OPINION: Sweeney’s ‘radical surgery’ option is actually cosmetic (at best)

By Matt Rooney

Senate President Steve Sweeney isn’t the Trenton Republicans’ least favorite person these days. He hasn’t been for a long time, actually, given his fair weather tactical alliance with Chris Christie during the latter politician’s stormy tenure in the State House. Regular readers are familiar with the history.

One reason for the persistence of warm-and-fuzzy feelings: Sweeney is a traditional labor Democrat while Phil Murphy, his frenemy before, during, and after the recently concluded intra-party budget battle, is the second coming of Karl Marx.

He’s perceived as the “lesser of two evils” for a GOP completely shut out of power until, in all likelihood, at least January 2022. And while they may have a point, albeit a weak one, let’s remember that:

…..Sweeney wanted to raise many taxes (including huge job-killing increases on businesses).

…..Murphy wanted to raise all of our taxes.

…..Sweeney and the public sector unions usually agree and collaborate but occasionally fight (the NJEA spent millions in a vain attempt to dislodge him back in 2017).

…..Murphy and the public sector unions are close to qualifying for a common law marriage. #GetARoom

…..Sweeney recently told NJ 101.5 that New Jersey needs “radical surgery” to save itself.

…..Murphy continues to insist that our fiscal tumor is benign as he continues to pick our pockets with one-off gimmicks, the budgetary equivalent of magic tonics peddled by con men. 

So is Senator Sweeney’s diagnosis — and his favored solutions — really all that different from Phil Murphy’s?


Back during the budget battle, Grover Norquist and Doug Kellogg of ‘Americans for Tax Reform’ shared a guest op-ed with our Save Jersey audience after analyzing Murphy’s and the Democrat legislature’s competing proposals, lamenting that “Democrats who can see faults in Governor Murphy’s $1.7 billion slate of tax hikes have followed a similar path anyways, moving burdens around seemingly out of political self-interest, not in the interest of protecting taxpayers.” See above.

Philosophically/ Neither Murphy nor Sweeney acknowledge the primary causation behind New Jersey’s fiscal nightmare: a stubborn, very undemocratic Leftist belief that the taxpayers exist to serve the government and not the other way around.

Exhibit A: Both men have been hugely critical of the recent Janus decision despite overwhelming evidence that the power of public sector unions has been the single biggest factor in destabilizing out state’s finances. Denying First Amendment rights to union workers to protect… unions? Isn’t that a little hypocritical? And contradictory? 

You couldn’t be blamed for thinking so!

But Murphy is actively pursuing the status quo on steroids. Sweeney’s “solutions” include allowing local sales tax levies (!), merging schools and towns, and throwing up new tolls on interstate highways; he’s refusing to acknowledge that the problem might not be a “revenue problem” at all and, instead of leading a hard look at how Trenton operates and breaking out the red pens, the Senate President’s policies suggest that locals and taxpayers must once again sacrifice, a little more, to serve that elusive, ever-moving and conveniently subjective goal of “fairness.”

No one is talking about THE problem: addressing the poisonous tax climate that’s driving the people who pay the bills to other states.

When you’ve been diagnosed with advanced cancer, Save Jerseyans, and both doctors with whom you’ve consulted decline to treat the tumor? And differ only in their estimates of your remaining time left above ground? That’s not really much of a choice. 

“Radical surgery”?

More like a nose job on a patient with a terminal illness.

New Jersey Republicans’ time would be better spent coming up with AND MARKETING some REAL, genuinely radical solutions instead of praising and relying upon the guy who’s promising only a slower demise for our once great Garden State.