On April 12 Gov. Jon S. Corzine was critically injured in an automobile accident. While it would be shameful to exploit his accident to make a point, his full recovery now seems inevitable. Therefore, I feel it proper to point out the disappointment I have with his administration.
The most recent, and most obvious, criticism of Corzine is that he wasn’t wearing his seat belt when the accident occurred. Even from a country of people exposed to hypocrisy from our elected officials on a routine basis, this seems entirely obnoxious. How can a person talk about a mandatory seat belt law but not wear a seat belt? I’m not sure how I personally feel about seat belt laws, but I am certainly against politicians trying to pass one based on self-righteous claims about safety and then not wear one themselves.
Adding to the hypocrisy of this incident were circumstances surrounding the accident. Corzine was traveling 91 mph with his siren on. What sort of emergency warranted the governor’s state trooper escort to put on his siren? A meeting with Don Imus and the Rutgers women’s basketball team.
None of us, including myself, are above occasional hypocrisy. Unfortunately this incident is indicative of the Corzine administration as a whole. His accident is a metaphor for the reckless way he has governed the state so far – going 91 mph on the turnpike with his siren on.
As a senator, Corzine was a maverick. He spearheaded the effort to make the genocide in Darfur the first genocide recognized by our government. He was the most prominent advocate for Amtrak and the public transportation system as a whole.
Since becoming governor, Corzine has managed to piss off everyone, while yielding little in positive results. His much-publicized political fight with state Republicans resulted in a 1 percent increase in the sales tax with half of the proceeds going to alleviate the property tax burden. In a state with one of the highest sales taxes, it is reckless fiscal policy to increase it further, raising the prices on the people buying necessities and driving out businesses.
Additionally, as surely everyone here at the College knows, Corzine is cutting our state education budget. Specifically, he has targeted state colleges. Money in education is an investment, both in achieving a more productive work force and keeping that work force in-state. With a history as an investor, Corzine should understand basic principles about how a high sales tax drives away both businesses and consumers and how education is an investment in the future.
Perhaps our governor could offer an explanation for driving out businesses by increasing a progressive tax to pay for a regressive tax, and further weakening our state’s future by cutting funding for higher education. While I am all ears on this explanation, I anticipate it being similar to someone trying to explain the advantages of not wearing a seat belt when going 91 mph on the turnpike.
Along with all of The Signal readers, I wish Corzine a continued full and speedy recovery.