Santa’s coming! Here’s a NJ Political Christmas Wishlist!

Bayonne Santa

They call it the most wonderful time of the year and if you don’t mind cold weather, being broke, and a house full of in-laws, I guess that’s true. But for many of us, it takes a little work getting into the Christmas spirit.

Baking helps. Getting baked does too (although that’s not quite legal yet in New Jersey.) So I guess the next best thing is to make a list and check it twice.

In that spirit, here’s my Christmas wish list for some of NJ most powerful politicos.

I hope Santa’s paying attention.

🎁For NJ Governor Phil Murphy, my Christmas wish is a two-step hydraulic cold press juicer to better squeeze the juice from the orange in the second term.

Murphy’s predecessor Chris Christie once promised “to squeeze all the juice out of the orange that I can” describing his desire to maximize the perks of power. Christie took that maxim to the extreme and, after weaponizing the busiest bridge in the world to punish a rival, left office with historically low approval ratings.

God forbid Murphy take it that far. But wouldn’t it me nice to see Murphy invoke some of the swagger that (at first, anyway) made Christie so effective and appealing?

Take the bear hunt, for example, which persisted for three years into Murphy’s term despite his administration’s avowed apposition.

Do you think Chris Christie would tolerate something that displeased him for three whole years? No. He’d make some calls and (if necessary) knock some heads together until he got the outcome he wanted.

A touch of that kind of chutzpah, just a soupçon, would look really good on Phil Murphy right about now.

🎁My Christmas wish for Jack Ciattarelli is an invitation to Big Gay Brunch sometime in 2022. Mr Ciatterelli, Murphy’s vanquished opponent, has vowed another tilt in 2025. If he does run again, hopefully he’ll have the good sense to appeal to LGBTQ voters instead of repelling them.

It’s the holiday season so let’s not  re-litigate the details but suffice it to say that, on the campaign trail, Jack Ciattarelli employed the age-old GOP campaign tactic of portraying LGBTQs as a threat to society.

LGBTQs tend to fall on the liberal side of the political continuum. Still, plenty of LGBTQ people have conservative impulses (especially rich ones) on a whole range of issues like national defense and tax policy. But these conservative-ish Gays won’t vote GOP because of the party’s enduing contempt (in words and deeds) for the LGBTQ community.

Jack Ciattarelli could have dispelled that notion. He could have easily attracted LGBTQ support and money without alienating his MAGA buddies.

He’s promised to run again in 2025. Hopefully by then he’ll realize that winning’s a lot easier when you’re not throwing LGBTQ people under the bus for votes.

🎁 When Santa Claus visits the South Jersey (Norcross) Democrats this Christmas, I hope he leaves behind several copies of a booklet called Microeconomics Made Simple: Basic Microeconomic Principles Explained in 100 Pages or Less, available on Amazon for $13!

For as long as I’ve been paying attention, the Norcross clique has relied on one single strategy for economic development: massive tax breaks for corporations to set up shop (or to remain) in NJ. There’s a long list of corporations receiving ten-figure tax breaks including Lockheed Martin, Subaru, American Water Works, and Holtec International (where Camden boss George Norcross is a board member) which scored itself a tax break worth $260,000.000.

Currently, there’s a debate happening in Trenton to curtail the tax burden of NJ’s gambling industry. That effort is led by NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney who sponsored a bill to shield sports- and internet gambling profits from taxes.

The rationale is that these tax breaks create jobs in places like Camden and Atlantic City where opportunities remain scarce. But in the end, not that many people got jobs out of these deals.

The debate over lavish tax subsidies for powerful companies goes on. But this much is for sure: someone has to make up the difference. The rest of us pay high taxes in NJ, pretty much across the board. Heck, I even paid taxes the entire time I drew unemployment last year!

Tax breaks for the little guy (ie: you and me) would benefit the local economy because we’d have more money to spend at the shore or at the mall or on take out.

Tax breaks for NJ American Water (et al) doesn’t stay local, it goes into the pockets of shareholders instead.

Quite a few Democrats who’ve long championed corporate welfare lost their jobs on Election Day, most notably Senator Sweeney. That means plenty of time to read up on a better approach to economic development than the one we’ve got.

🎁While we’re down in Atlantic City, my Christmas wish is that all of Atlantic City’s casino workers will soon breathe a whole lot easier.

In 2006 lawmakers passed an indoor smoking ban in NJ with carveouts permitting indoor smoking in casinos, an exception that persists to this day nearly 16 years later. At the time, those carveouts felt like a comprise to get tough legislation over the line. But it was shameful to sacrifice the health of casino workers (and patrons) for an entire generation.

One lawmakers blamed the holdup on the “casino lobby and pols who think it will harm business” to ban casino smoking.

That seems incredibly short-sighted since most people don’t smoke! If NJ’s casino lobby truly cared about harming business, they might consider all the people not patronizing NJ casinos because we don’t wanna go home smelling like an ashtray.

If you’re tired of me whining about indoor smoking, imagine how tired casino workers are of breathing second-hand cigarette smoke!

🎁My Christmas wish for NJ’s 70,000+ medical marijuana users is for health insurance plans to cover the out-of-pocket costs of medical marijuana in NJ.

It’ll happen sooner or later.

That’s what I’m working on in 2022, in case you’re wondering.

Jay Lassiter is an iconoclast, tech savvy media artiste, street warrior for LGBTQ liberty and marijuana reform, and an un-intimidated presence if the halls of Trenton power as he aggressively pursues liberal causes.

 

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