State Senate President Steve Sweeney has proposed a moratorium on the most productive and inexpensive state-run program out there. It is a state-run benefits program for cities, towns and school boards. It does not layer costs but charges one low price for everyone. Thereby spreading the cost more evenly over a bigger pool of clients. The program was revamped in 2008 and has become so popular that the program has seen a 20% increase in participant entities since 2008. That is the proof of an effective program. So why then would Steve Sweeney want to dump an efficiently run and effective tool for School boards and towns to save money. Especially when the pool they are drawing from can be high risk.
Well I am sure that as the New York Time’s David Halbfinger reported it, it was not from the mouth of Camden County Democrat Boss George Norcross. Halbfinger reports that Sweeney stated he spoken to Norcross about the issue but that the idea to freeze the program was not Norcross’. Sweeney conceived the idea all on his own. Now would be a good time for some background on these two men. They grew up together. Sweeney became prominent in the iron workers union. Not hard to do when your Dad was once the President of the Union. Norcross a businessman who sits on the board of Cooper Hospital and just so happens to run a little company named Connor Strong. What does Connor Strong do? Here is a quote from Norcross’ bio at Cooper.
Conner Strong ranks among the largest insurance, risk management and employee benefits brokerage and consulting firms in the country, serving clients throughout the United States and abroad. Norcross has been the head of Conner Strong and predecessor companies since 1979.
The comment about a little company is hyperbole. Connor Strong is in multiple states and is a for profit consultant for benefits. Connor Strong would be in direct competition with the state-run program. The people who read this page regularly have already come to a conclusion about why Sweeney did what he did. But for my not so regular readers I will spell it out.
- Sweeney and Norcross are Friends.
- Sweeney got elected because of Norcross.
- Sweeney and Norcross talk often
- Norcross told Sweeney that the State plan was hurting his business. (Then he hung up) Potential Scenario!
- Sweeney had an epiphany. He could help his friend if no other entities could get into the state program
- Sweeney then lies about the cost of the program saying it lost 216 million from State funds.
- Norcross denies giving Sweeney the idea and says the NJ plan is not material to his business.
- Sweeney is caught in the lie, Here is the quote from the NYT “Mr. Sweeney conceded through a spokesman that “no state or local group subsidies are used to cover losses.”
- Sweeney still wants to kill the best and most productive state program in New Jersey history.
Whether or not Norcross told Sweeney to kill the program. The very idea ,which Sweeney says only he came up with , is not only ludicrous it is detrimental to the taxpayers of New Jersey. Sweeney is proposing legislation that will, in the end, raise our marginal tax rate by increasing costs for benefits at the local level. How can any steward of the public welfare even begin to think this was a good idea. It is time to end Steve Sweeney’s reign of power which is being conducted only to strengthen the power of the Boss of Camden County Democrats, George Norcross.
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