POLITICS 24/7 has often stated that not only is state government too big but that there are too many governments in the state.
Based on the relatively small size of New Jersey, why there is a need for more than 650 municipal governments, is beyond me. Drive down any road in New Jersey and you will find yourself entering a new and different town every 3 or 4 minutes.
As stated here in the past, the proliferation of governments in this state is actually a major part of the problems that we face in the state.
The affordability crisis we are enduring is in large part due to the costs of operating all these governments. It costs a lot of money to operate and employ all these fire departments, police departments, borough halls, staffs, permit departments, and so on and so on.
It also creates an atmosphere ripe with the opportunity for corruption. Between the patronage, construction and service contracts, the ability to “spread the wealth around” runs rampant. But the wealth that is spread around is that of the taxpayers. While their wealth is taken away from them, those in charge of spreading it are doing so among their own friends, families, mistresses and fellow power brokers.
The existing arrangement has helped to make government one of the largest employers in the state. It has also helped to define New Jersey as one of the most state corrupt states in the Union, a title often in dispute with Louisiana but recently surpassed only by Illinois.
The arrest of Illinois’ Democrat Governor, Rod Blagojevich, for trying to sell President-Elect Obama’s newly available senate seat, along with other sleazy intentions, has helped take the title away from us. But we are still among the three most corrupt states at the top of that list.
Bridge commissioners, state contractors, council members, freeholders, county executives, judicial officials, cabinet members, party chairmen, state senators, assembly members and more have all been getting arrested, indicted, and sentenced in astonishing numbers.
Just today a former assembly candidate pleaded guilty in the same bribery scandal that took out his opponent for that same assembly seat.
For the past seven years, potential Republican candidate for Governor, former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, has largely been responsible for exposing and successfully prosecuting the government corruption that has caused much of the public to lose their faith in public servants.
Having first hand experience with combating corruption, Christie knows about what he speaks of and today, speaking before an event sponsored by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association and Cherry Hill Regional Chamber of Commerce, the former crime buster stated that the reason for all the corruption in New Jersey was because “we just have too much government.”
Now that what we at POLITICS 24/7 have known all along has been confirmed by an expert in the area, what do we do about?
Well first of all, New Jersey needs to embark on the initiatives of others like Senator Joe Kyrillos of Monmouth County.
Senator Kyrillos has been pushing for consolidation. The type of consolidation which would make some of New Jersey’s less populous towns merge with larger neighboring towns.
This measure was actually proposed in legislation first sponsored by a former assemblyman, Republican Michael Arnone.
In the late ‘90’s, Assemblyman Arnone saw the need to curtail the spreading of governments in New Jersey the same way that we try to prevent the spreading of the flu.
Like a disease, the inordinate number of governments, along with their increasing size scope and staffs, have infected the state with a governing class that survives by doling out plumb, patronage positions and entering into corrupt contracts filled with kickbacks.
Does consolidation solve our problem? Nope, it sure doesn’t. Greed and other less attractive qualities that are sometimes a part of human nature will always exist. However, with less governments available for corruption to breed in, the less corruption will be born.
For me, Chris Christie’s remark is promising.
If he truly believes what he said, it may bode well for his possible candidacy. Small government conservatives will certainly appreciate the direction that his comment would take us in. Now if he can only expand on that remark.
If he does run for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, will he help to do more than offer lip service to state consolidation? Will he provide the initiatives of Senator Kyrillos with the type of support that is needed to influence liberal lawmakers to pass such measures?
Whether Christie runs or not, we need more leaders who are willing to solve our problems by acknowledging what the problems are and in New Jersey the problem is government.
In international news, 60% of the people in the country of Jordan say they find Americans to be rude. Actually, that’s not so bad, when you consider 60% of people in other Middle Eastern countries think we’re Satan. …We’re moving up!