Author: NJ Assembly Republicans

Handlin addresses school funding at APP summit

 

Amy Handlin

Source: APP.com – Overfunded school districts with declining enrollment. Growing school districts with inadequate funding. Gov. Chris Christie’s proposal for equal school funding for every child, whether rich or poor.

Those were some of the topics addressed Saturday at an education summit hosted by the Asbury Park Press and the Asbury Park/Neptune National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The forum also offered a mini-education fair for attendees that included college funding advice from the State Department of Higher Education, and the opportunity to chat with representatives from Georgian Court and Rutgers universities, Brookdale Community College, fraternity Omega Psi Phi, Old Bridge Flight School and more about their offerings…

Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, a Monmouth County Republican representing the 13th district, said she believes the key to education and property tax relief is pension reform.

“We must achieve pension and benefit reform,’’ Handlin said. “There is no place else to get the money that would be needed without drastically increasing taxes. …Pension and benefit reform is inextricably linked to how we fund our schools.’’

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Brown lauds suspension of north jersey casino media campaign

Source: Press of Atlantic City – A nonprofit campaign favoring the expansion of casino gaming to North Jersey has thrown up the white flag.

Our Turn NJ announced Thursday it was suspending its paid media campaign, citing poor polling data among the factors.

Chris A. Brown

“The current political climate in New Jersey and voters’ concerns about the lack of details relating to the effort have proved overwhelming,” Paul Fireman and Jeff Gural, supporters of expanding casino gaming beyond Atlantic City, said in a statement.

Voters will decide whether to approve as many as two casinos in North Jersey during the Nov. 8 election. The ballot question states the new casinos must be in separate counties and at least 72 miles from Atlantic City, where four casinos closed in 2014 and another, Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, is set to close Oct. 10. Deutsche Bank said last year that North Jersey casinos could generate $500 million in gambling revenue…

A recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll found only 40 percent of voters supported expanding casino gaming in the state.

“I am glad after two years of fighting we’ve proven it was pure folly for anyone to claim North Jersey casinos were inevitable and that building them in an oversaturated market while cannibalizing Atlantic City would somehow help the state of New Jersey let alone the families of Atlantic County, and shows the question should have never gotten on the ballot in the first place,” said Assemblyman Chris Brown, R-Atlantic.

While Our Turn NJ has suspended its campaign, Meadowlands Regional Chamber officials said they will continue to fight for casinos in the northern part of the state.

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Rumana, McGuckin, DeCroce weigh in on roadwork shutdown

 

Scott Rumana

NJ101.5 – Roadwork that’s been shuttered since early July at the governor’s direction is going to cost extra once it’s eventually restarted. An Assembly panel has endorsed the idea of making sure the state pays for that, not municipalities and counties.

The costs associated with stopping and restarting construction projects haven’t been calculated and aren’t even clear. But contractors say there’s a cost, and local governments fear being sued for stopping projects for months. Local officials have a sympathetic ear in the Assembly transportation committee…

New Jersey can’t pay for roadwork because all of the money that goes into the Transportation Trust Fund, including the 14.5 cents a gallon in gas taxes, is now being used to pay off $16 billion in debt. Gov. Chris Christie and a majority of lawmakers have agreed to a 23-cent a gallon gas-tax hike, but they can’t agree on accompanying tax cuts being pursued as part of a political bargain.

Gregory P. McGuckin

As a result, most state-funded roadwork has been stopped since early July. The costs for moving and securing heavy equipment and idled job sites will vary. Even now, in the 13th week since the impasse began, there aren’t any specific projections of the financial impact.
“The fact is that we have no cost estimate, and that’s one of the reasons why I can’t support this bill, because we have no idea where this goes. We have no money in the TTF right now,” said Assemblyman Scott Rumana, R-Passaic…

Assemblyman Gregory McGuckin, R-Ocean, said he understands why local governments would want the state to pay but noted that, in the end, it’s the same group of taxpayers.

He voted against the bill, saying he doubts contractors are going to sue because they understand the shutdown occurred because state funding wasn’t available.
“Is there really a possibility that this is going to be a legal detriment to the municipalities and counties? Is that really a legal likelihood? Because I quite frankly don’t think so,” McGuckin said.

All the Democrats on the Assembly transportation committee voted for the bill. One Republican did, too: Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, R-Morris,who called for cooler heads to prevail and for an overall solution to the TTF impasse to be found.

BettyLou DeCroce

BettyLou DeCroce

“It’s very hard on the taxpayers,” DeCroce said. “We’re in a very bad position right now and of great concern to any of us that care about the economic viability of this state.”

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Dancer bill extends senior freeze property tax benefits to the disabled

Ron Dancer

Press Release – In an effort to help residents with disabilities currently not eligible for the state’s senior freeze property tax reimbursement program because they receive disability retirement benefits from the federal government, Assemblyman Ron Dancer has introduced legislation
(A-4130) to extend the program to disabled former federal employees.

“Just because these residents receive retirement benefits from a system other than Social Security, that should not preclude them from receiving property tax relief,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “People with disabilities face challenges most of us cannot comprehend. New Jersey’s highest in the nation property taxes shouldn’t be yet another challenge they face. Closing this loophole will give them the same tax relief that’s available to other disabled individuals.”

The homestead property tax program, known as the senior freeze program, is available only to disabled persons who receive Social Security disability payments. Since disabled former federal employees, hired before January 1, 1984, did not pay into Social Security but rather into a federal retirement system, they are not eligible for the state’s senior freeze program. Dancer’s bill extends senior freeze benefits to these employees.

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Dancer legislation awakens Civil Service Commission from hibernation

Assembly Republican Press Release – Assemblyman Ron Dancer introduced legislation Thursday that will breathe life back into the Civil Service Commission. With only one of five seats filled, the commission has been unable to meet or take any action because it requires a quorum. The commission’s meeting has been cancelled 17 times this year after the Senate failed to confirm nominations.

Ron Dancer

“The inability of the commission to perform its primary duties is preventing municipalities from making crucial staffing and disciplinary decisions, and costing taxpayer dollars,” said Dancer (R—Ocean). “As the deadlock drags on, state and local government entities are handcuffed and unable to move forward. In many cases, the result is a budget-jeopardizing increase in overtime costs that are stretched out indefinitely.”

The only remaining member of the commission is chairman and CEO Robert Czech. In December 2015, Gov. Christie filed two nominations for appointment, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate. The upper house failed to act, and the nominations lapsed with the end of the legislative session in January 2016. The lack of a quorum has primarily impacted the disciplinary hearings and contested issues which are regularly heard by the board.

Under Dancer’s bill (A4201), when the commission lacks a quorum for more than 30 days, the chief executive officer can temporarily fill vacant seats with high-ranking employees.

“It is time to move forward,” said Dancer. “The commission has to render decisions, and people have to get on with their lives. The Civil Service Commission is much too important to allow it to be shut down for more than a year for any reason, including the possibility of political maneuvering. My bill will get the commission back in business.”

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Orange stripes on a toy gun does nothing, says Rible

Assembly Republican Press Release –Assemblyman Dave Rible responded to an Assembly panel advancing legislation that requires all toy guns sold in New Jersey to have an orange stripe:

“While it may be well intentioned, this measure makes it more difficult for cops to do their job and does nothing to make anyone any safer,” said Rible (R-Monmouth).

The Assembly Law and Public Safety committee today voted to advance legislation (A-1119) banning toy guns unless marked with an orange stripe that runs the entire length of the barrel.

Dave Rible“Police officers have to make split-second decisions and asking them to find an orange stripe on a gun in what may be a life or death situation defies logic,” continued Rible. “Studies have consistently shown that police are unable to differentiate a toy gun from a real weapon, so this requirement accomplishes nothing. In fact, criminals could easily use this law to disguise a real gun.”

A federally funded study was conducted on whether officers can distinguish a toy gun from a real gun. The orange tips of the toy guns completely failed to stop a shooting, as 96 percent of officers in the study fired upon seeing them.

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Bramnick applauds Irvington mayor for reducing crime

Assembly Republican Press Release – Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick applauded Mayor Tony Vauss and Irvington city leaders for their new crime initiative to enhance public safety after meeting with them Wednesday.

“Yesterday, I began meeting with urban mayors,” said Bramnick (R-Union). “Irvington has taken a well-coordinated approach to improving safety within their community with new initiatives by local police and specialized crime units. I want to commend them for their success drastically lowering the murder rate and reducing overall crime. Many components of what they are doing can become a model for similar communities.”

Irvington has seen a large drop in crime the past couple years. Since Mayor Tony Vauss became mayor in 2014, murders dropped from 19 to only one this year and there have been 292 less robberies.

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Webber: Citizens Lose Again to Naked Corporate Crony ‘Game’ Rigging

Assembly Republican Press Release – Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris) today decried yet another giveaway by the state of New Jersey at the expense of the state’s ordinary taxpayers.

Reports today have news of a state-subsidized switcheroo involving multi-billion dollar British luxury automaker Jaguar-Land Rover and multi-billion dollar consumer electronics manufacturer Sharp Electronics. Jaguar, which makes almost $29 billion in sales each year, convinced Sharp, which makes $2.4 billion in sales, to move one town over and less than five miles, from Mahwah to Montvale. In the deal, the state Economic Development Authority gave Sharp $6.9 million and Jaguar $28 million to move within miles of their former locations.

In response, Assemblyman Webber issued the following statement:

“If you want to know why regular residents are disgusted with Trenton and believe they are being financially forced to leave our great Garden State, look no farther than this corrupt bargain of corporate cronyism backed up by bureaucrats.

“This state-sponsored switcheroo is the worst of corporate cronyism, coming at the expense of New Jersey’s everyday citizens and Main Street small businesses that are the lifeblood of our economy. There is no ‘economic development’ here. What you have is a corporate giveaway engineered by government officials, economic development’ bureaucrats, and Learjet corporate executives who together rig the game to get a few favored Fortune 500 corporations their government-sponsored incentives – in a behind-closed-doors choreography of deal-making, winks, nods, and helpful cues to corporatists like: ‘make sure you say publicly that you’ll leave New Jersey unless you get this money.’

“That backscratching triangle handpicks the state’s economic winners and losers, making sure the winners are the ones with the best connections, and the losers are the ordinary taxpayers who never see any relief out of Trenton.

“Since 2010 alone, more than $5 billion in such economy-distorting incentives have been doled out to a few privileged, connected corporations. And yet, we are told that New Jersey can’t afford to give even a pittance of tax relief to our overtaxed regular residents, or that taxes on working New Jerseyans must get hiked again and again for more Trenton spending. If politicians had put even half of that $5 billion aside for property tax relief over the next five years, our state would be on the road to affordability once again.”

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Ciattarelli to shave head for cancer research

Assembly Republican Press Release - Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli announced today that for the third straight year he will shave his head to benefit childhood cancer research.

Ciattarelli will join 28 other “shavees” on the Rays of Hope team at the Sergeantsville Volunteer Fire Company on Sunday, Sept. 25 at noon.   The team has raised $162,829 since 2013 for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which raises money for childhood cancers research.

“The goal is to raise awareness and more money for children’s cancer research,” said Ciattarelli (R-Somerset).   “This is the least I can do to further that goal and honor the memory of Rayanna Marerro.”

The event is held in honor of Rayanna Marrero, a Sergeantsville resident known as Ray, who succumbed to cancer in 2012 at the age of eight.  Sergeantsville is part of Delaware Township, one of 14 municipalities in the 16th Legislative District that Mr. Ciattarelli represents.

 

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Bramnick to meet with Irvington and Paterson mayors

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick announced Tuesday that he is planning to meet with the mayors of Irvington and Paterson to discuss solutions on the persistent problems within their communities.

“An urban tour is important to understand the issues facing our cities,” said Bramnick (R-Union). “I look forward to meeting with mayors Tony Vauss and Joey Torres and working together to find solutions.”

Bramnick, who is originally from Plainfield and served 6 years on the Plainfield City Council, has experience and interest in working with New Jersey’s cities.

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