A Stem Cell of Corruption
Why hold elections if government is going to ignore the results?
New Jersey voters must be wondering. Last month, a bond issue to borrow $450 million for stem cell research went down to what the New York Times called “a stunning defeat.”
Steve Lonegan, mayor of Bogota, New Jersey, led the opposition, saying, “This is the power of ideas versus big government.”
But New Jersey’s big government boys don’t play that way. You see, two weeks before the election, politicians had already broken ground on a new building to house the research. And after the vote, Governor Jon Corzine said they’d move ahead nonetheless. Senate President Richard Codey agreed, saying, “I think by the time it’s built, we will have the dollars by any means possible.”
One way to get the dough? Going into debt against voter wishes and the state’s constitution. Back in 2002, this same Steve Lonegan sued the State of New Jersey for amassing debt not authorized by the voters — voter authorization being clearly required under the state’s constitution. But in that suit, the state’s highest court simply ignored the constitution, allowing politicians to continue piling on unapproved debt.
Back then, Garden State government had $4 billion in voter-approved debt and $11 billion in non-approved debt. Today, state debt approaches $30 billion.
Lonegan says Jersey politicians are “spitting in the face of every voter in New Jersey.” So he’s mobilizing citizens, which means, hopefully, that Jersey pols are really just spitting into the wind.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.