Concede defeat of toll hike plan

It’s working…

The wheels are coming off Gov. Corzine’s monetization bus. 

His toll-hike plan has been booed in every corner of the state.

Polls show overwhelming public opposition to it.

Hundreds of people turned out at the Statehouse Friday to protest it.

A day earlier, every Republican in the Legislature pledged not to support it. And with three Democratic senators joining their GOP counterparts in opposition to the plan, just one more declaration of nonsupport would deny Corzine the 21 votes he needs to move ahead with it in the Senate.

It’s time for Corzine to concede. It’s time for him to say he will defer, for once, to the will of the people and scrap the plan. If he doesn’t, the Democratic senators from Mercer and Middlesex counties — the site of Corzine town hall meetings this weekend — should kill the plan for him by announcing they will not support it.

It would take only Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Mercer, stepping to the microphone at Corzine’s Hightstown meeting today to say she opposes it to put the final nail in the coffin. Or the same pronouncement by Barbara Buono, Joseph Vitale or Bob Smith at the East Brunswick meeting Sunday.

If Corzine or his advisers had any skill at reading tea leaves, they would have understood long ago that the plan is doomed. Over the past 10 days, 2,000 people turned out in Toms River to roundly reject it, followed by a crowd of 1,000 in Marlboro Monday night and a turnout of 770 in Cape May County Thursday night. They all sent Corzine the same message: the plan is unfair, unwise and unnecessary. The chants “Cut spending, cut spending, cut spending” must be ringing in his ears.

Corzine, who has staked his governorship on the plan, needs to accept that it will not happen. He needs to do what we and others have long recommended — stop wasting time, money and energy on monetization. Focus instead of ways to bring out-of-control spending — at every level of government — under control. Concede defeat now, before more precious time is wasted.

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