It was startling to observe an AOL poll (a non-scientific, voluntary poll) which asked:
Who is to blame for the [NJ State Government] shutdown?
As of Monday morning, July 3, 2006, the breakdown of responses was:
State Legislature 18%
Total Votes: 44, 951
What is ironic about the poll results is apparently how willing AOL users were to blame the governor for the current budget mess, although Governor Corzine has only occupied that office for less than six months.
In fact, the most troubling aspects of the current NJ fiscal outlook: the state transportation fund, the school construction fund, the state pension system, etc., were years in the making.
Yet if you were to listen to some political pundits, like the rabid right-wing conservative radio pundit, Harry Hurley, WKXW 1450 AM (see http://www.harryhurley.com/ ) you might think John Corzine created NJ's fiscal crisis single-handedly in the past five months.
Such political punditry and mumbo-jumbo is a public disservice, and distorts the record of honorable public servants, like Gov. Corzine, who have the backbone to stand-up to the Trenton crowd---both Democrats and Republicans alike---and say enough is enough.
Truth be told, it was Hurley's friend, former Gov. Christie Whitman, who used fiscal gimmickry to pass big tax cuts during her eight year tenure in office, chartering the course that has led to today's budget mess.
And, most of the state legislature has been in Trenton for longer than five months. Many have been in the Assembly or Senate for years while simultaneously holding county or local offices that is a clear conflict of interest in terms of fiscal sanity and budgetary propriety.
When push came to shove, the state legislators first call was to slash the benefits of ordinary, hardworking state workers. Never mind that many of these same legislators are bilking the pension system by dual office-holding, and political appointments to jack up their salary for three years before they retire to cash in on higher pension benefits for themselves.