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The last thing N.J. needs is another entitlement


Editorial: The last thing N.J. needs is another entitlement

April 2, 2017 at 3:00 AM

State Senate President Steve Sweeney, the sponsor of New Jersey’s 2009 paid family leave law, wants to expand the program. Giving workers paid leave from their jobs to care for a sick relative or a new baby — and paying for it with a small, capped payroll deduction — proved to be a sound idea.

Abuse has not been widespread, employers’ worst fears have not been realized and some studies have contended that companies benefit from the program.

But there is no compelling reason to expand this new entitlement, as Sweeney (D-West Deptford) is unfortunately proposing now.

Oh, wait. There is one compelling reason: To boost Sweeney’s and fellow Democrats’ chances in November, when the entire Legislature is up for election. The Democrats shouldn’t need that much help this year. But Jersey pols, Democrat and Republican, never forget what keeps them in office — giving gifts to prized constituencies.

Sweeney, in particular, is in a bit of a jam, with the powerful New Jersey Education Association, miffed by his pushback on teacher pensions, vowing to fight him. Hence, a renewed commitment by lawmakers to dangle popular proposals in front of voters — like, say, expanding the paid family leave program.