On November 2, Hoboken citizens will have the opportunity to adopt their own strong pay-to-play reform - a reform that protects Hoboken city government from the influence of large political contributions given in an effort to influence the selection of local government contracts.
This important reform law promotes a government contract selection process based on merit and cost-effectiveness, not political contributions and connections, by limiting contributions from professionals who have no-bid contracts with the City of Hoboken.
Through the power of initiative and referendum, citizens garnered over 1000 signatures to put in the strong protection Hoboken taxpayers need.
Pay-to-play reforms, like the ordinance on the ballot, can go a long way towards cutting cost of contracts and easing the burden of local property taxes. For in a public contract system driven by political contributions, merit and cost-effectiveness fall by the wayside. The result is that taxpayers pay more for lower quality services. This happens in three ways.
First, when instead of open and fair competition for public contracts, a select few contributors are rewarded, the price goes up and the quality goes down.
Second, government contracts become even more expensive because government contractors charge even more to recoup the cost of the campaign contributions they have made.
Finally, the pay-to-play practice provides incentives for politicians to issue more government contracts and engage in wasteful spending because it is a way to increase campaign funding.
Citizens and elected officials from across the state have recognized the importance of strong pay-to-play reform. Already 20 municipalities have adopted this reform, including some of our state's largest townships like Woodbridge, Hamilton and Toms River.
Luckily for Hoboken citizens a comprehensive pay-to-play ordinance is on the ballot this November. Citizens have used their right of initiative and referendum to place this needed protection before Hoboken voters; now it is up to the citizenry to collectively mandate that now is the time to ensure integrity and cost-effectiveness in government contracting by voting 'Yes' this Tuesday.
Harry Pozycki, Chairman
Center for Civic Responsibility & Common Cause NJ