UPDATE: The NJ Senate is now in session, the Assembly (scheduled for 2pm) is still Pending. Watch.
UPDATE2: Senate’s on break, waiting for the Assembly. Link above, refresh often.
It’s impossible to watch this budget stalemate play out and not see at work the most cynical, ugliest conduct going on, right in the forefront and even hardly hidden at all between legislative niceties. This is turf war, concentrations of power, sausage-making with all the greasy, gristly smelly bits shoved into the casing.
And into the breach, ere comes Steve Sweeney’s new PAC, New Jerseyans for a Better Tomorrow*
Sweeney’s PAC Sweeney knows this budget stalemate – and the looming budget deadline wall we’re in danger of smacking into – have you all jittery **. Sweeney (OK, let’s say his PAC) wants you to call Speaker Vincent Prieto and light a fire under him, according to the mass email dropped into my Inbox this afternoon. I’ve got no problem with the call to direct action, we do it here all the time. And ditto, zero issue with broadcasting Prieto’s office phone number.
But is Team Sweeney worried about the impact on the stuff of your life if we shut down? Nope. Team Sweeney wants you to freak out that you might mis fireworks and a big party. Quoting from the email:
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto’s plan to shut down the New Jersey government is threatening the 4th of Julyplans for the 150,000 people expected to attend Jersey City’s fourth annual fireworks festival at Liberty State Park. The all day festival is highlighted by the state’s largest fireworks display and a concert by hometown legends Kool & the Gang.
Well, as Matthew Brian Hersh said today, “While a powerful constituency, I think he overestimates Kool & The Gang’s political reach.” PREACH, brother. Meanwhile If these people actually cause government shuts down here’s of what we’re dealing with, the real stuff:
- You can’t renew your driver’s license, which you might need for your job
- Parks and beaches could close (it’s 91 degrees right now)
- If you work for the state, non-essential workers could be furloughed; that makes it more complicated if you need something
- Lottery would shut down (and we lose that revenue)
- Courts close (your divorce grinds to a halt, arrested people may get stuck in the system)
- Road projects (wasn’t it fun when these shut down – different reason – last year?)
* Some of these PAC names sound like souped-up fascist youth organizations to me.
** That is, assuming MikaGate isn’t stealing your attention. If it is, stop. Healthcare. Budget. Immigrants. Climate. Focus.
This afternoon, advocates and legislators crowded into Committee Room 11 denouncing the threat of government shutdown, and the budget held hostage by Gov. Christie, who CWA’s Hetty Rosenstein says ” wants revenge against Horizon and Senate President Sweeney who acts like there is only one house in the legislature.” Watch: