Fiscal sanity must be New Jersey’s Legislature’s No. 1 priority

Absolutely amazing! Where does the insanity stop? For years we have been regaled by embarrassing examples of state and local government corruption, incompetence, unrestrained fiscal irresponsibility and political self-promotion. It seems the chickens have finally come home to roost.

Now, fast forward to this latest chapter in our theater of the absurd – the state’s budget crisis. Never mind the nonproductive power struggle between the governor and the Democratic legislative majority (with the Republicans looking on gleefully).

By what exercise of twisted logic do we justify designating as “non-essential” and then shutting down, services that generate significant revenue to the state?

As an example, the casinos and lottery operations reportedly generate $3.5 million per day to state revenues – that’s almost $1.3 billion per year. Why sacrifice even one day of those revenues, let alone seven days worth – especially in the midst of this fiscal crisis. The governor could certainly have exempted these services from the “shutdown,” except that was just another way to show the Legislature who the boss was.

Are New Jersey’s finances in extremis? You bet! Should we insist on fiscal responsibility going forward? Of course! The principal obligation of the governor, the state Legislature and both political parties must be to enact legislation that will bring some sense and fiscal intelligence to our state finances going forward.

Joel Bohm