As the deadline looms for a re-apportioned Legislative map, it is time to consider whether it is actually urgently necessary to have a change in control of the Legislature.
The short answer is YES. Here’s why:
Democrats are bankrupt of ideas. The Democratic Majority has proposed no new ideas to change NJ’s image as a poor place to invest and create private-sector jobs. Their half-hearted “economic plan” was an amateurish skimming of the OLS “bill introduction” list, with no coherent policy foundation. What’s worse, their continued championing of an income tax increase is sending precisely the wrong message to job creators and investors. Further undermining their credibility: a huge income tax increase would overwhelm and cancel-out the “small-ball” tax credits and other tax cuts contained in their economic plan.
More than one year after the repudiation of a Democratic Governor, they continue to pursue the same tired, failed policies, proving they have not learned any electoral or economic lessons, forfeiting any moral claim (if they ever had it) to continued Majority control.
Special Interest Grip is Tight As Ever. The vice-grip in which the special interests hold the current Legislative Majority is as tight as ever. That the Governor has to fight this hard for common-sense pension and medical benefit reforms proves sadly that this Legislature is not interested in controlling spiraling government spending obligations.
No-Show on State Budget Policy. Remarkably, for the first time in modern history, the Legislative Majority did not enact the state budget. Last year the state budget was enacted essentially by the Republican Minority, with a few token votes provided by the Majority in order to get a budget bill on the Governor’s desk. The Democrats took a walk on the most important piece of legislation that the Legislature considers each year – the appropriations act. It appears ready to do the same again this year.
That they do not have the leadership or intellectual capacity to participate in the legislative deliberations on the state budget really begs the question – why are they even there? and what is the real-world rationale for continued Democrat control?
In contrast, the Republicans are showing they have the mettle (political courage, stamina, and intellectual ability) to be the Majority Party. Unlike most legislative minorities who sleep-walk through a usually boring budget process, this legislative minority last year was engaged, asking questions, studying OLS-prepared briefing memos, meeting with constituents and interest groups, and working closely with the Administration on a final budget bill.
With one budget enactment under their belt, this GOP Minority is even more prepared to work seriously and soberly on the FY 2012 budget.
While the Governor is clearly the man in charge of the Republican Party, and is a dominating presence even to an independent branch of government, Republican legislators are taking their job seriously and are ready to govern.
It’s time to give them a chance.