June 30, 2005

NJ Government Shutdown? (Updated)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:06 pm

As of this writing, the Democrats in New Jersey’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 people’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 Jersey’s Government will shut down, except for “essential services”.

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 “essential services” 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 “Rebates.” The state takes income tax proceeds from taxpayers and redistributes some of them in the form of “rebates”. So, a “cut” 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 “mandated spending cuts” (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 it’s really not an “increase,” because the state already has the money. It’s just giving less back. Clear?

One thing is, however, clear. We’ve been mugged again.

Embarrassing Moment, To Say the Least.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:00 pm

Key, of Key Issues, shared a story about her being publicly embarrassed at a local eatery by the slightly too-loud remarks to her by her young daughter. In turn, Moogie, of Moogie’s World, wrote of becoming red-faced in a supermarket as a result of a statement to a stranger that only a three-year old could make. Both stories are hilarious, even though the incidents described in each were surely anything but funny at the time for those involved.

Those stories reminded me of a similar one told to me by a guy I used to work with about 15 years ago. I frankly do not remember whether he knew the person who is the subject of the story or whether he was there (in the bank) when it happened. Either way, I am told that it is a true story. Here goes.

A young, attractive, well-manicured, well-coiffed, expensively-dressed suburban mother brought her son into the local bank in their very upscale town so she could take care of the family’s banking. The little guy (We’ll call him “Tommy”) appeared to be about five or six years old.

The line on that day was particularly long. Not surprisingly, it didn’t take too much time for the little guy to become bored. He wandered over to the stand-up writing desk where the withdrawal and deposit slips are available for use by customers, and, despite his mother’s protestations, he grabbed himself a few of each and returned to the line next to his mother. By this time, there were still a half-dozen people in front of the mother and a half-dozen more had lined up behind her.

Here’s how I’m told it went from there.

Mom: “Tommy, I told you not to touch anything. Now you go back there and put those papers back where you found them.”

Tommy: (Completely ignores Mom and plays with the deposit slips)

Mom: “Tommy, you heard me. Put those back where you found them!”

Tommy: “No.”

(Of course, by now everyone on line is listening to this exchange.)

Mom: “Don’t you dare tell me ‘no’. You put those papers back this minute!!”

Tommy: “No.”

Mom: “That’s it! If you don’t put those back right now, I’m gonna tell Daddy about this when he comes home, and he will not be happy.”

Tommy: “If you tell Daddy, I’ll tell Grandma I saw you with your mouth on Daddy’s pee-pee.”

The mortified mom, with son in tow, quietly and quickly stepped out of the line and left the bank, quite possibly never to return.

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