Thursday, April 20, 2006

Corzine's wimp factor

The Philadelphia Inquirer's lead editorial today, Stand firm, Governor, is somewhat of a call on New Jersey Governor Corzine to not back down everytime he meets resistance from his party's members in the Legislature. The editorial:

The office of governor in New Jersey is supposedly the most powerful in the country. So far, you wouldn't know it by Gov. Corzine.

Corzine's meekness was on full display in his mystifying vote of confidence for State Sen. Wayne Bryant (D., Camden). Bryant is reportedly under investigation by federal authorities for allegations concerning his former cushy, $38,200-a-year consulting job at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. While on the payroll for doing goodness-only-knows at the school, Bryant also secured millions in state funds for UMDNJ. He's chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

That porky arrangement was in perfect keeping with Bryant's view of state government. Over the years, he has enriched himself and several members of his family at the trough of taxpayer-funded jobs and contracts.

The federal probe has prompted Republican calls for Bryant to give up his powerful chairmanship. Corzine at first trod where he need not have, saying that forcing out Bryant was "premature," and that accusations are not proof of wrongdoing. Apparently that wasn't good enough for Bryant, because Corzine soon issued a follow-up statement expressing confidence in Bryant's "leadership," and "respect" for the senator.

It was an unseemly act of kissing up, especially after Bryant had declared the governor's proposed budget dead on arrival. "This is not the budget I will be voting on June 30," Bryant huffed. Maybe Corzine still holds out hope of winning over the committee chairman in budget negotiations, but so far this political romance looks very one-sided.

He's only been governor three months, but it isn't comforting that so far Corzine is demonstrating a pattern of retreating at the slightest protest from the Legislature.

In his inaugural address, Corzine vowed to fight corruption and rebuked lawmakers for neglecting their fiscal duties. But when Bryant and Sen. Sharpe James (D., Newark) cried foul, Corzine backed down the next day and essentially apologized for being too harsh.

Sooner or later, the governor will need to stand up to such bullying. Taxpayers might accept Corzine's proposed sales tax increase, grudgingly, if they believe he is doing all he can to clean up financial waste. But it's hard to sweep the system clean while you're backpedaling.

I previously spoke about Corzine's "get tough, hold me accountable" Inaugural Address here and the hasty retreat he beat from his get tough stance one day later after his party elders (a/k/a bosses) didn't like the lecture he gave them.

Even though I didn't vote for Corzine, I would support him if he was making tough decision about the budget and corruption. Instead, he takes the easy way out on both -- raise taxes instead of (really) cutting the budget and the waste in state government and pal around with the party bosses that he sold his sole to in order to get elected to the U.S. Senate.

Remember, Corzine's ex-wife warned us about this.

We've got a long four years ahead of us.

(Note: I would discuss Senator Wayne Bryant's problems and Corzine's coziness with him, but the Senator's son died last night. I think a moratorium should be observed.)

Well its no surprise about Corzine backing down on the slightest whim of Bryant and others in the political bosses arena.

One would think he would slam the arrogant Bryant. But then too, one must look at the bribe made to protect Atlantic City from the smoking ban the rest of the state is dealing with.

Oh by the way, funny how we have a public no smoking ban, but the New Jersey budget needs more people to smoke so they can levy and additional 35 cents per pack for taxes.
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