Trying to understand Trenton’s craziness? Look at who’s voting.

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

It’s hard to keep track of the wildly anti-business measures coming out of Trenton these days, Save Jerseyans.

On Monday, Steve Sweeney’s State Senate passed S2160, a bill allowing striking workers to collect unemployment benefits when their employer “violates the terms of an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement.”

When Sweeney said “there’s always next year” and suggested his chamber might have to hold off on a budget-busting pension amendment — one that would prioritize public pensions over other government expenditures, including road and bridge maintenance — NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer fired back with guns blazing.

“Sen. Sweeney made a promise to our members that the pension amendment would happen this year. Next year isn’t good enough,” whined Steinhauer. “He needs to decide whether he’s going to lead or just roll over and be part of the problem. New Jersey has too many politicians who have broken pension promises. We need a leader who will keep the promise. We will not accept anything less than the amendment he promised this year.”

The money these public sector unions pour into our elections — a conflict of interest for democracy if there ever was one — is only part of the story.

Their numbers are another.

If you’re Steve Sweeney and you’re running for election, and 15.3% of the workforce is government employed, why the hell would you waste time serving folks who will just move to North Carolina if they don’t like your decisions?

As of 2011, New Jersey boasted the sixth-greatest percentage of union members in its workforce.

We’ve got the fifth greatest percentage of all 50 states in America for union membership among public workers (59%).

That’s before you even get to the fact that we’re ninth for union membership among private-sector workers (9%) of workers. The state has lost 16.4% of its union members since 2000, however — the 17th-greatest decrease in the country.”

There have been some very modest drops in these numbers in recent years but not enough to change the general dynamic of a state owned by a handful of ultra-powerful union bosses.

The kicker? Government workers are more likely to vote than private sector members.

Math is a cruel master. When you look at the numbers, Save Jerseyans, it’s not hard to understand why Trenton does what it does, and why our state continues to sacrifice its fiscal and economic health to serve loonier and crazier public sector demands.

It’s all about the votes (and the money to buy them).

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