Letter to the Editor: Deal or no deal

Recently, Rep. Kim Williams and I introduced a bill (HB47) that would repeal the training and youth wages. These exemptions were created last year as part of a scheme that would hold hostage the passage of the Capital Bond bill.

That scheme was initiated because the Republicans claimed to be upset that the General Assembly was going to pass a minimum wage increase on the last day of the session even though the original minimum wage bill (SB 170) had been introduced on March 28. The Republican minority decided to hold the Capital Bond bill and Grant in Aid bill hostage since a three-quarter vote was required for passage.

Despite speculation expressed, there was “NO” bargain/compromise struck. (Rep. Mike) Ramone, with the support of his Republican colleagues, crafted an extortion plan that forced this horrible bill to a vote. I could not and would not vote for such an unnecessarily cruel blow to lower income workers and families and advised my colleagues that we should be willing to return after June 30 into September and beyond (if necessary) to pass the Bond Bill without despoiling the minimum wage bill.

Some view the concession vote for Ramone’s bill as leadership’s failure to prepare for this last minute obstructionism or simply a lack of backbone by leadership, charges I would be hard pressed to dispute. I am sick and tired of the gnashing of teeth and the plaintive wailing of the corporate community ideologues and their political water carriers that some non-existent agreement has been breached.

No such compromise was ever made. So spare me the soul-searching repentance served up by the Republicans.

Rep. John Kowalko
D-Newark

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