Category: Press Release

McGuckin: Nothing funny about Wisniewski’s Comments on Bridgegate

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Greg McGuckin responded to Co-Chairman John Wisniewski’s advice to Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick for changing the name of the so-called Bridgegate investigation to the “Wiz-gate” hearings.

Gregory P. McGuckin

“There is nothing funny about a one-sided investigation where decisions are unilaterally made,” said McGuckin, R-Ocean. “Republicans are taking the investigation seriously but Wisniewski continues to chair ‘Wiz-gate’ from the MSNBC studios. It’s a disservice to the people of New Jersey that the Legislature has not moved forward with the proposed reforms. ”

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Carroll: No need to wait on reforming Port Authority and Bi-State Agencies – Bills are ready for debate

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Michael Patrick Carroll, who serves on the New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigations (SCI), said that if the committee is sincerely interested in finding solutions to problems existing at the Port Authority and other agencies, all it has to do is consider the 14 reform bills introduced by both Republicans and Democrats. Six of the 14 reforms are sponsored by Democrats, one is a bipartisan bill and the remainder are sponsored by Republicans. Two of the Republican proposals have been introduced in the New York Senate.

Michael Patrick Carroll

“Both Republicans and Democrats have proposals that would advance the goals the public wants and the media advocates to reform the Port Authority. So far, they have been ignored by the committee,” said Carroll, R-Morris and Somerset. “While the co-chairman prefers the prolonged process of subpoenas and court decisions play out, the committee can be discussing legislation that addresses the problems that have been extensively reported on by the media.

“Most of us can multi-task and proceed with the investigation while making headway on solutions,” continued Carroll. “At this pace, it wouldn’t surprise me if we end up going into another legislative session before reforms can be considered. We have wasted too much time and taxpayer money when we should be debating reforms introduced nearly two months ago.”

 

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Bramnick: The Future of NJ Politics should not be Politicians Investigating Politicians

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, Somerset and Morris, said today that voices around the country agree with Republican concerns that the bipartisan committee led by Assemblyman Wisniewski is partisan.

Following are observers who agree that Chairman Wisniewski’s committee is not bipartisan:

Chuck Todd (NBC News) – “Democrats made a mistake with the overly partisan makeup of the committee. It should be 50-50 so it has political credibility.” (MSNBC Morning Joe – Jan. 13, 2014)

Stuart Rothenberg – “The Christie investigation – from inquiry to lynching.” (Roll Call – Jan. 15, 2014)

David Gergen – “As the public concludes this is just about politics, this is not about the truth, it’s a way to smear Christie and it could backlash.” (CNN – Anderson Cooper –
Jan. 16, 2014)

Scott Conroy – “New Jersey Democratic leaders have been eager to offer worst case scenarios for how investigations into this episode might play out for Chris Christie.” (Real Clear Politics)

“There has been no evidence that Chris Christie had any involvement in the closing of lanes at the bridge, said Bramnick. “Everyone would like to know all of the facts as to why the lanes were closed. None of us want the future of New Jersey politics to be ‘politicians investigating politicians.’ If partisan investigations dominate the New Jersey Legislature, the cycle of distrust will never end.”

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Bucco Happy to Hear Discussion on Eliminating Estate and Realty Transfer Taxes

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Hopes Legislature will take action on A-397 and A-389

Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Anthony M. Bucco said he is pleased to hear of the support for repealing the estate and realty transfer taxes which lead New Jersey residents to leave the state for a more tax-friendly climate. Bucco sponsors two bills in the Assembly (A-397 and A-389) that address both issues which he has sponsored in the previous legislative session as well.

Anthony M. Bucco

“Inheritance taxes and real estate transfers fees are two onerous taxes that contribute to the tax-migration out of New Jersey,” said Bucco, R-Morris and Somerset. “The bills I have sponsored over the last two legislative sessions speak to both of these issues and could be heard in committee at any time. Creating jobs and economic development are very important as is allowing people to hold on to more of their hard earned money. Instead of people fleeing our state, especially as they get older, they will have a reason to stay in New Jersey and contribute to our economy.”

Bucco sponsors A-397, which repeals the New Jersey estate tax and would apply to the estate of any resident decedent dying on or after January 1, 2010. Currently, New Jersey imposes an estate tax based on a credit historically allowed by federal law against the federal estate tax for the payment of inheritance taxes or other legacy taxes imposed by the states. New Jersey and Maryland are the only two states that levy an estate tax and a state inheritance tax.

Under the state’s current tax structure, it can be just as expensive when you die as when you are alive,” stated Bucco, who is a member of the Assembly Budget Committee. “Residents are looking to eliminate or reduce their tax liability for themselves and their survivors. Many states offer attractive tax structures to entice people to relocate. New Jersey has the opportunity to do away with taxes that takes people’s money when they move or die and is a factor they consider when deciding if they want to continue living here.”

Assembly bill, A-389, eliminates three enacted realty transfer fees: the supplemental fee created in 2003, the general purpose fee, and the “mansion” fee created 2004.

The supplemental fee applies to sellers and consists of a graduated fee, applicable to non-exempt property sales. The general purpose fee applies to a seller and consists of a graduated fee, applicable to non-exempt real property exceeding $350,000. The “mansion” fee consists of 1 percent of the purchase price and applies to buyers of residential property exceeding $1,000,000.

The three fees substantially increase the cost of buying and selling real property for New Jerseyans. As an example, the total transfer fee costs of selling a $750,000 home is now $6,775. This amount is almost double the $3,525 cost from fiscal year 2003.

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CASAGRANDE ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR YOUNG WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE

Press Release – Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande is now accepting applications for the Fourth Young Women’s Leadership Institute – a program to mentor and guide young women to be leaders.

“This program is a great way to prepare young women in New Jersey to be tomorrow’s leaders,” said Casagrande, R-Monmouth. “Everyone in public life has an obligation to help the next generation take control of their own future in an effort to make themselves and our society a better place.”

Caroline Casagrande

The nonpartisan program will run through next spring and is open to 10 high school junior girls in Monmouth County’s 11th Legislative District. They will be mentored by a female leader and develop a community service project.

“We are fortunate in Monmouth County to have so many women in public office and positions of influence,” said the Assemblywoman. “I am proud to call them my friends and grateful that they have been willing to share their time and experience with the Institute in a very open way.”

Mia O’Brien, a junior at Ithaca College, is a past participant of the program.

“The Young Women’s Leadership Institute was unlike any program I have ever been involved with,” O’Brien said. “The opportunities – including meeting and becoming friendly with some of the biggest names in New Jersey politics today – and skills taught are invaluable. Although I have taken on many leadership roles before, the Young Women’s Leadership Institute has prepared me for even more challenging opportunities in my future.”

“Participating in the program gave me tools I will use in college and future endeavors,” stated Cassandra Rampino, a participant in the Institute’s current class. “Speaking with successful women who are not only devoted to their professions, but also to their families has given me the inspiration to balance both one day in my life as well.”

“Each year we have been impressed with the young women who have come through our program,” said Casagrande. “I look forward to working with a new group of participants as we begin their journey to become the future leaders of tomorrow!”

Applications must be submitted by May 2, 2014, and include an essay on, “What Would I Like to Accomplish as a Future Leader?” in fewer than 1,000 words; two letters of recommendation, and a list of extra-curricular activities. Applications should be sent to Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, 35 West Main Street, Freehold, N.J. 07728, or emailed to AswCasagrande@njleg.org. For more information, call 732-866-1695.

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Bramnick: Best way to observe April 15 is to lower taxes

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Today is the final day for filing federal and state income taxes. Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick said the deadline is a reminder that reducing the tax burden should be the highest priority for legislators.

Jon Bramnick

“It is no secret that New Jersey’s income tax structure is among the highest in the country,” said Bramnick, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “The Legislature must act quickly to reduce this burden. New Jersey workers already pay more than their fair share. The best way to create jobs and keep people in New Jersey is to lower taxes and let taxpayers keep more of their own hard-earned money.”

Bills sponsored by Assembly Republicans that would reduce the tax burden shouldered by New Jerseyans include the following:

• New Jersey Direct Property Tax Relief Plan (A-157 – Fiocchi/Handlin/CJ Brown/Rumana)

• Phase out New Jersey’s Estate Tax over a five year period (A-329 – Bramnick/McHose/Schepisi)

• Decrease the sales and use tax rate from 7% to 6% (A-137 – McHose/Space)

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Fiocchi Says Vineland Shootings Reinforce need to Combine Efforts to Fight Violent Crime

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Four people were injured, one fatally, after multiple shootings in Vineland, Cumberland County, between Sunday and Monday that authorities say are connected.

Just before 1:00 a.m. Monday, as Vineland police investigated a home invasion, they were called to another section of the town where officers found two shooting victims. A man in his 20s was pronounced dead at the scene. A second victim was treated at Inspira Hospital and released. Later, at 2:25 a.m., Vineland police responded to a second shooting on East Park Ave. Officers found two male victims inside a home with gunshot wounds.

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

“These horrible incidents show that the roundtable discussion we held with law enforcement about violence in February was not just talk or a one-time discussion,” said Fiocchi, R-Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic. “The police say these shootings and fatality are not a coincidence. Violent crime is a problem in cities, suburbs and rural areas.

“It is up to lawmakers, law enforcement officials and the community to work together and help each other,” commented Fiocchi. “Whether that involves providing information or reporting suspicious activity, people’s welfare and lives are at stake. The worst mistake is for people to think it can’t happen in their neighborhood. We must continue the dialogue with law enforcement officials on how to address this problem and I urge anyone with information to contact their local police department.”

Fiocchi co-sponsors ACR-22, which would permit voters to decide if New Jersey judges should be allowed to deny bail for dangerous defendants. The legislation, which mirrors current federal law, is sponsored by Assembly Republicans Donna Simon, Dave Rible, BettyLou DeCroce and Anthony M. Bucco.

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Casagrande ‘Sleeps Out’ in Trenton to Raise Awareness, Funds for Covenant House

Press Release – Monmouth County Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande will participate in a legislative ”sleep out” tonight on the grounds outside the State House in Trenton to raise awareness and funds in support of New Jersey’s homeless runaway and trafficked youth who are served by Covenant House.

Caroline Casagrande

“Covenant House is always there, when no one else is, to help homeless, at risk adolescents,” says Casagrande. “I was moved to get involved by the stories of those whose lives have been changed by this remarkable organization. It is my hope that my participation in this ‘Legislative Sleep Out’ will bring attention to the work of Covenant House and encourage others to get involved.”

Joining Casagrande will be fellow 11th District lawmaker Sen. Jennifer Beck, Assembly members Donna Simon and Jay Webber and Sen. Joseph Vitale.

“These government leaders will unite to sleep out in solidarity with homeless kids,” said Kevin Ryan, President of Covenant House International. “Together they will become a unified voice for hundreds of homeless and trafficked kids with no voice of their own; kids who are neglected, forgotten and cast aside.”

Covenant House New Jersey is the state’s largest provider of services to homeless and at risk adolescents under 22. In addition to food, shelter, clothing and crisis care, Covenant House provides healthcare, educational and vocational services, counseling, drug abuse treatment and prevention programs and transitional living programs.

If you would like to support the event, please call Casagrande’s office at 732 866-1695 or visit www.legislativesleepout.org for more information.

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Ciattarelli Requests OLS Study Estate Tax, Transfer Inheritance Tax and Pension Exclusion Laws

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

As the discussion continues on how to make New Jersey a more affordable place to live, work and retire, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli said he is requesting the Office of Legislative Services (OLS) to conduct a study that analyzes the State’s estate tax, transfer inheritance tax, and pension exclusion when filing an income tax return. Ciattarelli believes a comprehensive review of these tax laws will lead to reforms that will make New Jersey economically vibrant and more retirement friendly.

Jack Ciattarelli

“A cost-benefit study of the impact of our tax laws is a critical first step in making our state more competitive and a place where people want to live and retire,” said Ciattarelli, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex. “There is no question that some of our tax laws drive people out of our state. If we are serious about addressing this ‘tax migration,’ a coalition of scholars, economists, tax and estate planning professionals, legislators and residents is needed to analyze the issue in an informed, non-partisan and objective way.

Ciattarelli said the need to examine these taxes is urgently needed given the demographic reality that more baby boomers are reaching retirement age. When deciding where to live after retirement, taxes play a key role. If New Jersey does not address a retiree’s tax liability on his or her estate, transfer inheritance and pension, there is a better likelihood of their leaving the state for a more tax-friendly climate.

Ciattarelli noted that New Jersey is one of only 15 states that imposes an estate tax and, along with Maryland, is one of only two states that have both a transfer inheritance tax and an estate tax.

“For retirees, taxes play an important part in deciding where they choose to live,” explained Ciattarelli. “We cannot control the appeal of the weather some states enjoy. We can, however, stop incentivizing retirees to seek legal residency in another state. One way to do this is by repealing the estate tax, the transfer inheritance tax and increasing the state’s pension exclusion, for example, from $20,000 to $50,000.”

A person who declares residency in another state for six months plus one day (a majority of the year) falls under that state’s tax laws.

“If we don’t reform these areas of taxation, financial planners will continue to advise residents to live elsewhere for ‘six plus one,’” stated Ciattarelli. “What is the point of having retirement tax policies that everyone is legally avoiding? Making New Jersey more tax friendly will result in people staying in our state for a longer period which is good for our economy.

“Considering that New Jersey retirees continue to pay the most punitive tax of all – the property tax – we owe it to ourselves to have a public discussion on how to achieve fairness and make New Jersey more retirement friendly,” explained Ciattarelli. “I look forward to the OLS analysis and will follow up with three or four public forums, in connection with New Jersey universities, to discuss this important and very timely topic.”

Ciattarelli also announced that he intends to request similar comprehensive study packages from OLS on the State’s capital gains tax laws and public sector personnel policies that directly impact property taxes.

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Handlin Responds to Court Ruling on SCI Subpoenas

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Amy Handlin

Assembly Republican Amy Handlin, R-Monmouth, who is a member of the Special Committee on Investigation, issued the following statement in response to a court ruling today regarding the subpoenas issued by the SCI:

“The Judge’s opinion sends a clear message that the committee has overstepped its bounds.

“The time has come for us to focus on reform.

“Federal and state prosecutors are fully capable of investigating and are clearly doing so.

“Our legislative responsibility is to find solutions to the many problems we have already uncovered.

“It would be a disservice to the people of New Jersey if the Legislature does not immediately move forward on the reform bills that have been introduced on a bipartisan basis.”

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