Monday, July 03, 2006

New Jersey state government shutdown

The state of New Jersey isn’t working anymore – well that’s not true, the state government isn’t (except to protect people from crime and keep mental patients locked up). You see the governor and the legislature can’t agree on a budget, and that has meant that no money is now legally available to pay state government employees, state parks are closed as are historical monuments, and even road building projects are halted. It’s not even a partisan difference, both the governor and the legislature are democrats. Fortunately police, prisons and state mental hospitals can still operate, but that’s about it.
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Even privately owned casinos are being ordered shut down by Wednesday because they require by law state monitoring. Why they couldn’t remain open and gamblers warned that there are no state monitors and they gamble at their own risk (!) is beyond me.
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It’s a perfect example of how much COULD operate properly if it wasn’t run by the state. Road building, for example, should be about the road owner and its contractors, and the money would come directly from road users. Parks and monuments could be privately run, charging entry fees or with sponsorship and donations.
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The main point in dispute is that the Governor wants to raise the state sales tax by 1% point, the legislature doesn’t agree. No guesses as to what side I’d be on!
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This sort of thing happens in the US regularly, and is amusing. "Non essential" government services get shut down first, which makes you wonder why they are performed by government at all?

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