Response by Rick Thigpen
Few in politics can doubt the astonishing power of money. This poll shows that Corzine has done what few thought he could do, turn around public opinion and gain approval for a sales tax increase. There is still much work to do as a majority of the public remains convinced that the state is still on the wrong track.
Taking even this step in unwinding New Jersey 's serious financial problems has shown itself to be complex and fraught with peril for all involved, except Senate President Codey. The electorate's take on the opening act of this financial drama is mixed. Clearly, the budget impasse that led to the government shutdown helped to sell the necessity of the tax increase to the public. There will likely be a future political price paid for pursuing this unconventional strategy. Corzine may have picked up a powerful new ally which may have important consequences down the road-- public pension households well over a million strong. Only time will untangle the conflicting political strings wrapped in this 2006 budget bundle.
Corzine accomplished a lot, but he still has a lot to accomplish. He has promised to enter the Temple of Political Doom , addressing the property tax monster. It is here that his greatest adventure lies and with it the political destiny of the incumbents in Trenton . As the daunting complexities and risks of tax reform reveal themselves to the Governor, I suspect he will begin to yearn for the relative simplicity of the Interest Rate Swap Markets.
Comment by Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind Academic Associate, Rick Thigpen (J.D., Columbia University Law School). Rick is a former Executive Director of the New Jersey Democratic Party and now a partner in The Strategy Group and is a campaign coordinator for the Essex County Democratic Party. Rick Thigpen, Esq. can be reached at (609) 394-0888.