By Doug Steinhardt
Accountability is an important lesson. It’s one I learned as a child, from parents who taught me the value of hard work. I taught it to my children, who are 17 and 22 today. And I learned, as the Mayor of my hometown, that you don’t spurn your constituents; they trusted you to lead. Accountability matters.
Unfortunately, too many of the politicians in Trenton don’t understand accountability. They spend money we don’t have, adopt policies we can’t afford, and saddle small businesses with regulations we don’t need. Governor Murphy is one of those politicians.
Covid-19 has challenged leaders in every State, from both parties, in different ways. Forty-nine Governors have outlined economic reopening plans that balance personal and economic health, provide meaningful dates and benchmarks, and recognize the importance of small business, but not Phil Murphy.
New Jerseyans from all over the State reached out to Governor Murphy by letter, email, press conference, and otherwise. In response, he covered his ears, closed his eyes, and told them that their interventions to him don’t matter, “not one little bit.” He reminded us, more than once, that if we don’t like his dictates, we can ”move to another state.”
In times like these, New Jerseyans want accountability, but Phil Murphy avoids it. That is why the NJGOP banded together with small business owners from around the State and filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Governor’s executive orders and the over-reach of his executive authority.
The Governor has irreversibly damaged New Jersey small businesses by arbitrarily declaring some essential and others non-essential. While mom and pop barbers, brew pubs, retailers and more are closed and struggling, big box stores, with their big cash cushions, are open and thriving. The Murphy Administration picked economic winners and losers and, by doing so, turned the right to private property into a privilege.
Murphy says the Bill of Rights is “above [his] pay grade,” but it’s not above ours. Our interventions may not matter to him, but they matter to us. This lawsuit lets plaintiffs plead their case to New Jersey’s courts, since New Jerseyans’ pleas to their Governor are largely ignored.
The Governor’s personal wealth may insulate him from the economic side effects of his bad judgment, but our State’s small business owners and 1.1 million unemployed are far less lucky. Worse yet, all of us will pay the price for his bad judgment and fiscal mismanagement long after he’s gone, in November 2021.
We are proud to champion the rights of small business owners and unemployed workers. Let’s just hope that in a state where all three branches of government are controlled by Democrats, one of them starts listening.
DOUG STEINHARDT is chairman of the New Jersey Republican Party (NJGOP).