By Bill Spadea September 19, 2017 5:44 PM

If Democratic candidate for Governor gets his way in November, his first few months in office will likely be a big change for the Garden State. With a likely strong majority in both houses of the legislature his spending proposals and tax increases will likely sail through to his desk and become the new normal in New Jersey.  Although if you take a critical look back over the past two terms with Republican Chris Christie, he really did foam the runway for higher taxes, new spending and more borrowing. See: Gas Tax, Question #2 and State House Renovation.

But Murphy is different.  While Christie campaigned as a fiscally responsible tax cutter, Murphy is at least being honest about his plan to raise your taxes.  What’s worse is that he’ll have the power to do it, nearly unchecked with a rubber stamp legislature counting on his massive wealth and insider connections to help them stay in power for the foreseeable future.

His latest spending place is free community college for everyone. I spent the better part of the morning discussing that there are several big problems and challenges with his plan.

The first is the cost.  The expected winner of the November contest, Phil Murphy (although political predictions  sometimes get it slightly wrong…See Hillary 2016) has said that it should only cost the taxpayers $400 million. Hmm, we’ve heard a similar number before. Remember the $38 million dollar state house renovation that over night turned into $300 million? Then the borrowing costs drove the potential cost to between $500 and $700 million? The Governor has referred to such amounts as nothing more than “rounding errors,” as if to say we have plenty of money and this is only a drop in the bucket. Seems Murphy has taken the same tactic as the Governor to downplay the real problem of out-of-control, unchecked spending. Yes, $400 million is small when compared to the overall $35 billion in our state budget.  But what about the tens of millions in debt?  What about the $100 million plus in unfunded future liabilities? What about the fact that we’re planning to borrow billions more for light rail projects? What about the fact that the gas tax is already in place to secure future borrowing, and now the Democrats are talking about raising fees on toll roads and fees?

The second issue is the focus on college as a ‘one size fits all’ solution.  Why are we not discussing the very real opportunity of kids graduating college and getting into a trade? Electricians, plumbers, truckers, HVAC, hair stylists, food and entertainment and even jobs in the medical field are all critical elements of New Jersey’s economy. You can become a Licensed Practical Nurse without a college degree. All of these professions are respected and can afford a person a good living while keeping them out of the hole of higher education debt. The practical training in a specific field may be the best way for people to make it on their own and start their careers without a burden of debt on themselves, if Murphy gets his wish, on the rest of us.

Read More: Free college for all! (Except if you’re a NJ taxpayer) |