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Trenton’s “Cap” On Common Sense

Sunday’s Asbury Park Press provides more evidence pointing to the utter hopelessness of any property tax relief appearing any time soon.  There are just too many bad actors in positions of power in New Jersey. 

In it’s story “Pay cap effect to be checked” we learn that the 2% per year cap on binding arbitration awards has an expiration date, April 1, 2014.  I guess they chose April Fools Day because they were only fooling about limiting tax increases. (Funny how spending caps like this and tax cuts like the Bush tax cuts are always temporary, while spending increases and tax hikes are always permanent.)  In the meantime, a newly created eight member “Police and Fire Public Interest Arbitration Impact Task Force” will study the effects of the cap.  The four Republicans appointed by Governor Christie will find it to be a big success and the two Democrats appointed appointed by Senate President Sweeney (Todd) and the two Democrats appointed by Assembly Speaker Oliver will find it to be a colossal failure.  One thing I find particularly disturbing is the implication that professionalism and emergency response times might suffer if the pay caps are put into effect.  They are not saying this would be a possible result of layoffs.  They are saying this might be a result of pay caps.  I am taking this as a veiled threat.

 Robert Nixon, a lobbyist for the state PBA, is quoted as saying “If he’s capped at 2% forever, what incentive are you giving that officer to come to work every day?”  He also expressed concern that unless the cap is eventually lifted, officers’ pay might not keep up with long term inflation.  I’m certain he didn’t have the opposite worry all that time that public worker pay increases ran at multiple times the inflation rate and infinitely higher than the basically non-existent pay increases that we in the private sector have had to live under.  And guess what?  We go to work every day!

I might add that if serious inflation, or even hyper-inflation does set in, it will have been caused by the current orgy of public spending and debt creation.

Speaker Oliver is in favor of the April, 2014 sunset.  Expressing concern about the “unforeseen consequences” of the 2% cap, she pointed to the 4% cap placed on college tuition increases: “At the same time we reduced funding to our higher-education system in this state………….we are beginning to learn from (the over-paid) college and university presidents that a 4% cap is further hindering the growth and expansion of our higher education institutions”.

I presume Ms. Oliver means she is similarly concerned about spending caps “hindering the growth and expansion” of government.  And of course she has never been concerned about any “unforeseen consequences” resulting from all the excessive taxing, spending, borrowing and regulating she has advocated over the course of her (too) long career in public service.

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, R-Union says  “This also has a 39 month sunset.  So if the system does not work, or we’re flush with money……….they’re back to the table after three years”.  First of all, is he crazy?  What is the likelihood that we will be “flush with money” in three years?  And even if we somehow are, we should CUT TAXES and REDUCE OUR DEBT, not just hand the loot over to the public workers unions!

Finally we hear from our own assemblyman, the disability collecting, trough swilling ex-cop David Rible.  “We all understand.  It’s tough times. The state’s broken.  With the 39-month sunset, with any luck, we’ll hopefully be getting  back to business as usual”.  That’s right, BUSINESS AS USUAL.  There you go.  Situation: hopeless.

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