Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chris Christie - Bad for New Jersey Business

One of the assumptions of the Christie approach to the New Jersey budget crisis is that he is doing what needs to be done to keep and attract businesses to New Jersey.   After all, in-state businesses provide jobs and tax revenue for essential government services.  So reducing taxes on business and their highly compensated executives during this time of fiscal restraint is marketed as the best way to keep these businesses in the state.  Never mind that Christie’s “shared sacrifice” is exclusively imposed on low- and middle-income wage earners.

It in the Republic Party’s DNA to instinctively kill government, no matter how good or bad the services it provides.  This started when Ronald Reagan was governor of California and Proposition 13 was subsequently passed.  (Ask any Californian how well their government has functioned since Proposition 13), and has been the Republic Party’s mantra on the national scale since then.  Christie’s cap on property tax increases is almost identical to that failed California initiative.

The fallacy in this argument is that lowering taxes alone will not improve the situation for Jersey-based businesses.  As our infrastructure crumbles, our hospitals become overcrowded, and our schools fail to develop local talent (especially in the high tech area) to feed these businesses, the desirability of locating or staying in the state drops dramatically.  Job-creating businesses are like complex organisms, and thrive not only on their balance sheet, but also on the quality of life in their indigenous environment.  If you want to see what New Jersey will be like after social services and infrastructure are ignored and mismanaged, just take a ride through any inner-city neighborhood.

As I’ve noted before, the governor has a tough job.  But his one-dimensional approach to solving this problem has been irrefutably proven wrong during the Reagan and Bush administrations.  The governor needs to take a holistic approach to solving not an economic problem, but a socio-economic problem to make New Jersey a better place to live and work.  I am not optimistic that any Republican can realize this.

A note on nomenclature in this blog:  For some reason, the right has decided to call the Democratic Party the “Democrat” party.  I’m not sure why they do this, but if it’s a good idea, I’ll adopt it and call their party the “Republic” party.

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