It’s shameful to spend $300 million on the Statehouse
When you're broke, you don't redo your kitchen. When you have bills you can't pay, you live without central air conditioning and hope for a better day. When you don't have the means, you deal with how your house is. That's if you're you and me.
Not so if you're governor Christie and the house you're talking about is the executive side of the statehouse in Trenton. His controversial push for a $300 million Statehouse reno job was just approved by the State Capitol Joint Management Commission. It's an 8 person panel, some of whom are staffers from the governor's own administration. Nothing biased there, right? The vote was 7-0 in favor with one abstention.
Senator Raymond Lesniak has said Christie routed this through the joint commission in order to avoid a legislative vote. He's filed an open records request with the treasurer's office seeking cost estimates, bid documents, and other reports. He's suspicious to say the least.
The governor of course has used the sky is falling tactic to have taxpayers accept this massive expenditure, saying it could be a matter of life and death. A consultant deemed the executive portion of the Statehouse to be in "a state of advanced deterioration that threatens the life, health and safety" of those who work there. Yeah, and who hired him? Yet Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno said, "I've worked in the State House for eight years and I'm still standing in one piece with no bruises. If elected, I will scrap this project."
I've been told by a number of people in the construction trades, even by some who have special experience with renovating historical buildings such as the 224 year old structure in question, that it would be far cheaper to abandon an old building like this entirely and construct a modern, brand new one. It could be done for less than half the cost I am told.
Are we so proud of our history here with all the grand decisions these law makers and governors have made on our behalf that we want to pay more than we need to just to preserve this decrepit building? We can't even fund our pension system yet we're going to waste this money. It's shameful.