Trenton isn’t doing so well and it hasn’t for a long time. Economic activist like me have tried in vain to recommend sound fiscal policy that would “right the ship”, but no one’s listening. Why not?
Well, to understand why, voters have to look within themselves.
How would you feel about a politician who only talked about tax policy and zero based budgeting? Boring right? Well, what about a politician who stood in front of a podium and talked about how the city funded a park clean-up, or a books for kids program, or Meals on Wheels.
Why you’d think that person was pretty nice. And so it goes. Trenton political policy over the years has been all about handing out turkey’s at Christmas, funding block parties, giving city land to non-profits and doling out other people’s money to this charity or that (depending on who’s in favor). The Pork Roll festival doesn’t happen once a year, it’s an everyday event in Trenton.
Trenton and most other poor cities are awash in this kind of money. It comes from grants including Community Development Block Grants and private money. Sometimes it comes straight from our tax dollars and the money the state gives us. But none of it has anything to do with fixing our economy. And, fixing Trenton’s economy is the only thing that matters. Spending every single dollar including the dollars we allocate to managing CDBG funds should go to reducing our crime rate and stimulating new investment.
Every second our elected and non-elected politicos spend on spreading the pork around, is time wasted.
So look inside yourself. Do you want our political class making you feel warm and fuzzy or do want crime to go down, our tax base to go up and then hopefully, our tax rate to go down?
We need to all get a little cranky about how Trenton, the State and the Federal government spend our money. As Trentonians we need to tell the State and Federal government what we really need, not what will make a local charity and its supporters feel good.
We need to focus like a laser beam on boring ole economic policy. We need to run basic services better than any other city in the nation. We need to have the most aggressive approach to crime prevention ever imagined.
If you hear a politician talk about anything else, they’re blowing smoke up your butt.