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Sweeney’s Agenda

In a recent Courier Post interview, published Saturday in the Asbury Park Press, Senate President Steve Sweeney discussed his three legislative priorities for the 2012 session.  As you might have expected, I’m against all three of them.

His number one issue, his mostest importantest, absolute must must must-do legislative goal is…………………… a bankrupt state, with some of the highest taxes, highest unemployment, worst schools and worst roads in the country……………………..Senator Sweeney’s number one job, to be focused on like a laser beam, is…………………… marriage!  That’s right folks, Senator Sweeney has determined that the reason our most productive people have been fleeing this miserable place, the reason nobody can get a job, or afford their taxes, or afford an education, or their car insurance, is that gays can’t get married!  Sometimes I wonder if the people who are in charge of this place even live here.

 It seems a little odd, to say the least, that gay marriage would be so important to a former iron worker, but since it is, let’s have a look at it.  From the story:

“It’s a civil rights issue and … the right thing to do,” Sweeney said of authorizing same-sex marriage, adding that this time he is not going to let the religious community dictate like it did when the issue was voted on two years ago. Then majority leader of the Senate, Sweeney abstained on the 2009 vote.

“I made a big mistake. I apologized for it, and I am going to fix it,” he promised, saying there is a “mood changing” in this country in favor of it with strong support from young people.

In addition to civil rights, he said the lack of marriage equality is costing New Jersey because same sex couples are moving out of the state to New York where they have the right to marry

“We are losing money and talent,” he said.

I guess this time around the gay community either out-bid or out-threatened the religious community.  And I could be wrong, but I think we’re losing fewer people due to the absence of gay marriage in our state than we are to having the highest income tax anywhere, a problem that Sweeney reveals later in the interview that he cares little about.

Of course the correct way to deal with the gay marriage issue is to get the government out of the marriage business altogether.  The way the government taxes you, or otherwise treats you, should have nothing to do with your marital status.  And the government should not be in a position to judge what is a marriage and what isn’t.  Before the Civil War there was no such thing as a marriage license.  Governments only got into the business of requiring their permission to be married, in the form of a license, in order to prevent blacks and whites from marrying.  Just like mixed race couples shouldn’t have to seek the government’s approval, neither should same sex couples.  Marriages should be left to people’s spiritual homes, be they churches, or whatever fits their own beliefs.  The legal aspects could be handled by civil-partner contracts for all couples.  We all have the right to contract, gay or straight.  Actually, civil-partner, or civil-union contracts could be useful for even for couples that want to merge their affairs for non-romantic reasons, such as widowed sisters that live together. 

Leaving it to the government to define what is a marriage, then forcing whatever they decide on the rest of us, is what is causing all the acrimony.  If the government were to make it official policy that Chevys were better than Fords, and that we should all drive Chevys, then the Ford drivers would be fighting with the Chevy drivers.  Wait…they’ve already sort of done that.  Well, you get my point.

Once the senator liberates us from this living hell of not having gay marriage in our state, he will turn his attention to being wrong about the minimum wage.  Of course he wants to raise it.  He doesn’t think that someone’s pay should be voluntarily decided on by the two parties involved, the employer and employee, based on the market, on that employee’s productivity and on the employer’s ability to pay.  Nope.  It should be decided by Steve Sweeney, Chris Christie, and the New Jersey State Legislature.  And you can tell he’s thought it out really thoroughly.  He states:

“When you give people a few more bucks, they will spend it and it will go right back into the economy,”

Obviously Sweeney doesn’t understand that those “few more bucks” were already in someone’s economy before he used government force to take them out.  They didn’t come from the tooth fairy.  They might have built a new factory instead, and employed more people.  And those “few more bucks” it will now cost to hire some people will mean that many low-skilled people, usually those new to the job market, will now be unemployable.  You can’t get ahead if you can’t get your foot in the door.  Sweeney spouts some nonsense about how raising the minimum wage will make people more productive, but he has it backwards.  Most people who work for minimum wage do so for less than a year.  They are not waiting around for Steve Sweeney to give them a raise.  It is the work experience that makes people more productive, and then they can demand a higher wage.

Minimum wage jobs are typically held by teenagers and recent immigrants.  It is the first step to a productive life in America.  It is where you learn how to have a job and how to do a job.  You can not expect people with few or no skills to be paid a “living wage” so they can afford a house and a car and all the nice things in life.  This is why we work hard, and gain new skills, so we can afford these things.

All Sweeney’s law will do is discourage employment and production in this state.  But for demagogues like Sweeney, it’s good politics.  There’s more employees than employers.  And he’s gonna give everyone a raise!

Before moving on to discuss his third legislative priority Sweeney takes a shot at Governor Christie’s proposed 10% income tax reduction. 

Sweeney was unenthusiastic about the 10-percent income tax cut the governor proposed in his State-of-the-State message. He called it a gimmick that sounds good for Christie’s national image but is a way to give millionaires another tax break.


“What the governor did not tell the public is that the reduction would phased in over three years and that that money is what pays for (property) tax relief, and schools are already underfunded.

“Nobody is screaming about the income tax,” Sweeney said. “They’re screaming about the property tax.

People aren’t screaming about the income tax.  They are leaving.  But the productive people who are leaving aren’t Sweeney voters anyway so Sweeney is probably happy to be rid of them.  And what Sweeney isn’t telling you is that although the income tax is supposed to be used for property tax relief, none of it is being used to relieve anyone’s property taxes.  By means of the school funding formula forced on us by the courts, and supported by Sweeney and the other Democrats, nearly all the money collected in income taxes is funneled to, and wasted by, the corrupt political machines of the urban districts.  The suburbs get almost nothing.  This is why our property taxes are so high.

This brings us to Sweeney’s third priority, his fantasy reason why our property taxes are so high.  It is because we have towns!  And those towns are not following the advice of those fiscal superstars in Trenton!

His third priority would be shared service initiatives and that he favors police consolidations. He said he supports shared services, although some people are “skittish” about doing it.

He said he regretted not making the current budget cap on local government even more strict because it would accelerate sharing of services.

“There is too much overhead in police departments. If I could reduce the number of chiefs and put more policemen on the streets, that’s a win,” he said.

On charter schools, he said they’re not “the be-all and the end-all” and that districts that are not failing may be harmed by them.

“I think they need to be happening where school systems are failing,” he said.

No Senator.  New Jersey always had a lot of towns and a lot of school districts, and a lot of police departments.  But we didn’t always have high taxes.  We used to have significantly lower property taxes than our neighbors.  We used to have no income tax.  And not that long ago we had no sales tax either.  Even with all those towns and school districts and police departments.

The reason why taxes, all taxes, in New Jersey have become unbearably high is because of the insatiable lust for power and control by elected officials like Senator Steve Sweeney.  The public safety, environmental, and financial mandates on local governments, the sweetheart deals given to unions in exchange for contributions and votes, the massive give-aways of the public’s money to any group that can assist them in their craven desire to be elected and re-elected, and the arrogance to think that they can and must regulate anything that moves in this state is why we have so many problems here.  If anything needs a cap it’s Senator Sweeney and his colleagues in Trenton.

Just like Newt Gingrich’s wives, we in New Jersey can’t expect to have a great man like Steve Sweeney all to ourselves.  He is too great for just one state so we must share him with the rest of the nation.  

 Regarding his political future, Sweeney acknowledged he has formed an exploratory committee to look at a possible U.S. Senate run in 2014.

“I don’t even know if Sen. (Frank) Lautenberg will run again. I want to keep my options open.

“I’m an iron worker who ended up in a pretty prominent position. I never dreamed I would be here where I am,” he said, “If you do your job, you don’t know where you may end up.”

 I don’t really like our state senate president.  In the past I have referred to him as “Steve Sweeney Todd, the Demon Senator of State Street”.  He’s the worst, the absolute pits.  He represents everything that’s wrong with New Jersey politics.  In other words, he’s a shoo-in.


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