Tuesday, July 04, 2006

State Budget - Courier - Mapp: Green needs to lay off union rhetoric

Published in the Courier News, Tuesday, July 4, 2006

[Letter to Editor]
Green needs to lay off union rhetoric

Recently, Assemblyman Jerry Green and others in the state Legislature thought it would be a good idea to take a page from the "how to" guide of late President Ronald Reagan on targeting union employees for the sake of political expediency.

In these very tough budget times, Green and company are advocating concessions from state workers' unions and are asking the governor to consider what would be tantamount to breaking collective bargaining agreements hammered out, in good faith, over the years. All of this in an effort to plug a gaping hole in the state's budget. What would drive this group of state legislators to conceive of this very bad idea is baffling at best and, at worst, is a betrayal of the labor movement.

The idea was a poorly conceived knee-jerk reaction to the governor's call to increase the state's sales tax from 6 to 7 percent in an effort to balance the budget. Assemblyman Green's idea ignores the need for a more long-term fix to the state's budget problems. It also ignores the harsh economic realities faced by all working-class people who are feeling an economic squeeze brought on by the policies of the Bush administration and the greed of the oil industry.

What must poor working class people do when misguided legislators seek to cut their pay at a time when inflation is on the rise? I guess we'll have to wait until next year for the answer.

Any proposal that would seek to have the governor balance the budget on the backs of state employees, in violation of collective bargaining agreements, should be rejected on its face. I am appalled that the assemblyman from the 22nd District would even allow himself to be used as an instrument by New Jersey's southern Democrats to turn the screws on a governor who is willing to make the hard choices today in order to steady the state's floundering fiscal ship. Like a true corporate leader, Gov. Corzine has his eyes on solutions that will lead to sustainable, long-term fiscal growth.

Fortunately for state workers and their unions, Assemblyman Joe Cryan, chair of the state Democratic Party and a member of the Assembly's finance committee, and Gov. Corzine have wisely rejected the trio's misguided salvo aimed at state workers' unions.

I call on the trio of Green, Sweeney and Moriarty to abandon their Band-Aid solution to the budget crisis and to seek solutions that will lead to greater revenue generation. Furthermore, I challenge them to come up with ideas or to support ideas that will lead to the consolidation of government for the purpose of lessening the property tax burden while improving the efficiency and effectiveness of government. Assemblyman Green, hands off organized labor, please.

Freeholder, Union County


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Plainfield resident since 1983. Retired as the city's Public Information Officer in 2006; prior to that Community Programs Coordinator for the Plainfield Public Library. Founding member and past president of: Faith, Bricks & Mortar; Residents Supporting Victorian Plainfield; and PCO (the outreach nonprofit of Grace Episcopal Church). Supporter of the Library, Symphony and Historic Society as well as other community groups, and active in Democratic politics.