For those desiring bills along the lines of much of our model legislation, that period of time on the state legislative calendar dedicated to budgets, budgets and more budgets can become a waiting game. While good bills on hemp, drones and other issues sit largely ignored in committee, the legislature and governor go back and forth over taxes and spending, each convinced of moral and intellectual supremacy over the other. Still, a state’s fiscal policy does much to determine its ability to resist the constant encroachment upon our individual rights and reserved state and local powers. While the New Jersey Tenth Amendment Center chapter does not have the manpower necessary to go through a line by line, item by item breakdown of what belongs or does not belong in our state budget, it would be a mistake to be silent on the issue.
The most important thing our state government can do regarding fiscal policy is to present a budget that is fully paid for without a dime of federal aid. This may mean a complete revamping of state and local government as we know it in New Jersey, but it also means not being dependent on federal dollars and all of the strings attached. More financial autonomy helps to protect our political autonomy, leaving us in a better position to enforce the Tenth Amendment. While we’re on the subject of federal aid to the states, if our legislature and governor want to talk about that, maybe they can apply a little bit of pressure on DC to stop giving our tax dollars away to other states.
New Jersey needs to repudiate all unconstitutional debt. There may be some whom such a move will upset, mostly those who purchased bonds not backed by the full faith and credit of the State of New Jersey, but according to the limits of our own state constitution, Trenton never should have taken on this debt. Our state can never hope to enforce the limits of the US Constitution against DC if the legislature and governor cannot be faithful to our their state constitution.
Our state and local governments must strip away, to the greatest extent possible, any and all funding from any activities that assist the federal government in violating our rights. This should be a no-brainer, as enforcement of even constitutionally delegated federal powers should be mostly up to the federal government. Our state, county and municipal police and other agencies are not administrative subdivisions of the federal government, but servants of the people of this state. Their responsibilities are to us, not any outside entity, and last I checked, the District of Columbia is outside of New Jersey.
In the short term, we cannot reasonably expect the governor and legislature to put aside partisan bickering in our budget hearings, or for any compromises to result in any major changes in how our state government operates. That is where you come in. You have a voice in this too. In addition to any specific changes you believe need to be a part of our state budget, our legislators need to know there needs to be shift in our mindset regarding the purpose of government, both inside and outside our state.