As of this writing, the Democrats in New Jerseyâ€™s Legislature (Democrats control both the senate and the assembly) have not been able to agree on a budget. While each side of the Party of the People postures as having the peopleâ€™s interest in mind, in reality, they remind me more of a pack of jackals fighting over the meat on a carcass.
If they cannot come up with a budget by midnight tonight, New Jerseyâ€™s Government will shut down, except for â€œessential servicesâ€.
The Democrats should do everything in their power to keep that from happening, because if the government shuts down, no one may notice. Worse yet for the Democrats, the people might just like things better that way.
Update: Last night, the Democrat Legislators struck a deal and passed a compromise budget, thereby beating the midnight deadline and the possible shutdown of â€œessential servicesâ€ in the state. Although the rules require that one day passes between committee approval and a floor vote, the Republicans will cooperate with the Democrats by voting to waive the one-day requirement so that the budget can be passed today.
Of course, it is damned near impossible to figure out how badly the New Jersey taxpayer will be screwed (and screwed we most certainly shall be), because in New Jersey the name of the game is â€œRebates.â€ The state takes income tax proceeds from taxpayers and redistributes some of them in the form of â€œrebatesâ€. So, a â€œcutâ€ in rebates equals an increase in tax. Clever, no?
It seems fitting that, in this state, taxing the citizens is not unlike a State-Run Shell Game.
So, what do we have under this Jabberwockian System?
The best I can tell is that we have a $500 million cut in tax rebates (i.e. $500 million in income tax money the state will be keeping, instead of redistributing). However, that comes with a promised $270 million in â€œmandated spending cutsâ€ (Color me skeptical).
Math is not my strong suit, but that looks to me like this amounts to a $230 million tax increase. However, in JerseyTaxSpeak itâ€™s really not an â€œincrease,â€ because the state already has the money. Itâ€™s just giving less back. Clear?
One thing is, however, clear. Weâ€™ve been mugged again.