It is clear that the big-government radicals running Trenton today will stop at nothing to advance their vision of an even bigger nanny state no matter what or who is destroyed on the way to achieving the “Common Good.” So much so that they will pass drastically flawed and dangerous bills that will destroy New Jersey’s competitive business climate in favor of emotion based, job destroying politics. This time, however, they got caught on a procedural technicality.
The ultra-liberal Paid Family Leave legislation will force New Jersey taxpayers to fork over another $130 million in new taxes to seed the launch of this new radical entitlement scheme and small businesses already struggling in the nations worst business environment will be sacrificed while legislators suck up to Public Employee Unions.
The bill, which allows every single worker in the state six weeks Paid Leave for virtually any reason at all with pay of up to $550 would result in crippling lawsuits for New Jersey’s beleaguered small businesses if a worker were fired for taking the six week “leave.”
After prompting from conservative legislators, Americans for Prosperity citizen activists and New Jersey Business and Industry Association members, Attorney General Ann Milgram issued an opinion stating the bill is to vague and opens the small business community to costly litigation.
The bills proponents are so committed to advancing their socialist agenda and expanding the entitlement state they will stop at nothing to advance what they consider the “Common Good” no matter what the cost. Left to their own devices, the backers of this bill would have sought a way to by-pass Senate rules and shove this bill through this past Monday.
But Senate Republican leader Tom Kean and Assemblyman Rick Merkt pointed out that the bill contains a tax increase and therefore had to be introduced in the Assembly, not the Senate. Thanks to Kean and Merkt’s keen eyes, the only way the Senate Democratic majority (with the support of “Republican” Senator Bill Baroni), could pass this bill was under an “emergency” resolution requiring thirty votes. Those votes were not there.
The frightening lesson here is the willingness of those we elect to represent us to railroad destructive legislation past the voters in order to gain favor from State employee union leaders. It is impossible to believe the Senators who voted to pass the dangerous PFL legislation do not realize that New Jersey, already losing private sector jobs faster than any other state, will go into an economic free fall if this bill becomes law.
Yet it’s obvious they just don’t care. Because it’s more important for them to line their pockets with campaign cash from left-wing public employee labor unions looking for more ways to fleece the taxpayer than to represent the hard working men and women who pay the bills of government.
They were caught this time. The Senate will have to vote again. Now that we have revealed their lack of consideration for business owners, the employees who will lose their jobs when these firms move out of state and the taxpayers we must convince more citizens to pick up the phone and call Senators who voted yes and get them to change their votes to stop this job destroying entitlement scheme before it is voted again in the next month.
Steve Lonegan was Mayor of Bogota, NJ, and is Executive Director of Americans for Prosperity – New Jersey. Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP Foundation) are committed to educating citizens about economic policy and mobilizing those citizens as advocates in the public policy process. He is a prolific writer, having been published in newspapers and blogs. He just published a book, Putting Taxpayers First: A Blueprint for Victory in the Garden State, that discusses the impact of the Trenton government on the well being of the taxpayers of the state. He offers solid and workable solutions. Learn more at lonegan.com.