If N.J. legislators rally around new elected “taxpayer advocate” idea, then why do we need them?

By Matt Rooney

It just keeps getting better, Save Jerseyans.

As Murphy era Trenton ramps up spending, taxing and borrowing for FY 2019 and beyond, there’s a new idea percolating under the Dome from those who, to their credit, think the new governor’s approach is wacky:

An elected “taxpayer advocate.”

“Trenton has many lobbyists and hundreds of special interests. I call on the majority to pass legislation to create the elected position of taxpayer advocate to analyze all actions by Trenton from the perspective of ‘how much it costs the taxpayer,’” explained Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union), a proponent of the idea. “This advocate will have a budget just like private lobbyists.  If we can spend billions on programs, we can spend a little for our silent majority of residents who cannot afford to live here and do not have a voice in Trenton.”


…isn’t advocating for the taxpayers the legislators’ job??

If it’s not, then why are they there?

To take up space?

Or serve another master?

“If the people wanted a ‘taxpayer advocate,’ they’ve had lots of opportunities,” reacted Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris), a reliable conservative vote in Trenton. “What would make anyone believe that another elected statewide official would have a different mindset from those we already have?”

Another fair point.

Another blown opportunity: just this week, three GOP senators voted to advance Phil Murphy’s proposed state treasurer to a full Senate confirmation vote DESPITE the fact that one of their committee colleagues dug up troubling information including $33 million in missing grant funds during the candidate’s time in Middlesex County government.

I get it, Save Jerseyans. I really do. Trenton’s opposition party has given up. That’s abundantly clear from the recent votes they’ve posted on the board. That hopeless is compounded by the Democrats’ extreme independent expenditure edge.

But Rome wasn’t rebuilt in a day, so the opposition effort right now needs to be focused on DEVELOPING A COHERENT, UNITED, FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE ALTERNATIVE TO THE MURPHY AGENDA, a radical agenda which prioritizes people who aren’t even New Jerseyans. That’s step #1 on the long road to relevance.

Creating a new career politician — with a budget and a salary — is hardly the answer. We have plenty of those already with precious little to show for it.