Tag: Jay Webber

Webber: Municipalities increasing minimum wage will face shrinking tax bases

Source: The Star-Ledger -

New Jersey’s minimum wage workers would earn different amounts depending on which town they work in under a proposal that has begun advancing in the state Legislature.

The state Assembly Labor Committee today voted 6-3 along party lines to approve the bill (A3912), which would allow counties and municipalities to decide if they want to set the minimum wage within their borders higher than the state’s, which is currently $8.38.

The committee’s three Republicans voted against it. Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris) predicted that towns that raised their wages would have to confront a shrinking tax base, and would end up asking state lawmakers for municipal aide.

Jay Webber

“Would you agree that we should link this then if a municipality chooses to raise their minimum wage and loses jobs as a result of it, that they receive less in state aid because the state shouldn’t be obliged to then bail out their bad economic decisions?” Webber asked Gusciora. “Would you agree this should be a part of this bill?”

Gusciora responded that he would expect wealthier towns that receive little state aid to pay higher wages.

“They want diversity. They want to keep low wage earners in the community,” he said. “A place like Trenton or Newark fully understands your analysis, so they will think twice before doing this.”

New Jersey voters in 2013 agreed to amend the state Constitution to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25, and then annually based on the Consumer Price Index. The wage went up another 13 cents on January 1.

Businesses said allowing towns to set their own minimum wages — and potentially even different wages for different types of business — would create a bureaucratic nightmare.

“I’m kind of flabbergasted to some degree that we’re even having this discussion,” said John Holub, president of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association.

Holub said that most of his organization’s members already pay all their workers at least $10 an hour — let alone in wealthy towns like Princeton.

“The fact that the folks in Princeton are asking for this, I shudder to think what rate they actually want to go up to,” Holub said. “Because I’m sure they’re already paying pretty significant wages higher than most towns in the state of New Jersey.”

Stefanie Riehl, a vice president at the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, said the bill could hurt “the people it intends to help.”

“A business that’s struggling to keep its doors open and make ends meet might decide to another areas in order to stay sustainable, and as a result workers could be forced to commute longer distances to earn a paycheck,” she said.

New Jersey would not be the first state to allow local governments to set their own minimum wages.

The most publicized example is in the state of Washington, where on on April 1 Seattle will raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

To become law, the bill would have to pass the full state Senate and Assembly and win the approval of Gov. Chris Christie, who said in an October 2014 speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that “I’m tired of hearing about the minimum wage.”

Christie conditionally vetoed Democrats’ last attempt to raise the minimum wage, leading them to begin their successful effort to go around him and get it approved by voters.

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Webber warns about towns setting their own minimum wage

Star Ledger -

New Jersey’s minimum wage workers would earn different amounts depending on which town they work in under a proposal that has begun advancing in the state Legislature.

The state Assembly Labor Committee today voted 6-3 along party lines to approve the bill (A3912), which would allow counties and municipalities to decide if they want to set the minimum wage within their borders higher than the state’s.

New Jersey would not be the first state to allow local governments to set their own minimum wages.

The committee’s three Republicans voted against it. Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris) predicted that towns that raised their wages would have to confront a shrinking tax base, and would end up asking state lawmakers for municipal aide.

Jay Webber

“Would you agree that we should link this then if a municipality chooses to raise their minimum wage and loses jobs as a result of it, that they receive less in state aid because the state shouldn’t be obliged to then bail out their bad economic decisions?” Webber asked Gusciora. “Would you agree this should be a part of this bill?”

Christie conditionally vetoed Democrats’ last attempt to raise the minimum wage, leading them to begin their successful effort to go around him and get it approved by voters.

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Webber, Brown discuss business incentives at budget hearing

Source: Inquirer -

New Jersey lawmakers scrutinized Gov. Christie’s proposed $33.8 billion budget Wednesday, hearing testimony in South Jersey on how the spending plan could affect hospitals, higher education, historic preservation, and services.

Even as lawmakers welcomed comments on the merits of funding for those issues, they impressed upon the public the tight constraints of the budget.

The Assembly Budget Committee convened at Collingswood’s Scottish Rite Auditorium. The Senate Budget Committee is scheduled to meet March 25 at Rowan College of Gloucester County in Sewell.

Christina Renna, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey and a former Christie staffer, told the Assembly committee that her group supported the majority of Christie’s budget, including business tax cuts.

But she opposed the Republican governor’s proposal to cut state funding to charity care – through which the state offsets costs incurred by hospitals for treating the uninsured – by $74 million.

Renna also said the chamber opposed cuts to higher education operating budgets. Hospitals and universities “are the two economic engines of South Jersey now,” she said.

Lawmakers also debated the efficacy of New Jersey’s economic incentives programs. The state has awarded more than $4 billion in tax breaks since 2010, a trend that has accelerated since lawmakers enacted the Economic Opportunity Act in 2013, according to New Jersey Policy Perspective, a liberal-leaning research group.

In Camden, these tax credits have been awarded to the 76ers, who are moving their practice facility to the city, and defense contractor Lockheed Martin, among others.

Deborah Cornavaca, legislative director of the liberal nonprofit group New Jersey Working Families Alliance, called for a moratorium on Economic Development Authority-approved tax awards until the agency and the Treasury Department disclose more information about the awards’ effectiveness.

Although the EDA operates separately from the budget process, Cornavaca and others noted that the tax breaks the agency has awarded will result in lost revenue in future years.

Jay Webber

Assemblyman Jay Webber (R., Morris), a self-described conservative, found common ground with his “progressive” counterpart.

“Tax policy needs to be fair,” he said. “When government starts picking winners, it tends to be major corporations with a lot of money and a lot of influence.”

He said he had not received “satisfactory answers” from the EDA about how much evidence corporations must provide to the agency to prove they may leave the state without the tax breaks.

“We definitely need more accountability,” he said. “And there are projects that have not added net benefits.”

Chris J. Brown

Assemblyman Chris Brown (R., Burlington) said the incentives programs, which received broad bipartisan support in the Legislature, were necessary to compete with neighboring states.

“New York is giving away 10-year tax abatements,” he said. “How are we competing if we don’t do this?”

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Webber, Brown on South Jersey budget hearing

Source: Courier-Post -

More historic structures statewide will disappear with the scant amount of preservation money proposed in Gov. Chris Christie’s budget.

Drug treatment and a program that keeps elderly in their own homes are also in jeopardy.

Charter schools are shortchanged.

Flat funding for schools is insufficient.

These were some of the messages sent Wednesday to a state Assembly committee in Collingswood at one of a series of hearings seeking public opinion on the governor’s $33.8 billion budget and on spending recommendations for the Legislature.

Committee members sparred over the value of corporate tax breaks after Deborah Cornavaca, New Jersey Working Families Alliance legislative director, said those breaks have not brought the state fully out of the recession.

She asked for a moratorium on the New Jersey Economic Development Authority programs that have offered huge tax incentives, expressing concern for lost revenue and “to make sure we are not mortgaging our future.”

Jay Webber

Assemblyman Jay Webber, R-Morris, said there has been much legislative support for tax credit subsidies like the $118 million for Subaru of Cherry Hill and $210 million for Prudential in Newark to create new jobs while the mom-and-pop shops on Main Street get no tax breaks.

He said tax subsidies often are determined by “how good a lobbyist you have.”

Chris J. Brown

Assemblyman Chris Brown, D-Burlington, said one cannot say incentive programs have not worked at all and the economy might be worse off without them. “They are given with the expectation to perform,” he said.

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Budget hearing: Webber and Brown on business incentive programs

Source: NJ Spotlight -

The condition of New Jersey’s economy and government efforts over the past several years to generate jobs took center stage yesterday during the second public hearing on Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year.

Christie’s $33.8 billion budget includes the next installment of a $2 billion business-tax cut initiative that will result in an estimated $660 million in lost revenue during the fiscal year that begins July 1. Christie, a Republican exploring a run for U.S. president in 2016, also bragged during his budget address last month that he’s held firm against tax hikes while working with a Democratic-controlled Legislature.

But Deborah Cornavaca, legislative director of the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, said during yesterday’s public hearing hosted by the Assembly Budget Committee in Collingswood that those policies aren’t working. She pointed to credit-rating downgrades, an unemployment rate that trails the national average, and an increasing poverty rate as evidence.

“It’s no secret that our economic recovery since the recession never really happened,” Cornavaca said. She also criticized billions in revenue lost to corporate-tax subsidies that have been offered through the state Economic Development Authority in addition to the business-tax cuts.

“There is absolutely no evidence that the path towards prosperity is paved with corporate incentives,” she said.

Though Cornavaca also testified during the first public hearing on Christie’s budget, hosted on Tuesday by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee in Paramus, her comments yesterday drew a much longer and more spirited debate.

Jay Webber

Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris) called for more transparency and accountability when it comes to the incentive programs, telling Cornavaca “you are right to highlight these issues.”

Webber said the incentives often benefit the largest corporations, not the small businesses who may also have a compelling need for assistance.

“Tax policy needs to be fair,” Webber said. “And I think that’s a problem.”

Chris J. Brown

But Assemblyman Chris Brown (R-Burlington) told Cornavaca to be careful how she describes the incentive programs. Using the word “subsidy” makes it sound like companies are being handed grants, he said, but the state is offering breaks on future tax bills only if certain benchmarks are met.

“We have to be careful when we use the word subsidy,” Brown said.

 

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Ready for Reagan Day, Webber “would consider” run at higher office [audio]

Source: Save Jersey Blog [audio] -

Jay Webber

Heading into its 12th year, Save Jerseyans, Asm. Jay Webber’s annual Reagan Day celebration has exploded from only around 50 participants back in 2004 to a sold-out crowd pushing 1,000 guests set to gather on March 31, 2015 at the Westmount County Club in Woodland.

Yes, this year’s keynote (former Vice President Dick Cheney) is a big name. But it’s also a sign that Webber, the senior Assemblyman representing New Jersey’s solidly-red 26th Legislative District, remains deeply popular among active rank-and-file New Jersey GOP’ers.

Popular enough to make a run at high office? Especially in light of an upcoming gubernatorial election AND, potentially, a U.S. Senate vacancy?

Answer: maybe. Last Friday, I spoke to the Assemblyman about Reagan Day and the possibility of Webber for Senate/Governor.

 

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Assembly Approves Webber Bill Updating Access Standards to UI Data

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation Assemblyman Jay Webber sponsors to protect the state’s unemployment insurance system was approved by the Assembly today. The bill, S-2414/A-3155, implements a recommendation by the state auditor that the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD) review the procedures used to grant access to unemployment insurance data by personnel in the department.

Jay Webber

“The purpose of this common sense, anti-fraud legislation is to eliminate costly errors and make taxpayers’ personal information more secure,” said Webber, R-Morris, Essex, and Passaic, who sits on the Assembly Labor Committee. “Under this bill, the department must keep updated its own protocols that grant access to the sensitive data it maintains. The state auditor’s recommendations are sound and practical and were positively received by DOLWD. Monitoring who should have access to this personal data helps ensure that taxpayers, businesses, and beneficiaries have their sensitive information secured and that the UI fund is protected from theft.”

Webber’s bill requires periodic reviews of the appropriateness of employees’ access to data, which reduces the risk of errors, misuse, or unauthorized alteration of information.

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Webber named to Reagan Ranch Board of Governors

Source: PolitckerNJ -

In advance of the anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s birth on February 6, Assemblyman Jay Webber and Young America’s Foundation have announced that Assemblyman Webber has been named to the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors of Young America’s Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving and protecting President Reagan’s Ranch in Santa Barbara, California. The Reagan Ranch Board of Governors includes Reagan Administration officials Frank Donatelli, Attorney General Edwin Meese, and Governor George Allen.

Jay Webber

“I am deeply honored and humbled to be brought on to the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors. The Ranch is a national treasure – rich with tangible symbols and reminders of a great man and the country he loved. I look forward to working with the Board and YAF’s generous supporters to maintain and promote this vital piece of American history.” – Assemblyman Webber

“We are delighted to name Jay Webber to the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors. He is one the most talented, articulate, and principled public officials in our country and is a great asset to our cause of saving and utilizing the Reagan Ranch,” said Ron Robinson, President of Young America’s Foundation. “Jay is exactly the type of young leader Ronald Reagan sought to encourage.”

“I am deeply honored and humbled to be brought on to the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors. The Ranch is a national treasure – rich with tangible symbols and reminders of a great man and the country he loved. I look forward to working with the Board and YAF’s generous supporters to maintain and promote this vital piece of American history,” said Assemblyman Webber.

President Reagan’s Ranch del Cielo, the “Ranch in the Sky” overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Valley, was the home of the Reagans for nearly twenty-five years and, during the eight years of the Reagan Administration, served as “the Western White House.” President Reagan said of his beloved Ranch, “No place before or since has ever given Nancy and me the joy and serenity it does.” First Lady Nancy Reagan stated that if you want to understand Ronald Reagan, then go to the Ranch.

Young America’s Foundation stepped in to save the 688-acre Ranch in the spring of 1998 to preserve it as a living monument to President Reagan’s historic accomplishments and to make it a current-day centerpiece of student programs.

Assemblyman Webber also is the founder and host of New Jersey Reagan Day, the Garden State’s greatest annual gathering of conservatives. Former Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney is the special guest at this year’s NJ Reagan Day, which is co-sponsored by Young America’s Foundation and this year will be held on March 31st in Woodland Park.

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Webber legislation protects unpaid interns in NJ

Source: NJ 101.5 -

Interns in New Jersey could soon have more rights under legislation being pushed by nearly a dozen state lawmakers.

Under current New Jersey law, unpaid interns are banned from suing a company for discrimination or sexual harassment because they are not technically employees. But a new bill would extend New Jersey worker protections to unpaid interns by amending three state statues: the Law Against Discrimination, the Worker Freedom From Employer Intimidation Act and the Conscientious Employee Protection Act.

Jay Webber

“Once interns are in the door it seems to me they deserve every bit as much the protections that employees receive,” said Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Parsippany), one of the bill’s primary sponsors.

Oregon is the only state that already has such a law, and New York City has enacted similar legislation.

Members of the business community are against the measure though. During testimony before the Assembly Labor Committee on Jan. 15, business leaders said everyone deserves protections, but they are concerned the legislation is too broad and could lead to frivolous lawsuits and other unintended consequences.

Despite agreeing the legislation could be too broad, Webber is in favor of the bill and addressed the question of liability.

“If an intern doesn’t really know what they’re talking about and says, ‘Oh you’re doing something illegal,’ and blows the whistle and the internship is terminated, and they really didn’t know what they were talking about – the case is going nowhere,” Webber said.

The case that brought the issue to light was heard in October of 2013 when a federal district judge ruled that a Syracuse University student engaged in an internship with a New York company could not bring a sexual harassment lawsuit against her boss because she was unpaid and did not have the status of an employee.

The bill, referred to as the “New Jersey Intern Protection Act,” was approved on Jan. 15 by the Assembly Labor Committee and now awaits a vote in the full Assembly. The bill was approved by the full Senate in June 2014.

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General Assembly Approves Webber’s ‘NJTEAM Act’ Making College More Affordable to Returning Veterans

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jay Webber

Assembly Republican Jay Webber sponsors legislation, approved today by the General Assembly, that helps make college affordable for military veterans and their families. Entitled the “New Jersey Tuition Equality for America’s Military (NJTEAM) Act,” the bill (A-3967) allows all veterans and their children to pay in-state tuition to attend a public college or university in New Jersey.

“After honorably serving in the military, many veterans find themselves returning to college in a search for rewarding careers,” said Webber, R – Morris, Essex and Passaic. “Offering in-state rates at our high-quality state schools to these patriots can help make their future goals more affordable, and gives us a chance to honor them for their service.”

Currently, Rowan University in Glassboro and Richard Stockton College in Galloway Township extend in-state tuition rates to all veterans.

“We want these brave men and women to make New Jersey home. They have contributed greatly to defending our country, and making college more accessible will help them reach their potential in civilian life,” said Webber.

The NJTEAM Act was prompted by Webber’s comments during the Assembly debate on a bill (A-4225) that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates to attend public colleges in New Jersey. In the Budget Committee and on the floor of the Assembly in December 2013, Webber pointed out that A-4225 would provide better treatment for the children of undocumented immigrants than American military veterans and their children who, as citizens of other states, do not qualify for in-state rates at Rutgers and other public institutions.

Only a month after Webber’s public comments, the Senate version of the NJTEAM Act was introduced.

“As a primary sponsor of the NJTEAM Act and its predecessor (A-2622) since the day it was introduced on February 20 of this year, I am proud and pleased to see it take another step toward becoming law,” said Webber.

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