Mayor Booker speaks out against NJ government largesse (or largeness)

Mayor Corey Booker spoke out against the bloat of the NJ government, public workers, uncompetitive business environment, excessive taxes, etc…  etc…

“New Jersey will go bankrupt in 10 to 20 years because we cannot afford our employees as a state,” Booker said. “I’m talking about every worker from the cities and counties to the state government. Eventually, we’re going to price ourselves out as a government or tax ourselves to death.”

“There should be a tax revolt in the state of New Jersey,” Booker said. “We’re the most inefficient state in the country. We have more government per person than we need. You would never manage a business the way we manage our government – – we have overlapping provision of services and in my opinion, it’s insane.”

See the full article here 

This also reminds me of something I came across earlier today.  The Mercatus Center at George mason University published a report ranking states based upon measures of freedom.  You can get to the full report by this link.  If you didn’t guess already NJ was near the bottom of the list only beat out by New York.

new JeRsey
New Jersey is a highly regulated state all around,
#46 on economic freedom, #45 on personal freedom,
and #49 overall. Taxes and spending are high.
Spending on education is particularly high. Property
taxes are among the highest in the country, and individual
income taxes are also high. Gun control is
extensive. Marijuana laws are subpar. New Jersey
has primary seat-belt enforcement, motorcycle
and bicycle helmet laws, a cell phone driving ban,
an open-container law, sobriety checkpoints, and
mandatory liability and personal injury coverage
for automobiles. Fireworks are prohibited. Asset
forfeiture is largely unreformed. Cigarette taxes are
stratospheric, and smoking bans are as draconian
as any in the country. On the positive side, alcohol
is taxed fairly reasonably, and, like Nevada, casino
and slots gambling are legal statewide. More importantly,
private and home school regulations are surprisingly
light, extending only to broad curriculum
requirements. Civil unions are also recognized. On
economic regulation, labor laws are predictably costly,
statewide land-use planning (“smart growth”) is
in force, and there is extensive community rating for
private health insurance. On other issues, however,
New Jersey is about average.

New Jersey

New Jersey is a highly regulated state all around, #46 on economic freedom, #45 on personal freedom, and #49 overall. Taxes and spending are high.

Spending on education is particularly high. Property taxes are among the highest in the country, and individual income taxes are also high. Gun control is extensive. Marijuana laws are subpar. New Jersey has primary seat-belt enforcement, motorcycle and bicycle helmet laws, a cell phone driving ban, an open-container law, sobriety checkpoints, and mandatory liability and personal injury coverage for automobiles. Fireworks are prohibited. Asset forfeiture is largely unreformed. Cigarette taxes are stratospheric, and smoking bans are as draconian as any in the country.

On the positive side, alcohol is taxed fairly reasonably, and, like Nevada, casino and slots gambling are legal statewide. More importantly, private and home school regulations are surprisingly light, extending only to broad curriculum requirements. Civil unions are also recognized. On economic regulation, labor laws are predictably costly, statewide land-use planning (“smart growth”) is in force, and there is extensive community rating for private health insurance. On other issues, however, New Jersey is about average. 

Even scarier from this report is how closley we resemble Rhode Island, a state truly on the verge of collapse.  See this article from the Economist 

I support Mayor Booker.  He is appears to be the most principled politician I have ever seen.  I am not a democrat and have serious hesitation about calling myself republican, but Mayor booker appears to truly have an independant streak that I can identify with.

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6 Comments

Filed under Corey Booker, Current Events, Government

6 responses to “Mayor Booker speaks out against NJ government largesse (or largeness)

  1. tom paine

    Do you not realize that Mayor Booker is part of the largess problem.. have you not done your homework on the amount of state aid that flows into newark?

  2. I agree that Newark is a huge recipient of state aid. You have to commend Booker for at least identifying the problem and speaking honestly about it. He is cutting city jobs and is trying to make Newark a functional city. If run properly Newark has a potential to be a revenue center for the state of NJ much like NYC is for New York State.

    Love the screen name by the way. The true father of the American revolution.

  3. Bill Chappel

    Mayor Booker is a dangerous archconservative. He is pushing the Newark City Council into forming a Municipal Utility Authority for water. This would strip Newark of direct control of it most valuable asset, the city water department and water shed. The Newark owned water shed is 38 thousand acres three times the size of Newark. This is just another conservative ploy to strip government of power and assets and turn them over to the private sector.
    Calling it a Municipal Authority is a travesty. By state law an MUA would no longer be under the control of the Municipal Government. It will have an independent board and will dance to the tune of the bond holders not Newark residents.

    • Hi Bill,
      I am familiar with your stance against the MUA. I am not as well versed on the topic and have a couple of questions.
      How does the structure of the MUA differ from other public utilities like PSE&G, NJNR, & ConEd?
      Most of the natural resources in this country are controlled by public for profit companies who pay leases to the government from timber to natural gas. Would you prefer that the government create an authority that provided the collection, processing and delivery of these raw materials?
      My understanding is that the creation of the MUA will free the authority of the burden of operating under the Newark City Government and its financial restraints due to years of mismanagement and corruption to issue bonds need to make much needed repairs and improvements. How else do you propose that the city address these problems with its water supply now and into the future?
      Newark’s most valuable asset is its water supply? I believe that the people, businesses, transportation infrastructure and strategic location are far ahead of Newark’s water supply.
      The government of the city of Newark, the State of NJ and the United States of America has proven to be inefficient, incompetent and easily corruptable. Why should they we allow them to control these essential services?

      This article from the Star Ledger provides some good information on the plan http://www.nj.com/newark/index.ssf/2009/02/newark_council_looks_to_create.html

      By the way thanks for using your real name.

  4. Anne Studholme

    Hi, Geoff et al.! Interesting posts to this blog from a broad range of perspectives as always. On the “freedom” index — since I’m a land use lawyer, I’ll comment on one point: regional land use regulation. In New Jersey, by and large, the regional regulation is very weak, with the exception being the Pinelands and Highlands laws (Meadowlands, too.) The State Development and Redevelopment Plan, which tries to encourage “smart growth,” has no real teeth. For example, it’s pretty easy to use the State Plan to thwart development, but not to promote it, even in places where the Plan says it should go. For the most part, planning and zoning are done town by town under “home rule,” with the plusses and minuses of that not always breaking along what you might think would be the pro- and anti-regulation camps. In my experience, local homeowners, whether liberal or conservative, tend to be huge proponents of “home rule” land use boards blocking development wherever possible. This can be good or bad, depending on your perspective and the situation, but it always amuses me to see die-hard libertarians insisting on their “rights” to tell landowners what they can and can’t do with their property, and, on the other hand, crunchy progressives arguing against larger-scale government regulation and planning when it would lead to building in their back yards! And these guys are not necessarily wrong-headed, either. One reason land use cases are so hard-fought in New Jersey is that we are such a densely populated state. Every scrap of land could be valuable for any of a number of competing uses, and there is no shortage of neighbors whose own land and lives will be influenced by the choices made. Keep up the great work on this site! Cheers, Anne

    • Thanks Anne,

      The home-rule debate is definitely an interesting one. I am not sure what side I fall on other than that the barriers for landowners, developers et al to operate across multiple municipalities are high.
      I think a lot of the opposition is that although NJ is a dense state it is very diverse, from the suburbs across central nj to the urban areas in the NE & SW to the farm land and rural areas in the far south and spotted throughout the state.
      I think the lessons of COAH where a state body is arbitrarily forcing rural municipalities to build ‘affordable housing’ make many people wary of allowing a state gov’t with NJ’s track record to have that type of control.

      There has to be a middle ground and there are great efficiencies to be found there.

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