Thurman Hart used to post a New Jersey blog roundup from time to time, and I thought I would try my hand at reviving it. Also, this is your opportunity to tell me about blogs to bookmark. There’s not much going on in the Congressional district blogs, so this week’s theme is the state budget and economy.
Garden State Smart Growth tells us stimulus investment in public transit creates twice as many jobs as roads. Jay Corbolis is unhappy that Governor Christie is cutting subsidies to public transit while giving drivers a “free pass.”
Bill Wolfe examines two New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection cases in detail and shows DEP systematically elevates the protection of the economic interests of polluters over protection of public health.”
Route 55’s Mark Krull promises to cover any public hearings on NJ Transit fare hikes: “I know from riding the bus EVERY DAY that many folks would suffer under a 30% fare hike.” His busdriver says the adency is “WAY TOO TOP HEAVY,” which is exactly what I heard this week about a nearby school districts from a teacher, and what we professors say about college administrations.
Route 55 also discusses the hidden cost of consultants to local governments, but on the other hand, he notes that they are often used to protect against expensive lawsuits. In related news, he may be an “independent conservative,” but Robert Owens covered Cumberland County’s budget meeting in detail, and we need more of that.
Pollster Patrick Murray of Monmouth University thinks the governor is making all the right moves from the public opinion standpoint as he talks tough and makes unilateral cuts. Pollster David Redlawsk has promised us a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll “this semester” on Christie and the budget.
Jersey City Desk says Jersey City Council member Steve Fulop is right, political appointees should not get health benefits:
My vote for best post: Thurman Hart calls the 70-odd independent state agencies an “unconstitutional extension of the executive” and tells Christie that’s where he should look for cuts. The agencies evade normal limits on pay and benefits.
if you take a look just at the Jersey City Incinerator Authority, their meetings are averaging out to 12 hours a year. For this they get taxpayer funded health care. Let’s get nutty and say they work 24 hours a YEAR, that’s still not worth the cost.
The [Office of the Inspector General] study found that 748 people in these hidden government agencies have a salary of at least $100,000… I think it’s also telling that the OIG report doesn’t look at any type of nepotism or patronage. But that is the reason we have so much hidden government here in Jersey. Not only are these authorities seen as a means of handing out patronage and thus maintaining power, they are also a means of taking care of family members who just couldn’t get a real job.