Better get used to it, Governor Murphy!
At this week's Assembly Health Committee hearing two Republican Assemblywomen took on Governor Murphy's plans to pour taxpayers' money back into crony capitalist groups like Planned Parenthood. Yeah, yeah, we know that for the uneducated few, Planned Parenthood is synonymous with "women's health." But it's not. It is only one of many providers all jostling for market share.
No, you say? It's a non-profit organization? Sure, and so was the NFL. And so are a lot of organizations that make billions and pay their executives millions. Setting up as a "not-for-profit corporation" is simply a business model -- it's not an "I'm not greedy" pass.
And Planned Parenthood is greedy. It wants total market share. That's why it organized the way does -- to spend millions on lobbyists and even more on grassroots marketing -- to convince American women that only they provide the services that, in fact, hundreds of other organizations provide. We're sure Macy's would like to have the same deal.
Planned Parenthood uses well-paid lobbyists and political pressure to secure government money with as little questions asked as possible. They want to keep all the vittles for themselves and starve their competition. Planned Parenthood wants to have a monopoly -- and we all know what that does to consumers and taxpayers. Consumers pay more and have less choice. Taxpayers get ripped-off.
Well not when Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi and Nancy Munoz are around!
Holly Schepisi is like a Bergen Bulldog when ripping into a bureaucrat. The Assemblywoman asked for Planned Parenthood's financial details -- its annual budget, annual revenue and executive compensation, none of which the group's political director could provide during the hearing.
We can only suppose that Murphy told the director to drop by and pick-up a blank check. But Schepisi wasn't having it.
"If it was that important, how could the head not be able to explain any of these items?" Schepisi asked the Health Committee's Democrat Chairman. "If it wasn’t just a political football, if it was that important to women’s health, how do we not have these answers?"
Schepisi told the group: "We have a lot of phenomenal organizations in this state that approach us for funding. The amount of money that you guys want is more than every school that I represent gets for school funding every year."
Assemblywoman Munoz advocated using the funding for organizations that aren’t supported by billions of dollars like Planned Parenthood, such as federally qualified health centers and other clinics.
“Why don’t we give this money to the New Jersey Coalition for Sexual Assault?” she asked.
Munoz noted that there are 279 walk-in clinics, 37 retail clinics, 187 urgent care clinics and 9 pediatric urgent care centers throughout the state that perform women’s health services without public funding. Why should they be left high and dry with all the funding going to Planned Parenthood?
The efforts by the Republican Assemblywoman to keep the process honest was matched by the efforts of some labor union leaders to question why a former Lehman Brothers executive was going to get a no-questions-asked Murphy appointment to head the state's Economic Development Authority.
Led by the redoubtable Bill Mullen, of the New Jersey State Building & Construction Trades Council, many blue-collar unions questioned the priorities of Murphy-pick Tim Sullivan, late of Lehman Brothers and currently the deputy commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Economic & Community Development.
Like the Wall Streeter he is, Sullivan has steered a decidedly anti-blue collar course in Connecticut, giving priority to more fashionable projects in what he called the "six key business sectors" he wants to focus on: "insurance and financial services; digital media; green technology; advanced manufacturing; bioscience; and tourism. "
A state like New Jersey, with a new Governor who is committed to bringing in tens of thousands of sanctuary seekers -- many of whom lack language and job skills, should be looking to invest in projects that more broadly employ blue-collar workers and those who, through blue-collar apprenticeship, can learn the skills they need to get onto the employment ladder.