Category: Press Release

O’Scanlon: Responsible Budget Slices Borrowing and One-Shot Revenues

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon, R- Monmouth, released the following statement today after the budget committee heard overviews and revenue projections from David J. Rosen, Legislative Budget and Finance Officer and State Treasurer Andrew P. Sidamon-Eristoff:

Declan O'Scanlon

“This is not a kick-the-can-down-the-road budget. This budget, in conjunction with the discussions we know are going on between the governor’s pension commission and the unions to save the pensions, and the discussions between the Governor, the Assembly Speaker and the Senate President about the Transportation Trust fund combine to make this one of the most productive policy periods in New Jersey in decades.

“The Democrats both complain about revenue and complain that we aren’t spending enough. You can’t have it both ways.

“It has taken us six years to get here, but the governor’s hard work has paid off. For the first time in more than 20 years, OLS’ agrees with the governor’s own revenue projections, expecting actually $38 million more. The state’s reliance on borrowing and the use of one-shot revenues to balance the budget have never been lower.

“The use of one-shot revenues has been reduced to only 2.8 percent. Compare this to the 13.2 percent of one-shot revenues used to balance the budget in the last year of the previous administration and you can’t miss the dramatic improvement.

“At the same time, the rate of borrowing for operating expenses during the last six years has averaged below 3 percent. Compare this to the previous eight years when the average increase in debt was an unsustainable 12.5 percent.

“This budget shows what we can do when we concentrate on our priorities and restrain state spending.”

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Chris J. Brown Calls for Bipartisan Support of Sustainable Pension Reforms

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Christopher J. Brown issued the following statement calling for bipartisan support of the governor’s “roadmap” for pension reform after listening to testimony from State Treasurer Andrew P. Sidamon-Eristoff to the Assembly Budget Committee:

Chris J. Brown

“New Jersey taxpayers want us to work together and find a solution to a $60 billion problem. We will make the largest pension payment in state history in FY 2016, but more must be done to fix the problem. The governor’s roadmap is a starting point. We need the Democrats to put partisanship aside and work with us on reforms that are fair to both the public employees who have earned their pensions and the taxpayers who will foot the bill.”

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Angelini Introduces Bill To Protect Drug-Endangered Children

Press Release – Deputy Republican Conference Leader Mary Pat Angelini, R-Monmouth, is sponsoring legislation that would make a parent or caregiver who unlawfully uses, manufactures, or distributes a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) while in the presence of a child guilty of endangering the welfare of that child.

Mary Pat Angelini

“Sadly, there are 9.2 million children in the U.S. that live in homes where a parent or other adult uses illicit drugs,” said Angelini. “These children are the most innocent of victims and should not be subjected to living in dangerous drug environments that often lead to traumatic situations. The presence and abuse of drugs have a profound, negative impact on children, who deserve to be in safe and nurturing environments.”

The bill makes the manufacture and distribution of a CDS when a child is present a third-degree crime, which carries a fine of up to $15,000, a three to five year prison term, or both. Possession or use of a CDS in the presence of a child would be a fourth-degree crime, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, a prison term of up to six months, or both.

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O’Scanlon: Personal Allowance Increase Should Be Considered as Part of the Budget Discussion

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, released the following statement today after abstaining on bill A-3084 to increase the personal needs allowance for low-income individuals in residential facilities:

Declan O'Scanlon

“There is strong support in our caucus for increasing this allowance. These are the most vulnerable members of our society, and we are talking about increasing their monthly allotment from $35 to $50. That sounds like an idea we all should consider, since the allowance has not been increased in 30 years.

“However, it is reckless and irresponsible for the Legislature to commit spending more than $5 million per year without discussing it as part of the overall budget. That’s why the vast majority of the Republican caucus abstained. In good faith, we have already discussed with the administration the possibility of increasing this allowance in the 2016 budget. Randomly increasing spending by legislation, as this bill attempts to do, is one of the practices that got us into the fiscal straits we are facing today.”

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Dancer Legislation to Save Simulcasting in Atlantic City Earns Approval of the General Assembly

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Ron Dancer

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican Ron Dancer to protect the simulcasting of horse races in Atlantic City casinos was approved by the General Assembly today. The bill, A-3972, allows casinos to negotiate with out-of-state racetracks for signal fees.

The Borgata is the last remaining horseracing simulcast facility in Atlantic City. Current law limits the fee a casino can pay for the transmission signal. Without the enactment of this bill, permitting a higher fee, The Borgata will lose the signal for races from Churchill Downs in Kentucky, some of the most prestigious races in the country.

“We only have one casino left where you can bet on and watch the horses,” said Dancer, R – Ocean, Burlington, Middlesex and Monmouth. “This is a matter of survival. For simultcasting to continue in Atlantic City, they need to be able to show the top stakes races and the best horses. This bill is about keeping pace with the market.”

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General Assembly Approves Rible & Auth Bill Establishing ‘Opt-Out’ Process for Standardized Testing

Dave Rible

Press Release – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Republicans Dave Rible and Robert Auth that establishes a process for opting out of standardized testing in the schools was approved today by the General Assembly. The bill, A-4165, allows the parent or guardian of a student to provide written notification to the school district that the student will not participate in PARCC testing.

“This bill removes confusion about parents’ rights to withdraw from testing, and addresses inconsistencies in the options between schools and between districts,” said Rible, R – Monmouth and Ocean. “Parents have serious concerns about the impact the test will have on their children. If they don’t want their children subject to the tests, parents will have a clear understanding of what they can do, and how to do it.”

Robert Auth

Robert Auth

“Parents have the right to decide what is best for their children,” said Auth, R – Bergen and Passaic. “If they don’t support computerized testing, this bill gives them an option they can exercise. Public reaction has been clear. Schools are spending too much time on testing, and not enough time on teaching.”

A-4165 does not exempt a student from any high school graduation requirement established under current law.

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Russo-Rumana Bill Designating Portion of Rt. 17 “Christopher Goodell Memorial Highway” Receives Unanimous Assembly Approval

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation (A-3582) sponsored by Assemblymen Dave Russo and Scott Rumana (both R-Bergen, Passaic, Essex and Morris) that designates a section of Rt. 17 in Waldwick the “Christopher Goodell Memorial Highway” in memory of the fallen hero won approval from the General Assembly today.

Waldwick Police Officer Goodell, a former U.S. Marine, was killed in the line of duty last July, when a tractor trailer struck the 32-year-old while he was conducting a radar operation on Route 17.

Dave Russo

“Words cannot describe the remorse everyone feels over the tragic loss of Officer Goodell,” Russo said. “He was the epitome of selfless public service. Commemorating his name is one way no one will ever forget the honor with which he served.”

Scott Rumana

“Officer Goodell’s life was marked by protecting and assisting the public,” commented Rumana. “Whether putting himself in harm’s way in the military or serving as a police officer, his life was dedicated to caring for others. His commitment to keeping us safe will never be forgotten as we fittingly pay tribute to a fallen hero.”

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“Sen. Robert E. Littell Memorial Hwy.” Legislation Wins Assembly Approval

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Space/Carroll/Rumana/Bucco Bill Honors Long-time Legislator

Legislation renaming a 10-mile section of Rt. 15 in Sussex County in memory of the late state Senator Robert E. Littell received unanimous approval from the General Assembly today. Assembly Republicans Parker Space, Michael Patrick Carroll, Scott Rumana and Anthony M. Bucco are sponsors of the bill (A-4042).

Parker Space

“Senator Littell was dedicated not only to the constituents he represented, but all of New Jersey,” said Space, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “His commitment to public service is an example to everyone that you can make a difference. Senator Littell loved his family and this great state. We can never truly thank him for his many contributions to New Jersey, but seeing his name on Rt. 15 will always remind us of someone who cared deeply about helping people.”

Sen. Littell passed away last November, and his daughter, Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose, has represented the same district as her father for the last 12 years.

Michael Patrick Carroll

“The Littell family is well-known for its commitment to serving in government,” said Carroll, R-Morris and Somerset. “Senator Littell was a tireless and devoted statesman. His constituency not only included Sussex County residents, but everyone in New Jersey. Serving the public for over four decades is testimony to the respect, trust and confidence the senator earned from his constituents.”

Scott Rumana

“Senator Littell was the epitome of a dedicated public servant, not only for his constituents in Sussex County, but all of New Jersey,” said Rumana, R-Passaic, Morris, Bergen and Essex. “His commitment to public service was exemplary. It is fitting that we honor him by naming a section of Rt. 15 in his memory so everyone remembers his devotion to New Jersey. ”

Anthony M. Bucco

“Senator Littell and my father served together for many years in the state Senate and on the budget committee” said Bucco, R-Morris and Somerset. “He will always be remembered as a devoted husband and father. Words cannot adequately express our appreciation for his service and contributions that make New Jersey a better place to live. Rt.15 is an important highway in Sussex County and there is no better way to have a lasting memory of Sen. Littell than to name a portion of that road in his honor.”

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Assembly Advances Webber-Dancer Bill Expanding Use of Local Open Space Funding

Jay Webber

Press Release – Legislation Assembly Republicans Jay Webber and Ron Dancer sponsor that expands the use of county and municipal open space trust funds was approved today by the General Assembly.

“Local officials are only permitted to use open space funding for very specific purposes. As a result, there are towns and counties with surplus monies that are prohibited from demolishing an old or dangerous structure so they can use that land for recreation,” said Webber, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. “Their hands are currently tied. This measure will free up vital funding to help them restore or preserve their precious assets.”

Ron Dancer

“Demolishing an old building to make way for a park or other recreational facility is a big part of preserving open space in local communities. So is restoring land to a natural state,” said Dancer, R-Ocean, Burlington, Middlesex and Monmouth. “Current law on how surplus monies earmarked for open space can be spent is too restrictive. This bill does not give towns carte blanche to spend the funds on anything they want, but instead expands its usage for worthwhile open space projects.”

The bill, A-3318 allows county and municipal open space trust funds to be used for the demolition of structures, the removal of debris and the restoration of land to a natural state or for recreational and conservation purposes.

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Bucco: Dems’ Sunsetting Tax Cuts Harms Taxpayers and Businesses

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Deputy Assembly Republican Leader Anthony M. Bucco, a member of the Assembly Budget Committee, said today’s passage of A-939, which limits tax cuts to 10 years, and creates more state bureaucracy by increasing reporting and disclosure requirements, is likely to encourage businesses and residents to leave New Jersey.

Anthony M. Bucco

“The business community is looking for predictability and stability in deciding where to operate, while Democrats search for ways to make it harder to live and work in New Jersey,” said Bucco, R-Morris and Somerset. “The 10-year sunset provision for tax incentives will predictably have this effect. Businesses will leave or not locate here at all, including small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy. It puts New Jersey at a competitive disadvantage with other states.

“We should be looking to sunset all of the 115 tax and fee increases enacted by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle instead of looking to reduce or eliminate the tax incentives that help our economy,” said Bucco. “We must challenge ourselves to improve the state’s low business ranking instead of incentivizing companies to leave. There is a limit to the premium businesses are willing to pay and this legislation pushes them closer to the breaking point.

“Instead of exploring ways to continue creating efficiencies and lowering costs that attract businesses, this bill mires the executive branch in more paperwork with less time to report its findings,” continued Bucco. “Its unintended consequence is that proposals to restore the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) will expire only 10 years after enactment, as well as any future changes made to the Senior Freeze and Homestead Relief programs and Veterans’ Property Tax deductions. If enacted, there is a possibility these programs will not return.”

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