By Assemblyman Hal Wirths
Gov. Murphy penned an editorial this past Sunday in the Star-Ledger celebrating the Business Roundtable, a group comprised of CEOs of the nation’s major companies, after they changed their mission statement to focus on the betterment of employees. The Business Roundtable was right to take that new stance, a company can only be as productive as its workers – and their well-being should be a primary focus so they can be the best and most personally satisfied employees and citizens possible.
Murphy followed that with a statement that showed he is the epitome of a very old saying: if you are not liberal when you are young, you have no heart. If you are not conservative when you are old, you have no brain.
To begin a paragraph he said that he was “an unapologetic capitalist.” To end the same paragraph he said “states that build an economy…”
An unapologetic capitalist would know that states do not build economies. Economies build states.
The English colonies would not have become American states without economic strength. That strength led to taxes by the English government that hurt the colonists, making them less free and less prosperous. Their liberty to do what they please with their prosperity was being taken from them. And the founding fathers and mothers, the leather-apron middle class, revolted to regain and maintain their economic freedom.
An unapologetic capitalist would not promote and rely on taxing people because an unapologetic capitalist would understand that taxation does more to harm than good. Murphy doesn’t realize that. In fact, everything he relies on is based on taxation – and the state economy is worse off because of him and the Democrats’ tax hikes.
Since Democrats’ took control of the legislature in 2002, they have raised taxes 139 times – a minimum $11 billion increase on state taxpayers. Subsequently, New Jersey’s economy has infamously been one of the worst in the nation.
Since Murphy took office, over 20 taxes and fees have been raised at a cost of more than $2.5 billion on New Jersey residents, and most are regressive; hurting working families the most. The result is that the residents of New Jersey are poorer than they should be, and the economy is weaker than it should be.
Despite hitting taxpayers with the third-highest burden in the nation, our state has the 48th lowest surplus per capita. That’s a strong sign that high taxes are reducing revenue potential because it stymies economic growth. In 2018, on the heels of over $1.5 billion of new taxes in Murphy and Democrats’ first budget together, job growth was the slowest since 2011 at less than 1 percent, which was only half the national rate.
Right now New Jersey is benefiting from the same economic expansion as the rest of the nation, but it is not as strong because of the policies Murphy and Democrats’ continually enact.
The Business Roundtable has it right; people need to be prioritized over profit. The difference is they will do it however it best mutually benefits the employees and the company. There is no need for a one-size fits all government mandate that hamstrings employers, drives up production costs unnecessarily and makes companies less efficient because they have to comply with a coercive government.
If Murphy and Democrats actually listened to the business community, which regularly testifies against their policies in the legislature, they would find that the constant taxes, regulations and mandates are making the economy less prosperous. Employers care about their employees, just as the Business Roundtable expressed in their new mission statement. They just want to do it their way.
The top down approach is a fatal conceit, and the road the hell is paved with good intentions. An unapologetic capitalist would trust employers and entrepreneurs to do what is in the best interest of employees and consumers – because without them there is no business. But our governor isn’t an unapologetic capitalist; he is an unapologetic liberal ideologue that thinks governments build economies. He couldn’t be more wrong.
New Jersey’s motto is liberty and prosperity, because our founders knew what that meant. Murphy needs to learn, too.
Harold “Hal” Wirths was state labor commissioner from 2010 to 2016 and a small-business owner for almost 20 years. He is a state assemblyman for the 24th legislative district, representing Sussex County and parts of Warren and Morris counties