State's Bad Image Exacts a Toll
New Jersey's bad image -- high taxes, corrupt politicians -- is hurting business, so the state Chamber of Commerce will join the battle to clean things up.
New Jersey 101.5 FM radio's Kevin McArdle asked Commerce Commissioner Virginia Bauer if the state's image made her job more difficult. She said, "Absolutely." She also said things are not as bad as the media portrays. Now, that's laughable.
Bauer is in the job because her predecessor, the Rev. William Watley, quit after it was disclosed that his church was affiliated with a Newark housing project that was going to get an $11.5 million state loan. A state audit also found rampant mismanagement, including $9 million spent without the comptroller's approval.
In addition, Watley's chief of staff, Lesly Devereaux, resigned after it was revealed she had hired five relatives and it wasn't clear what they did. Does Bauer think we in the media invented all of that?
Dual officeholding is that strange phenomenon where, in a state with 8.5 million people, only a select few are fit for public office, therefore they hold several. They like to be mayors, freeholders and legislators all at once.
Give it a D-: The New Jersey Education Association has launched an effort to avoid a property tax convention with a reform plan for the Legislature. It raises more questions than it answers.
Fly in the ointment? It does not deal with spending, the real culprit. That's why the teachers' union doesn't want a convention; it wants spending to continue as is. With more than 600 school districts, each with its entrenched bureaucracy, the spending will never come down unless the issue is met head-on.