If NJ shuts down furloughed state workers should not be paid (Opinion)
As the clock ticks down to another possible state government shutdown, there are similarities and differences from last year. 2017 brought about a government shutdown when a Republican governor couldn't see eye to eye with a Democratic majority controlled legislature. It also brought about one of the most iconic meme-worthy photos in Jersey history. Think Christie, lawn chair, sand.
A big difference this year is we have a Democrat as governor who can't get along with his own party. For the first time I can remember we have a Democratic party in the legislature talking about spending cuts instead of tax increases. Yet that doesn't mean much when you consider the numbers. Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney pointed out last year Democrats were fighting over a $34.7 billion spending plan. This year Murphy wants a $37.4 billion budget and the other Democrats want $36.5 billion. Still $1.8 billion more than last year.
One thing will be quite similar however. If and when the state government shuts down and non-essential state workers are furloughed, in the long run they will lose nothing. I guarantee it. Even fiscally conservative Chris Christie caved a month later and agreed on back pay for furloughed workers. With a progressive nitwit like Murphy in charge, is there any doubt that any government shutdown will simply turn into a paid vacation for state workers? You and I won't be allowed to conduct business at motor vehicles. Or go to Island Beach State Park. Or make use of services in state courts. Yet furloughed workers will no doubt have several days off then get back pay. Hell, with a governor like Murphy courting favor with state workers I wouldn't be surprised if he offers them interest.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines furlough as follows:
furlough: a temporary leave from work that is not paid and is often for a set period of time.
Not paid. Hmmm. I guess politicians here use the New Jersey Abridged Dictionary.
As the shenanigans in Trenton continue year after year, it is unfair that the only people hurt during a government shutdown are the taxpayers. Politicians will come out unscathed and state workers will be protected from loss. Having no consequences results in a higher likelihood of more shutdowns in the future. So Happy 4th of July to you! Unless you're a state worker. In which case, Happy June 30th through ???
More from New Jersey 101.5