Revenue-hungry Trenton setting up task force to study loneliness

TRENTON, N.J. – Trenton is currently debating whether to raise taxes to pay for new spending and long under-serviced priorities. If they can’t work it out before July 1st, state government will go into shutdown mode.

Yet somehow there’s always a little more cash for politicians’ big government ideas. At the end of last week, the Assembly passed legislation (A-5314) which, if eventually signed into law, would set up a task force “to study how social isolation and loneliness impact certain populations.”

The bill was unopposed. It passed 74-0 with no abstentions.

The Democrat sponsors -Matthew Milam (D-1), Vincent Mazzeo (D-2) and Andrew Zwicker (D-16) – are all facing reelection this year in battleground legislative districts.

“Social isolation is not just a social issue, but a public health concern,” said Zwicker. “For elderly and other vulnerable and special populations, isolation can negatively impact health outcomes and lead to premature death. This task force will have the critically important work of studying this issue and how it impacts certain populations. With the research and evidence discovered as a result, we can begin to effectively address social isolation.”

How Zwicker and Trenton plan to “address” social isolation (and what it would cost) remains to be seen.

And do “taxpayers who can’t afford to move out of New Jersey” qualify as isolated persons? 

It’s unclear. No one is sure how much compiling and analyzing available data will cost either, but the Office of Legislative Services believes the state “will realize additional costs associated with analyzing the data collected for each population and producing separate social isolation reports” among other expenses.