Under Corzine, New Jersey has lurched leftward, enacting many "progressive" policies while needed reforms go unaddressed and corruption goes unenforced. The governor is agenda driven.
His latest scheme, the so-called "asset monetization" plan, is nothing more than a plan to finance more left-wing policies. By radically increasing tolls, Corzine not only closes a deficit (See if it ever does close.), he funds all sorts of projects like embryonic stem cell research (Which, incidentally, was defeated by the voters.).
Why does Corzine propose so many things, only to withdraw them in the face of opposition? Does he have that bad of a tin ear? The answer may be found in a quote attributed to the Georgian statesman Ioseb Besarionis Jugashvili, better known as Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin: "Probe with steel. If you find mush, keep probing. If you find steel, back off."
In other words, see just how far you can go. The Governor is seeing just how far he can go. Take for example the arrests of former Atlantic County Freeholder Seth Grossman and former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan. I think it's pretty much agreed by now that it originated in the Governor's office. Public reaction was the key. If there was public support for the arrests, i. e., if people saw Lonegan and Grossman as troublemakers, hooligans, you can bet that there would be more arrests. Since public reaction was negative, the Administration backed off.
Same holds true for the toll plan. Corzine throws out some extreme ideas like selling the highways to a private corporation or charging tolls on heretofore free highways, like Route 440. This serves two purposes. One is that if there's no opposition, he gets a new toll road in the state, with all the patronage that comes with, not to mention the possibility of future expansion to other routes like 287. If there is opposition, he takes it off the table, which he did. He still gains, because he has now shifted the debate from abolition of tolls altogether to limiting tolls to existing highways.
In closing, let's take one more look at his plans for the toll roads. The Governor plans to set up a non-profit corporation to administer the roads. This part of his proposal is cloaked in secrecy. Make no mistake, if you think the existing Turnpike Authority and its predecessors are loaded with waste, cronyism, rascallism and patronage, just you wait until Corzine's double-top-secret superauthority gets up and running. It will not be subject to the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), so it will operate in deep shadows. We all know what happens here in New Jersey when that happens.
What is to be done? Stay tuned, dear reader. Stay tuned.