Groups like the N.J. Chamber, NJLM need to stop being part of the problem

Time for some tough love, Save Jerseyans…

Most of the New Jersey political universe is in Atlantic City this week, waking up to a vicious hangover this morning after last night’s New Jersey State League of Municipalities Convention decadent, booze-infused receptions.

If you’ve never been, the Convention is just a bigger version of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s annual ‘Walk to Washington’ train ride. At least the League spends its dollars in New Jersey; I’ll give them that much.

In all candor? I’ve never been a big fan of either event. Both gatherings remind me of those famous scenes in George Orwell’s Animal Farm when the pigs are caught wearing clothes, drinking whisky, and gorging themselves at the humans’ farm house dinner table. The parallels are hard to miss. At a time when New Jersey’s finances are a basket case and many citizens are faced with the choice of having to move to lose their homes, it’s hardly a good look for politicians, lobbyists, operatives and special interests to toss back $20 cocktails and suck down jumbo shrimp for days on end.

More to the point: what has either of the aforementioned organizations done to actually help taxpayers? And businesses? N.J. communities in general?

Both groups fancy themselves as advocates for constituencies (local communities and businesses, respectively) that are impacted by Trenton’s policies, positively and negatively.

When the rubber hits the road? In recent memory? The League backed the now-defunct predatory and thoroughly corrupt state-wide red light camera program, and the Chamber has now come out swinging against federal tax reform. Both organizations (here and here) vocally backed last year’s gas tax hike.

Neither organization said much of anything when the Transportation Trust Fund was being run into the ground in the first place. Neither expends much energy advocating for fiscal restraint in general. The NJEA is usually 100% wrong but at least they take a position in these momentous debates! On the issue of tax reform, the Chamber doesn’t even attempt to exert its influence to help hold New Jersey politicians accountable for putting state taxpayers in a position where eliminating SALT deductions would hurt so badly. Said another way: if our state taxes didn’t suck, federal tax reform would be something to celebrate for all New Jerseyans. 

With friends like these, is it any wonder why New Jersey elections continually produce candidates as far-left as Marx and as corrupt as Mugabe?

New Jersey is entering a critical stage beginning January 16th when Phil Murphy becomes its 56th governor. Murphy plans to spend $75 billion MORE than we already are powered by tax increases which add up to only $1.2 billion. As anyone who didn’t learn mathematics in an Abbott district knows, that means the Governor-elect is either going to (1) fall through on almost all of his promises or (2) come after the Middle Class and the business community with taxes and fees he has yet to admit to contemplating (btw- The N.J. Chamber said nothing about any of this during the actual election but sent not one but TWO email blasts election week criticizing federal tax reform). 

A storm is coming. If the League and the Chamber want to be something more than hosts for a glorified cocktail party and rubber chicken dinner circuit? They’ll open their mouths and say something about it.

If they don’t care? And want to stay comfortably in the herd? The best service they could offer their overlapping constituencies going forward is a series of seminars on how to pull of an efficient out-of-state relocation.

A state where some animals are more equal than others doesn’t have much of a future. 

Matt Rooney
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MATT ROONEY is's founder and editor-in-chief, a practicing New Jersey attorney, and the host of 'The Matt Rooney Show' on 1210 WPHT every Sunday evening from 7-10PM EST.