I have a story for you that should shock and enrage all of us.

Many of you may have friends that own small business or perhaps you're brave enough to own one yourself. I'm not sure if the word is "brave" or recklessly insane: Trying to operate a business in New Jersey is like being behind enemy lines in World War II or like trying to run a store in New York City in the height of mafia shakedowns in the old days.

It's no secret that New Jersey is the least business friendly state in the country and has been for years, long before COVID and the draconian state lockdowns. Now the latest information indicates almost a third of small businesses in the state have gone under, mostly due to Gov. Murphy's lockdowns and the media's non-stop panic machine. That is a devastating number and behind those numbers are real people with real lives, shattered by our No. 1 threat — the state.

To understand just how ruthless the state is in fining and punishing small business people, you just have to ask them to give you an account of what they go through.

A tavern owner in a popular New Jersey town was tipped off that the ABC, that's the Alcoholic Beverage Control agency, was in the area looking for violators during Thanksgiving week. The tavern had one high-top table near the bar, which she thought was legal. She was told by the tipster to move it away from the bar, a bar that normally would have a dozen or so stools. So the staff moved the table away even though it was in compliance, just to be sure.

About an hour later a man in his 40s walked in and asked why he can't sit at the bar. The owner told him: it was in order to comply with the governor's orders. He said he was just at another place in town and was able to sit at the bar there. The owner said, "I'm sorry but we're just following the rules." He then told her that he would just go back there and give them his business. The owner said, "Do what you gotta do."

She took a ride over to the place the guy mentioned and it was closed. It had been for the past three days, she found out. So, obviously, this was an agent of the state looking to lure an already suffering business owner into violating Murphy's executive order to rack up another fine.

If that doesn't make you sick, then you have no worries about the coronavirus. Your immune system is in tip-top shape. It's one thing to have business taxes and regulations but yet another to try and lure businesses into violations. That is certainly not the first horror story we've heard from business owners in New Jersey and for sure it will continue. Unlike when the government was able to break the back of the mafia to stop their predatory practices, the state IS the government but acts more like the mafia than the mafia.

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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis’ own.

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