The new Governor has been in office for only a month and already the special interests are lining up to fill their pockets with your money. The State Senate, lead by Democratic Senator Steve Sweeney, pushed through a committee vote to raise the pay of NJ judges and prosecutors $24,000 over the next three years. And even though the judges haven't had a raise in several years, they already make $165,000 which is more than double the median household income in our state.

So not only do the rich get richer, their taking money from middle and working class taxpayers to do it. On one side stand the Democratic majority claiming that it's difficult to hire qualified judges without more money. On the other, Republicans like Senator Mike Doherty saying that there is no shortage of lawyers looking for the comfort, security and riches of a Judicial appointment.

Thankfully three of five Republicans on the committee voted no. Senators Addiego, O'Scanlon and Bucco stood on common sense and principle. Senator Sam Thompson sold out to the special interests and the Democratic majority and Steve "Gas Tax" Oroho didn't even vote.

How disgraceful. In a state where we don't have the resources to fully fund pension promises, nor the desire on the part of the politically connected elite to negotiate a fair compromise on health benefits for public workers, the powerful insiders get a huge bump in pay.

And it gets worse. Not only do the judges get to approach a comfortable, three times the median household income level of compensation, they'll get a lifetime of pension benefits...at a higher level. Not to be excluded, nor outdone, the members of the new Governor's cabinet will also get a hefty raise, $34,000 to be exact, to bring their compensation to $175,000.

Of course, this is all what you can see publicly. What about the sneaky bond deals like the one Christie orchestrated for the state house renovation? What about the attorneys taking public money to do unnecessary jobs, like Jeff Chiesa performed in Atlantic City?

What's most disappointing perhaps is the spark of common sense we saw from Steve Sweeney's office, when the Senator actually said it may not be a good time for higher taxes. Then he turns around and makes sure the connected, elite insiders get their pay day. Disgusting and disgraceful.

How do these politicians look working people in the eye knowing they are making NJ less affordable everyday as they reward their friends and connections?

I'd say call Steve Sweeney's office and tell him, no giant pay raise for elite judges, but he'll likely just ignore you. In any case, if you'd like to give him a piece of your mind and ask him why a judge making $165,000 with a pension expected on retirement deserves a $24,000 raise as your cost of living continues to rise? Here's his local office number: (856) 251-9801

Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015. Tweet him @NJ1015 or @BillSpadea.

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