The Differences Between Florio’s and Murphy’s New Jerseys

By Michael Patrick Carroll
Note: This post is a response to Tom Moran’s article “Murphy says we need tax hikes. OK. But what about spending?” which appeared in The Star-Ledger


Florio was not the beginning of the tax revolt, he was its last casualty.

His exactions, piled onto already absurd taxes from Byrne and Kean – coupled with the obscene costs resulting from Abbott and Mount Laurel, and the increasingly leftward tilt of the state – were too much for sane N.J. residents. Voting Florio out of office was their last act of defiance before moving to PA, TX, or NC.

Remember: half the population pays no income taxes. Renters pay no property taxes. Huge numbers work for the government and, therefore, get much more in benefits from taxes than they pay. What is the incentive for any of these people to care about taxes or worry about the size and expense of government?

OF COURSE the people are down with raising other people’s taxes! The poll question most likely to garner essentially unanimous support runs: “How about we give you lots of free stuff, and pay for it by taxing people who make more money than you do?”

And consider: the people who pay the most obscene taxes live in places like Montclair, where they seem to like it. My own home town of Morris Township – among the wealthiest and best run municipalities in the state – just elected two Democrats to the Governing Body. People who worry about high taxes don’t elect Democrats.

The author himself is guilty of patent silliness: schools are NOT, anywhere in N.J., in any fashion, “starved”; we’re among the highest spending jurisdictions in the world. And, for that, we get no better results than places like MA or NH, which spend substantially less. Spending has nothing to do with performance. There need be no “secret plan” to cut taxes and spending. Do what hard-left, deep blue MA does, and we could instantly free up 12% of what we spend on schools. Do what NH does, and we could free up 22%.

If they can do it, and get great results, why can’t we?

And governmental spending is NOT “investment”; it’s spending.

Florio was simply ahead of his time; he faced an electorate which paid taxes and understood economics.

25 years later, the voters who rebelled at his socialism live in more freedom-loving states, replaced by people who believe Paul Krugman’s economic fairy tales.

No, the politics is easy to predict. Those who get back vastly more than they pay in will continue to vote themselves ever increasing amounts of other people’s money. Rich socialists don’t mind and will abet them. The torrent of freedom loving people vamoosing will continue.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Until the inevitable collapse.