By Bill Spadea
This post originally appeared at NJ 101.5
Sounds like I’m exaggerating, doesn’t it? Wish I were. Unfortunately this is what life has become in the Garden State. A handful of elite pols making decisions for you.
The latest round of “government knows best” comes in the form of a Senate bill, which passed 23-11, to bar the duly elected President of the United States from the ballot in New Jersey in 2020 unless he releases his tax returns. So despite the fact that President Trump complied with every legal statute for financial disclosure, the Senate Democrats want to deny New Jersey voters their right to make their own choice for President.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse in Jersey, from Murphy raising taxes and AG Gurbir Grewal standing with criminal aliens over legal, law abiding citizens, now Steve Sweeney wants to deny your voting rights. Unfortunately one Republican stood with the morally bankrupt Senate majority.
Republican Senator Kip Bateman voted “yes”. He’s in a district that is trending Democrat and perhaps he’s concerned about his re-election. My first reaction today was thinking he’s more interested in preserving his own seat than truly speaking on behalf of his constituents. But I’ve known Kip for many years and respect our friendship and his leadership on many issues.
He stood with us opposing the gas tax, question #2, the state house renovation and the Christie book deal. So this vote didn’t add up. He called me after the show and explained that he’s always believed Presidents should release their returns as a matter of transparency. So he voted his conscience. OK, points for consistency, BUT he’s wrong to have voted with the majority. The main political reason is that the GOP can no longer afford to give Senate President Steve Sweeney ANY victories in Trenton. Here’s why…
First and foremost, they need to focus on affordability. For all the noise in Trenton, show me where the legislature has even attempted to make the state more affordable and prosperous for the middle and working class. Having difficulty thinking of examples? Me too.
Second, they have a duty to protect the rights of voters in the Garden State. Whether you believe that Trump is right or wrong about not releasing his tax returns should have no bearing on whether the duly elected President who has complied with the financial disclosure rules should be on the ballot. Why should politicians in Trenton decide the choices you should have in 2020 for President? Are NJ voters not capable of making an informed choice? Should Trump voters be denied the right to cast a ballot for the incumbent President? This is voter suppression disguised as moral outrage.
Third, the GOP cannot be an effective opposition party with a shot at taking back the majority until they can keep the caucus together and focus on fighting the money grabbers in power. This bill was a no-brainer to oppose. As far as the non-voting GOP members, O’Scanlon, Bucco and Thompson all had very serious personal reasons that prevented them from being in Trenton. So again, shame on Sweeney for calling the vote when he did.
Sweeney is perhaps the biggest offender. He wants you to believe that he’s a champion of the working and middle class families struggling to stay above water in NJ. He wants you to believe that he’s an honest broker standing up to the over-taxation coming from the Governor. He’s neither of those. He’s a fake and a fraud who has his own pockets lined with big union money all the while supporting nearly every tax hike that has been presented in Trenton for the past decade.
His big gripe with Murphy is over the percentage of tax on legal pot. Ridiculous distraction. Meanwhile, he championed the spike in the minimum wage despite the jobs it will cost us and the pain endured by NJ’s small business community. He was a strong ally of Governor Christie as the lawyers and special interest made money at our expense. He helped create a false compromise regarding pensions in 2011, which only led to an effective decrease in the income of so many teachers across NJ.
Sweeney, Murphy, Grewal and the other elite pols in Trenton don’t have your back. They have no interest in standing up for families in NJ. They’d rather play politics with your money. The common theme? Hatred of Donald Trump.
From Grewal’s endless lawsuits against Trump to Sweeney’s fake “working class hero shtick” to Murphy’s incompetence and anti-Trump soundbites at every opportunity, it’s clear we have no effective leadership in our government.
It’s true that if the polls are accurate, there’s only a remote chance that the President would carry NJ even if he’s on the ballot. But for the elites in Trenton to make that decision for you should offend everyone who stands up for voting rights and the power of the people to elect their leaders.
One last point, why do bills like this get rammed through the Senate with ease, yet there is barely even a whisper about property taxes? Who speaks for New Jersey?