THE SAPIENT SPARROW: conservatism for commoners

"What has always made the State a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven."–Holderlin

Will New Jersey Do the Right Thing On Cap-and-Trade?

From the Americans for Prosperity Blog comes the item below.  Mr. Lagerkvist was on Fox News last evening outlining AFP’s fight to not only obtain information about this in NJ, but also to overturn it there and keep it from spreading across the Country.  NJ elected Chris Christie to eradicate this sort of secrecy and corruption that continues to steal wealth from all of us.  Time to act, Governor Christie!

By Phil Kerpen
Published August 04, 2010 |

Cap-and-trade is stalled in Congress but it’s already up and running in 10 Northeastern states – and it isn’t pretty. With a drumbeat building in New Jersey for repeal of the state cap-and-trade legislation and attention in the global warming debate being increasingly focuses on the states, this could be a key turning point in the state-level fight over global warming taxes.

Mark Lagerkvist of New Jersey Watchdog has blown the lid off the secretive – and possibly corrupt – working of the so-called Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI, pronounced like the name Reggie), the nation’s only currently-operating cap-and-trade scheme for greenhouse gases and the model for a the proposed national program.

Read the rest at FOX Forum.

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Filed under: RGGI, , , , ,


Last week, NJ Governor, Chris Christie, delivered a sobering “State of the State” speech.  His central message stated the obvious, the State of New Jersey is in disastrous financial shape.  In an effort to control the budget, Governor Christie announced spending freezes and cost-cutting measures.  One of these cut the NJ Transit State subsidy to the tune of $32.7 million.  Governor Christie encouraged NJ Transit to “revisit” their union contracts in order to make spending cuts of their own and to increase their efficiency.

Today, the Executive Director of NJ Transit responded to the $32.7 million subsidy loss.  They plan to raise fares by as much as 30% as soon as this coming May.  For a person traveling between South Orange and NY Penn Station, this would mean an increase of $46.20 per month—from $154 to over $200 for a monthly pass.  There was nothing in their response about re-negotiating union contracts or efficiency measures, although they did blame Governor Christie for the upcoming fare increases, service cuts and possible employee furloughs.  (Their fault finding sounded more than vaguely whiny.)  NJ Transit has depended on the public dole for so long, that it does not occur to them that revenue could be increased by other means.  I would wager that increasing ridership by lowering fares, increasing service on selected routes and decreasing it on others was not explored as an option to close their budget gap.  Moreover, I doubt that that those union contracts will ever be revisited, except under extreme duress.

In this age of class warfare, we are told over and over again that the “rich”, “fat cat bankers”, “Wall Street”, “Corporations”, “Republicans”, “Bush”, etc. have caused our present economic catastrophe.  Furthermore, we hear that the “Progressives” in Washington want to correct these terrible transgressions against the “middle class”, “working people”, etc. through “reforms”, i.e., increased regulations and penalties designed to “get our money back”, “decrease future risk”, “be fair”, etc.  This type of rhetoric is orchestrated to distract us away from the real culprits in our midst–the public unions who have consistently paid for pensions and other benefits by parasitically latching onto tax-payer money.

Governor Christie has it right.  Instead of bashing those in the private sector who actually create products, wealth and jobs, our attention should be focused on how those in the public sector can make pension contributions of $125K during their working lives and then receive approximately $2 million during their retirement.  Obviously, there are some unions, like the Reno, Nevada Police Department, who have a completely self-funded pension plan.  These pay their own way and should be a model for all public unions.  However, the fact is that the vast majority of public unions have shortfalls between the benefits that they have promised their members and what their income allows them to pay.  Like NJ Transit, they expect the difference to be made up by a tax-payer who has already paid for their service and then pay again through increased taxes or, worse still, by a tax-payer who never uses NJ Transit at all.

Our anger would be better directed at the public unions that feel a sense of entitlement.  Despite the incredibly tough economy, they are strangers to the concept of sacrifice. In a time when “working people” are suffering pay cuts, working fewer hours or without employment altogether, the public unions expect the incomes and lifestyles of their retirees to endure untouched.  Nice work, if you can get it!

Filed under: NJ budget deficit, , , , ,

"His eye is on the sparrow, and He surely watches me." --Mrs. Doolittle, 1905