Fix budget before paying for cable


During his time in office, former Gov. Jon Corzine created a law that aimed to help the disabled and the elderly pay for their climbing cable bills. The fund established by the law collected $9.2 million, but none of that went where it was supposed to go. Instead, Gov. Chris Christie used all of it to close gaps in the state's budget. While many of Christie's critics are crying foul over what they see as a gross misappropriation of funds, Christie really made the right decision in this situation. Sometimes, there are more important things than television.

Cable is a luxury — not a necessity by any stretch of the imagination. But fixing the state's budget problems is clearly a necessity. There are plenty of better ways to use this money, and Christie must have recognized that. It could, for example, be put into New Jersey's public school system. Or it could be used to fund important services, such as police and fire departments. Or it could be used to improve New Jersey's infrastructure. The list truly goes on and on.

Assemblyman Joseph Malone, R-Burlington, stated that "having cable TV is like having a lifeline for many people." It is true that cable television can provide people with access to news about the outside world, but there are plenty of other ways for people to keep in touch with what is going on around them. For example, some Internet packages or newspaper subscriptions can be less expensive than some cable packages. So, then, there are other lifelines for these people to grab onto besides cable television.

Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, also disapproved of Christie's actions, stating, "The administration can find money for projects they like, like vouchers and charter schools. Why not for seniors or disabled people to minimize the cost of watching TV?" What Vitale does not seem to realize is that the administration is doing what it has to, given these dire economic times. That is, Christie is choosing to fund the most important projects, the ones that really need money so that the state can continue to grow and recover. Quite frankly, cable television is not necessary to the state's continued wellbeing.

This is neither an example of Christie's supposed disregard for the poor nor is it an example of Christie placing his interests above the interests of the citizens. Rather, this is Christie making a tough decision that needed to be made for the good of the entire state. It would be great if the government could afford to let this money go to its intended purpose. But that just is not something that can happen at this moment.


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