Photo credit: Lynn Gordon, Bayshore Tea Party. This photo has nothing to do with this story. I just like it because three of my favorite Republicans, Governor Chris Christie, Mayor Anna Little and Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger are in it.
Over at our friends, InTheLobby, Carl Golden makes the case that there is no upside to shutting down the government.
Golden's point is that there is no political upside for Trenton Democrats to shut down the government. They can get the political talking points they want by passing a budget that includes tax increases and spending increases and let Governor Chris Christie use the line item veto to get rid of those items. The government would keep operating and each side would have fodder for their press releases and campaign literature for the 2011 legislative elections. As if voters will really remember this budget fight when they go to the polls in November of 2011.
But what about for the taxpayers? It seems to me that there is a tremendous upside to shutting down the government. How was your life impacted by the shut down in July of 2006? Couldn't renew your car registration or drivers license? Couldn't lose money in Atlantic City? Please...tell me in the comments.
Governor Chris Christie has already signed an executive order making the Casino Control Commission an "essential government function," thereby assuring that Atlantic City will continue to operate in the event of a shut down. He should do the same for the Motor Vehicle Commission so that people who need to renew their licenses and registration can still drive to Atlantic City legally. He could order that only the Atlantic City area offices of MVC are essential. That could create a little boom for the casinos as drivers would head to AC to stay legal with MVC and drop a new bucks at the tables or on a show.
I felt the shutdown of July 2006 because I am in the vehicle business. My company could not renew registrations or convey titles for our customers. The only other way I knew the state government had been shut down is when a tourist from Ohio stopped me at a gas station off Route 195 and asked if I knew of open any camp grounds since the state parks were shut down.
Did you feel the 2006 shutdown? Really, tell me in the comments. The government workers felt it by getting an extra week of vacation. They couldn't work, but the Democratic legislature and Governor Corzine paid them anyway once the budget was passed with a 17% sales tax increase and $300 million in Christmas tree items.
I don't see Governor Christie pulling a Corzine and paying the government workers for time off due to a shut down. This time a shut down could result in real, sustainable savings. We'd get the immediate savings of not paying to operate all non-essential government services and we could find out from experience which of those non-essential services we wouldn't miss if they were gone.
Why does the government have non-essential services anyway?