New Jersey ignores economy, focuses on abortion, marijuana
A fair question to ask is just how insane NewJersey's Democrat governor, Phil Murphy, is. The state suffers from obscenely high property and income taxes that are squeezing the middle class and stunting economic growth. New Jersey drivers got hit with a 9-cent-per-gallon increase in the gasoline tax as of October 1, which followed on the heels of a series of toll hikes across the state. Its pension fund for state employees had a $72-billion deficit, and that was before much of the state's commerce was shut down due to the Wuhan virus. Now it will be much worse. And speaking of the Wuhan virus, New Jersey has the highest per capita death rate from this disease of all fifty states, even exceeds neighboring New York's.
New Jersey's finances are in a shamble. To balance the coming budget, Gov. Phil Murphy is borrowing $4.5 billion. The New Jersey Constitution prohibits this, but the state's Supreme Court, populated with liberals, gave it the okay. So Trenton goes deeper into the debt hole.
Given all that, what are Gov. Murphy's top priorities? One is abortion. He's afraid that with Amy Coney Barrett replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade might be overturned. Gov. Murphy is quoted as saying: "I hope to God that doesn't happen, but we don't want to take a chance that it could happen." Accordingly, the governor and the Democrat legislature are introducing legislation to codify abortion in state law. Interesting that the governor dares to call on God to sanction the killing of unborn babies.
In addition to guaranteeing the right to abortion, Gov. Murphy also intends to eliminate some of the current restriction on abortion; require most health insurers to cover abortions; and allow a wide range of health care providers, including physician assistants, certified midwives, and advanced practice nurses, to do abortions. Under Democratic leadership, New Jersey is set to become a free-wheeling abortion-friendly state.
The other top policy priority for Gov. Murphy is the legalization of recreational marijuana. This is something he's been after since first being elected three years ago. The matter is on the November ballot as an addition to the state's constitution in Public Question 1. Odds are it will pass.
According to Steven Malanga, writing in the City Journal, one of Murphy's primary justifications for legalizing recreational marijuana is social justice.
Advocates ague that only full legalization will achieve their social-justice ends and make amends for the harm they say has been done to minority communities by years of arresting and prosecuting pot users. With legalization, they argue, the state will see an end to black market for pot and the violence that goes along with it, as well as the emergence of a new industry that can help spur economic growth in minority communities.
The proponents of legislating pot also claim this will fatten the state's revenue flow and help New Jersey with its debt load.
All these arguments are wrong. As Steven Malanga writes, the states that have legalized recreational marijuana have seen an increase in the black market for pot. Colorado's black market exploded after legalization. Then there's California. Legal sellers of pot in the Golden State are demanding a new war on drugs aimed specifically at the growing marijuana black market.
As for legalizing marijuana spurring economic growth in minority communities, that's a fantasy. The main winners will be big companies that can afford investments in large-scale, sophisticated, efficient operations that allows them to buy and market pot at prices competitive with the black market. There will be little to no room for small entrepreneurs and mom-and-pop marijuana businesses in minority communities or elsewhere.
And most ironic is that Gov. Murphy and key Democrats are pushing legalizing marijuana at the height of the Wuhan flu epidemic, which is a respiratory disease. So in addition to to rising crime and a likely increase in the black market, Murphy will be complicit in further degrading the overall health of the state, to say nothing of the population's moral fiber.
What we have in New Jersey is a poisoned mix of unbridled individualism and Black Live Matter–type politics. When it comes time to legalize pedophilia — and you'd better believe that's on the progressives' to-do list — the Garden State may not be the groundbreaker, but it won't be far behind.