BY ASSEMBLYMAN JAY WEBBER
Normally I wouldn’t bother replying to silly sarcasm and personal attacks from the likes of Paul Moriarty. But here a response to his clumsy and admittedly “disrespectful” opinion piece is simply too irresistible to pass up.
First, some facts about the bill Moriarty is suddenly championing, A-3359. Moriarty is not a sponsor of A-3359, and failed to raise his voice about it either in the Labor Committee or on the floor of the General Assembly when either body considered it.
Unlike Moriarty, I serve on the Labor Committee, where its Members discussed the bill at some length. My questions and remarks in that meeting produced this Gannett headline: “Webber: Bill won’t protect unemployed applicants.” Gannett got it right — a basic reason for my opposition to the bill is it does not help the very people it’s supposed to. Denying employers the right to advertise the truth about job openings will cause people looking for a job to waste time and money applying for jobs for which they aren’t even eligible.
And no one supporting the bill has explained yet how companies that advertise their job openings on the internet will deal with the bill’s well-intentioned but misguided speech restrictions. You can bet that, at $5000 for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation of the bill’s restrictions, many companies will choose the safer course and refuse access to their job postings for IP addresses originating in New Jersey. And that’s how Moriarty plans on helping the unemployed in our State? Some compassion. As with so many bills coming out of Trenton, A-3359 carries the mere facade of help, with nothing really behind it.
Bill sponsor Peter Barnes (D–Edison) and I spoke privately about my views on the bill before the vote, and he and I reasonably agreed to disagree. And Assemblyman Barnes and I then had a civil, respectful, and policy-oriented debate about A-3359 on the floor of the General Assembly when the bill came up for a vote. (You can access the October 25 exchange at the Legislative website archives, starting at 1:06, if you’d like to see it for yourself.)
Moriarty should have taken note of that tone. Instead, he hands out insults like Halloween candy. But the charge of “heartless” is strange coming from Moriarty, since it was his policies that put people on the unemployment rolls in the first place.
Where was the “compassion” when Moriarty was pulverizing our citizens with punishing taxes for years? In his time in the Legislature, Moriarty has voted to raise our state taxes by more than $1.3 billion, on everything from health insurance to electricity to payrolls. That’s right, the ever-benevolent Moriarty apparently believes that higher healthcare and payroll taxes are just the things that New Jersey’s already-overtaxed healthcare consumers and employees need to flourish and prosper.
Just this week the Tax Foundation issued its annual report on state business tax climates and specifically noted that New Jersey’s job-creation climate has improved this year, precisely because Moriarty did not get the new income tax he pushed so hard in the Assembly. If Moriarty had his way, New Jersey would have retained the worst business climate in the United States: more jobs killed; more people entering the unemployment rolls; more unemployed relegated to that status for longer. But hey, more unemployed means more people to pander to, so that’s probably good with Moriarty.
The charge of “elitism” is equally odd coming from Moriarty. Moriarty wouldn’t know about the challenges of the average person if he tripped over them.
Unlike Moriarty, the average person doesn’t double-dip and hold two elected positions, even after the Legislature passed a law outlawing the practice.
Unlike Moriarty, the average person does not get paid by taxpayers not to take health perks at their part-time job, as Mayor Moriarty did in Washington Township.
Unlike Moriarty, the average person does not get free gas for his personal SUV at taxpayer-funded township gas pumps. (That one earned an “Oink! Oink! Paul Moriarty” from politickernj.com.)
So many of our citizens don’t get a taxpayer-funded pension for part-time government work — which is why I campaigned against such pension credits when I ran for the Assembly. So many of our citizens don’t get health-perks for part-time work which is why I declined Assembly health perks and paid out-of-pocket for private healthcare coverage. Those actions speak louder than any of Moriarty’s empty words.
If there is any identifiable elitism in Trenton, it is the arrogance of the “I-know-best-how-to-run-our-citizens’-lives” politicians like Moriarty. It is exactly that delusional intoxication with power that produced the decade-long disaster New Jersey suffered in the 2000s, and Moriarty merely typifies that chronic political pathology that Governor Christie and his allies are fighting to remedy. Thankfully for our State and all those who care about its citizens, we’re winning that fight.
Jay Webber is an assemblyman representing the 26th District