Governor Murphy quietly just cost you more money (Opinion)
While we were all busy tracking and dodging storms in our little corners of New Jersey, the inevitable financial storm brewing in Trenton just intensified in strength. It was announced Friday, conveniently and quietly, that 'Givenor' just reached a deal with the second of the two big public unions that helped get him elected. This one was for AFSCME.
The CWA got their payback earlier this year. He says the pay increases, or backpay, is covered under the new budget passed a few weeks ago. Not all of it according to Republicans who claim it will undoubtedly hurt the state already crippled by high taxes and an unsustainable debt. Now, if you're in one of these unions it's good news for you and you might be pretty happy with the deal. I'm happy for you. I have nothing against people who work in these unions. But I'm sad and worried for the rest of us, who end up paying the bill, long after you've taken your pension to a more affordable low tax state.
Public unions are a bad idea. Not just my words. Progressive icon and Democrat hero Franklin D. Roosevelt said so generations ago. So did one of the biggest labor leaders of the 20th century, George Meany, long time leader of the AFL-CIO. They realized that without push back from a company management that had to be responsible for the bottom line or face going out of business, unions could take advantage of politicians who really had no accountability to a budget once they left office.
The shareholders (taxpayers like you and me) would have little to say if the right people (supported by public unions) could get elected and re-elected. That's just what's happened here in New Jersey, with a couple of rare exceptions like Christie or Whitman, for generations. Their numbers and power are almost to big to overcome and folks like you and me in the private sector get stuck with the bill.
While my friends with public pensions are long retired and some have wised up and moved out of this high tax, corrupt state. If you're looking for some politician to blame, that let the public union tiger out of the cage, it John F. Kennedy who made promises to public worker sectors and opened the door for massive unionization of government employees.
States that have pushed back against public unions or limit their power and control have sound budgets and lower taxes. Sadly, states, counties, and cities that have given away the store have gone bankrupt, leaving staffing shortages and leaving pensioners with little of what they were promised when these unsustainable promises were made. Eventually that has to happen here, because you just can't keep taxing working private sector people, who don't even know what a pension is, to pay anymore. They're leaving in droves.
It's the most exited state in the country and these union deals are the main driver. It may not happen during 'Givenor' Murphy's term, but it ain't far off on the horizon. Maybe he'll be in Washington by then or maybe he'll be sitting on his porch overlooking the Navesink River in Middletown counting his millions and wondering why this all didn't turn out like the utopia he dreamed it would be. While you and I go to work every day and pay off the debt he and countless politicians before him stuck us with, for the sake of the public union vote. Again, if you're one of the many dedicated public sector employees, I have nothing against you personally and wish you all the best. Like I'm sure you'll wish me after reading and spreading this post to your union buddies.
More from New Jersey 101.5: