(Trenton, NJ) – They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
It looks like New Jersey politicians are learning-impaired as well.
Just one week ago, FLATLINEgov profiled the state’s legislative efforts to designate August 14, 2014, as the “Half St. Valentine’s Day” holiday. In spite of high property taxes and a budget shortfall in the billions of dollars, the state’s elected officials instead chose to deal with establishing a holiday that borders on the insane.
And several years ago, another legislative initiative – declaring “Wash Your Hands Month” in September – similarly met with with disbelief and outrage.
Given the high amount of negative publicity, one might think the state’s politicians might have learned a lesson.
Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-NJ) has introduced a resolution that would designate salt water taffy as the state’s official candy.
“Assemblyman Wisniewski has proposed this initiative on behalf of students at the Samsel Upper Elementary School in Sayreville,” said a Wisniewski spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The kids were trying to come up with a reason for people to go down the shore [a term used by native New Jerseyans designating a trip to the beach], and who wouldn’t go down the shore for salt water taffy? I mean, what other reason is there to go down the shore?”
It’s a shame that Wisniewski doesn’t consider New Jersey’s beaches, boardwalks, games, restaurants, and seafood to be reason enough to go down the shore.
It’s even more of a shame that Wisniewski didn’t consider the possible reactions by other candy manufacturers in the state. For example, Mars, Inc., whose chocolate division – the entity responsible for manufacturing M&Ms, Snickers, and Milky Ways – is based in Hackettstown. The factory employs thousands.
“We take exception to the exclusion of our products in this debate,” said a Mars spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We might even have to take our factories and jobs elsewhere – meaning out of New Jersey.
“We demand nothing less than a ballot measure in November to decide this issue once and for all. That way, all New Jersey residents can have a say in the decision regarding their state candy choice. And since the state’s legislature isn’t pursuing any meaningful legislation, we might be the only measure on the ballot!”
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is checking to see if modifying New Jersey’s state ballot breaks any laws or procedures. The November election is less than five months away, and there may not be enough time to add the provision to the ballot.
Even if the FEC determines the initiative is permissible, state legislators have already balked at Mars’ demands, claiming the ballot measure would cost the state millions of dollars just to give all citizens a say.
“It’s just too expensive to go through all this trouble just because we want to name a state candy,” said an assemblyman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “First we’d have to actually debate and vote on the ballot initiative. Then we’d have to reprint all the sample ballots for November. And then we would have to rig – um, I mean set up – the voting machines to handle the new initiative.
“You’re talking about spending millions of dollars that would be more useful if it were used to replenish the state’s coffers or line the pockets of legislators. But my main concern is asking legislators to enact legislation – in other words, we’d have to work. Legislators doing work? You must be pulling my leg!”