Category: Press Release

O’Scanlon Statement on Pension Review Commission’s Report

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Declan O'Scanlon

Assembly Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, issued the following statement regarding the New Jersey Pension and Health Study Commission’s supplemental report issued today:

“The commission’s recommendations hit the nail on the head. Unless we implement the necessary reforms, we cannot make the projected massive payments into the system. We will be digging our huge budget hole even deeper.

“The Democrats’ constitutional amendment mandating pension payments won’t change that reality. Virtually every ratings agency – the same ones whose pronouncements are cited by the amendment’s proponents when it’s convenient – agrees emphatically. No realistic amount of economic growth that will magically enable us to make the required payments. That would leave only two alternatives – massive, economy-killing tax increases or massive, service-crippling cuts to state government.

“Asking public workers to shift from ‘platinum plus’- level health benefits – benefits much more generous and expensive than virtually all of the private sector workers who are paying the bills – down to ‘gold’ isn’t asking too much, and can save billions. Other adjustments can be negotiated and derive value for our taxpayers and provide fairness to our workers – without destroying their retirement plans. This problem is solvable if we all work together – and act quickly. The hole gets deeper, and the remedy more painful, every day.

“Every day we wait to fix this problem essentially sets $10 million in taxpayer dollars on fire. The commission’s recommendations should be implemented to guarantee the system’s long-term sustainability.”

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McGuckin & Wolfe Combat Rise in Fentanyl Deaths, Upping Penalties for Manufacturing, Dealing the Opioid

Press Release -

Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-Ocean) has introduced legislation to increase criminal penalties for unlawfully manufacturing, distributing or dispensing fentanyl – a prescription opioid found to be up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. The lifesaving measure has received support in the Assembly, with fellow District 10 legislators Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and Dave Wolfe sponsoring the Assembly version of the bill.

“The evidence is undeniable – fentanyl is so dangerously potent that even one use can be an instant death sentence,” Senator Holzapfel, a former Ocean County Prosecutor said. “As we continue to wage war against this crisis, we must ensure that those who unlawfully place this deadly drug in the hands of our loved ones and neighbors face the same criminal penalties as those who manufacture or dispense heroin.”

In New Jersey, overdose deaths attributed to fentanyl tripled in 2014. State officials have reported that the drug is often laced with heroin – a deadly combination that continues to fuel the opioid abuse epidemic in Ocean County and across New Jersey. The drug is odorless, colorless and nearly impossible to detect, compounding the risk for users who are unaware that the heroin could be laced with the far more powerful substance.

Gregory P. McGuckin

“Here, in Ocean County, we simply cannot turn a blind eye to this rapidly growing crisis,” McGuckin said. “Our community has been hit harder by the opioid epidemic than almost anywhere else in the state. I signed on as a prime sponsor of this bill because I believe we can and must do more to get fentanyl off our streets and away from those we love the most, before more lives and communities are torn apart by the cycle of addiction.”

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is usually prescribed for those suffering from severe chronic pain, such as terminally ill cancer patients. Despite the drug’s catastrophic potency, the penalties for unlawfully manufacturing or distributing fentanyl under current law are less severe than the fines and prison terms imposed on those who produce or dispense heroin or cocaine.

Current law classifies unlawfully producing or distributing 5 or more ounces of fentanyl as a second degree crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and, or a hefty fine. S-1026 would establish this crime as a first degree offense, doubling the maximum prison sentence from 10 to 20 years. In addition, those convicted of unlawfully producing or dispensing less than one ounce of fentanyl would also face longer prison terms and larger fines. All convicted must serve a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed.

Dave Wolfe

“This bill is a commonsense update to current law that will save countless lives – pure and simple,” Wolfe said. “It’s time to send a strong message to fentanyl dealers and manufactures that there is a serious price to pay for committing these crimes.”

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Rible Statement On Proposal To Increase Minimum Wage to $15

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Dave Rible

Assembly Republican Conference Leader Dave Rible released the following statement in response to today’s proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour:

“As a former small business owner I can tell you firsthand that nearly doubling the minimum wage will significantly impact the business community. Business owners will be faced with tough decisions that could ultimately force them to reduce their current workforce and choose not to hire new employees.

“Simply put, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour will have serious ramifications on our state’s businesses that could ultimately lead to higher unemployment. We should instead prioritize improving our business climate by reducing the tax burden on these hardworking men and women who are struggling to maintain their workforce and keep their businesses open.”

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Bucco: Dems’ Minimum Wage Proposal a Job Killer

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Anthony M. Bucco

Deputy Assembly Republican Leader Anthony M. Bucco released the following statement on the Democrats’ proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour:

“The Democrat’ plan to increase the minimum wage for a second time in just over two years will force jobs out of New Jersey and further hurt our economy. Once again, they are using the constitution to decide a public policy that is the Legislature’s responsibility. Our focus should be on discussing ways to improve the economy. My colleagues across the aisle continue to miss the point. Putting people back to work by cutting taxes and reducing burdensome regulations is the only way to help the New Jersey working class.”

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Bramnick: Dems’ Minimum Wage Proposal Will Continue to Force Jobs Out of New Jersey

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick issued the following statement regarding the Democrat proposal to raise the minimum wage:

“The Democrats’ plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 is bad public policy if the goal is to create more jobs. Business owners already find New Jersey’s business environment to be difficult with high taxes and burdensome regulations. We should discuss raising the minimum wage, but it must be done in a measured way and understanding that we must be competitive with other states.”

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NJSBA to Honor Bramnick with James J. McLaughlin Award

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jon Bramnick

The New Jersey State Bar Association’s Civil Trial Bar Section has named Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick as a recipient of its James J. McLaughlin Award.

The award is presented each year to individuals who demonstrate civility, legal competence and professionalism in the practice of civil trial law.

Bramnick, a certified civil trial attorney, will receive the award at the group’s annual awards dinner on Thursday, February 18, 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick.

Bramnick is a partner in the law firm of Bramnick Rodriquez Grabas Arnold and Mangan based in Scotch Plains. He was admitted to the New York Bar in 1978 and the New Jersey Bar in 1984. Bramnick holds a B.A. in political science from Syracuse University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He also holds a J.D. from Hofstra University’s School of Law.

To register for the event visit or call NJSBA’s Member Services at 732-249-5000.

For convenience, NJSBA members can – download this registration form; Judges – download this registration form; and Non-members – download this registration form and fax to 732-249-2414.

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Panel Approves Property Tax Relief Bill Sponsored by Webber

The bill restores funding from Energy Tax Receipts to provide direct property tax relief

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican Jay Webber to provide direct relief to property taxpayers cleared the State and Local Government Committee today. Webber’s bill (A-302) increases money to municipalities from the energy tax receipts program, and requires towns to subtract the additional aid from its adjusted tax levy to benefit property taxpayers.

Jay Webber

“It’s time to use the energy tax receipts to provide its intended relief for property taxpayers,” said Webber, R – Morris, Essex and Passaic. “The money was a promise of relief for property taxpayers, and using it for anything else is unacceptable. Restoring funding can keep that promise and begin lowering property tax bills.”

The bill increases the distribution from the energy tax receipts aid. Phased in over a five-year period, the increase restores approximately $331 million in reductions to consolidated municipal property tax relief aid and energy tax receipts.

A-302 Implementation

Year 1: $67,425,727-(20%)
Year 2: $134,851,453-(40%)
Year 3: $202,277,180-(60%)
Year 4: $269,702,906-(80%)
Year 5: $337,128,633-(100%)

Data specific to municipalities in Legislative District 26:


Municipality FY17 +20% FY18 +40% FY19 +60% FY20 +80% FY21 +100%
Essex County
Fairfield Borough






North Caldwell Borough






Verona Township






West Caldwell Township






Morris County
Butler Borough






Jefferson Township






Kinnelon Borough






Lincoln Park Borough






Montville Township






Morris Plains Borough






Parsippany-Troy Hills Township






Rockaway Township






Passaic County
West Milford Township













Data specific to Morris, Essex, and Passaic counties:


County FY17 +20% FY18 +40% FY19 +60% FY20 +80% FY21 +100%
Essex County $7,679,576 $15,359,152 $23,038,728 $30,718,304 $38,397,880
Morris County $3,020,244 $6,040,488 $9,060,731 $12,080,975 $15,101,219
Passaic County $3,438,636 $6,877,272 $10,315,907 $13,754,543 $17,193,179
Total $14,138,456 $28,276,912 $42,415,366 $56,553,822 $70,692,278



Assemblyman Webber’s extended comments about the bill, appearing in a weekend opinion piece, are here:

Here is a simple principle: something named a “Property Tax Relief Fund” should do what it says and actually bring relief to property taxpayers. Too often, however, funds collected by our state government for “property tax relief” really just fuel more spending at the local level and bring no real relief for beleaguered taxpayers.

We have seen this with the New Jersey Income Tax, where billions of dollars annually are put into the “Property Tax Relief Fund” and then transferred to local governments, where the money is spent rather than sent to property owners for tax relief. The cruel result of that chicanery is that New Jerseyans are left with both high income and high property taxes.

Another example is the state government’s Energy Tax Receipts Property Tax Relief Fund, which contains the collected fees paid by utilities for usage of public right-of-ways for sewer, water, gas, and electricity lines. As its label suggests, that fund is supposed to provide property tax relief to our residents. But it doesn’t. Instead, for years state government has diverted those energy receipts into its general fund to spend at the state level.

Many municipal officials object to that practice, claiming that those energy receipts should go to their local budgets, ostensibly to reduce the local property tax burden. But that’s not what will happen. If the money is given to municipalities without restriction, the vast majority of it will just be spent, like so much of the income tax dollars that go back to school boards, and property taxpayers will be left out in the cold again.

Local elected officials face many challenges, and no one should minimize the difficulty of their jobs or the significance of their efforts to balance their budgets. It’s understandable that public officials on the local level would be tempted to seek state subsidies to ease their budgetary pressures. But the “it’s-our-money” mindset is wrong and is one of the reasons New Jersey has the nation’s highest property taxes.

There is a better approach. Scheduled for consideration in Trenton next week is a bipartisan bill that I sponsor that would send the energy receipts back to municipalities, but with a crucial mandate: the funds must go to a direct reduction in property taxes. This initiative dictates direct relief for taxpayers, and gives local officials no option to spend the money. It puts taxpayers first, where they belong.

The bill would mean a real cut in the state’s property taxes, not a reduction in their growth. It would provide more than $325 million annually in direct property tax relief from just this one fund — $2.6 million in annual tax relief for Freehold taxpayers; $1.35 million in annual tax relief for Parsippany residents, and $2.3 million annual tax relief for Bridgewater residents, to cite just a few examples.

Sending money directly back to taxpayers (or, better, letting them keep more of it in the first place) is the path to real property tax relief. Sending money from the state to a lower level of government and hoping property taxes decline is not working — and never has. If there is one thing we have learned, it is that when government gets its hands on our money — at any level — it spends it.

Of course, this energy-receipts initiative alone is not a magic-bullet fix for the property tax crisis, and we should not be satisfied with stopping at this one proposal. Nevertheless, this new policy is the first of its kind to dictate that state aid to municipalities translate directly to tax relief for property taxpayers. Also, importantly, the initiative demands a mindset change among public officials who chronically spend taxpayer money and call it “property tax relief.” And with that, the bill holds the hope of even more substantial property tax relief going forward.

For more than a decade, New Jerseyans rightly have cited crushing property taxes as their number one concern. Let’s take the opportunity to lower property taxes now, before even more of our families and neighbors read this sort of opinion piece online from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, or Florida.

# # #

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Muñoz Bill Keeping Sexual Assault and Stalking Victims’ Home Addresses Private Clears Committee

Press Release – Legislation (A-1957) sponsored by Republican Deputy Conference Leader Nancy F. Muñoz that expands the state’s Address Confidentiality Program by keeping the home addresses of sexual assault and stalking victims shielded from their assailants today won Assembly Judiciary Committee approval.

Nancy Munoz

“No one should ever have to fear for their lives or their children’s well-being while living in their own home” said Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “Expanding this program can offer many more victims some peace of mind as it will help protect their identity and keep their actual address private.”

New Jersey’s Address Confidentiality Program was enacted in 1998 to keep the actual address of domestic violence victims confidential on public documents and prevent their assailants from finding them. The program forwards the participant’s mail to their actual address, which remains available only to employees of the program and to law enforcement. It is run through the Division on Women in the Department of Children and Families.

Of the 35 states that have similar programs, 30 protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and 28 states also protect stalking victims.

Muñoz is also the sponsor of the “Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015,” which allows victims to obtain protection without filing criminal charges. That legislation was signed into law by Gov. Christie in November.

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Panel Advances DeCroce Measure Urging Congress to Invest More Federal Dollars in NJ’s Transportation Infrastructure

BettyLou DeCroce

BettyLou DeCroce

Press Release – A resolution (AR-21) sponsored by Assemblywoman Bettylou DeCroce urging Congress to invest additional federal dollars to maintain and improve New Jersey’s highways and transportation infrastructure today received Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee approval.

“A well-maintained transportation infrastructure is vital for supporting commerce and economic activity,” said DeCroce, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. “New Jersey is a key corridor state located between two metropolitan areas. Since it’s a critical conduit for the eastern seaboard, it has a great impact on the national economy. Yet for every dollar New Jersey sends in taxes to the federal government, the state receives only 61 cents in return.

“That’s unacceptable,” continued DeCroce. “The federal government needs to do better. Additional funding is crucial to the safety of our residents and everyone who travels in the Garden State.”

According to a report compiled by TRIP, a national non-profit transportation research group, 66 percent of New Jersey’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition while 36 percent of its bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Roads and bridges in poor condition cost motorists in the state billions of dollars annually and contribute to a third of all traffic-related deaths.

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Auth & Schepisi Bill Eliminating MVC Fee for New Licenses for Organ Donors Approved by Panel

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Republicans Robert Auth and Holly Schepisi encouraging life-saving organ donations was advanced by the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee. Currently, when drivers request to become a designated organ donor the Motor Vehicle Commission charges a fee for a replacement drivers’. The bill (A-374) removes the fee, encouraging more drivers to become donors.

Robert Auth

Robert Auth

“A person’s decision to donate organs is an incredibly selfless act, and it just doesn’t sit right to turn around and hand them a bill,” said Auth, R – Bergen and Passaic. “Removing the financial obstacles for all organ donors will help encourage donors and promote awareness about donor programs that save lives.”

Holly Schepisi

Holly Schepisi

“Eliminating the fee for a new license with ‘organ donor’ printed on it benefits society and encourages more participation,” said Schepisi, R – Bergen and Passaic. “We should encourage as many people as possible to become organ donors and I hope this small measure helps with that endeavor.”

MVC, in collaboration with the NJ Sharing Network, offers its customers the opportunity to register as an organ and tissue donor when they apply for or renew their driver’s license or non-driver ID.

About NJ Sharing Network

Since it was founded in 1987, NJ Sharing Network has more than quadrupled the total number of organs recovered in New Jersey for transplantation. NJ Sharing Network also recovers tissue for life-enhancing transplants. NJ Sharing Network works closely with donor hospitals and transplant centers to steward the gifts of organs and tissue. NJ Sharing Network continues to reach New Jerseyans through educational tools and the media to inform them of the option to donate and of the benefits of transplantation.

For information, call the NJ Sharing Network at 1-800-742-7365, or e-mail

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