politics needs to change and change now. Government’s proper role in society is a far cry from the bloated and burdensome presence envisioned by liberals like Jon Corzine. It is tragic that Democrats like Corzine promise relief to the working poor and middle class and then turn around and make their state even less affordable a place for them to live. In light of New Jersey’s grand failure of liberalism and big government, we must return to our first principles of individual responsibility, democracy, and the market when seeking political reform. The sad truth is that men such as Governor Corzine can use their fortunes to fast track their political ambitions, leaving us with elected officials who are out of touch with the concerns and dreams of their fellow citizens. We must change the process to ensure we are represented by men and women who will administer a government that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people. One way to begin is to support political reform initiatives that make use of the democratizing potential of the Internet. Just as we have utilized this new tool to change the way we do business, so too must we now leverage its capabilities to change our politics.