Tag: Jay Webber

Republicans Stand Strong Against Massive Tax Increases

Source: Assembly Republican Video -

When Democrats proposed the most expensive budget in state history with massive new taxes, Assembly Republicans stood against them.

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Webber “NJTEAM Act” Released by Committee

Assembly Republican Press Release -

A military veteran who attends a public college or university in New Jersey will pay an in-state tuition rate under legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Jay Webber, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. The Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee released the bill today.

Jay Webber

“Many of our returning service men and women are looking for opportunities to build a career once they leave the military,” said Webber. “One of the avenues to pursue in that quest is continuing their education at a college or university in New Jersey. Offering in-state tuition at a public college can help our veterans acquire the knowledge and skills that today’s employers are seeking at a reasonable price.”

Webber’s bill (A-2622), referred to as the “New Jersey Tuition Equality for America’s Military (NJTEAM) Act,” amends current law and provides that a veteran will be regarded as a resident of the state for the purpose of determining tuition, regardless of where they live.

“These patriots answered the call to serve our country. Helping them obtain a degree gives them a better chance at obtaining a job,” commented Webber. “This is the least we can do to express our gratitude to those who have contributed to our country’s security and have asked nothing in return.”

Currently, Richard Stockton College and Rowan University offer in-state tuition to all veterans.

The identical Senate version (S-849) was released by the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee in January and was referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

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Assembly Approves Webber Legislation That Brings Transparency to State Revenue & Spending

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblyman Jay Webber’s “Transparency in Government Act” that provides taxpayers with an online accounting of state spending and revenue today passed the General Assembly.

Assemblyman Webber’s bill, A-103, provides for the establishment of a state public finance website. With the development of an accessible, user-friendly source of information to track state revenues, expenditures, and past and present levels of bonded indebtedness, taxpayers can see first-hand how their money is spent.

Jay Webber

“We hear it constantly from constituents: They want to understand how the government is using our money. They want be able to decide whether our taxes are being managed responsibly,” said Webber, R-Morris, Essex, and Passaic.

Although the Christie Administration already has implemented a similar web portal through Executive Order called yourmoneynj.gov, this legislative initiative pre-dates the Christie Administration and seeks to build on and codify the Governor’s work in this area.

“The Transparency in Government Act builds on the Governor’s good work on transparency and accountability, and it requires a more comprehensive data set than the existing website. It also gives the requirement of placing government fiscal information online the force of an enacted law that cannot be changed by a future Executive Order, which is a long-term taxpayer protection that will last far beyond the Christie Administration,” Webber noted.

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Webber’s view on pension payment reduction

Source: Bergen Record -

New Jersey’s largest state government employees’ union said Wednesday that it intends to sue Gov. Chris Christie over his plan to slash the state’s pension contribution, saying the cut would be illegal.

The announcement from the Communication Workers of America came the day after the Republican governor announced his plan to bridge an unexpected $2.75 billion budget gap over the next 13 months. Christie proposed closing the gap mostly by scrapping about $2.5 billion in payments that he agreed to three years ago as part of an overhaul of a public workers pension system left underfunded by decades of skipped or skimped state contributions.

Christie issued an executive order Tuesday saying he would make a $696 million pension payment in June instead of the previously agreed-upon $1.6 billion.

He also said he plans to have the state contribute $681 million a year from now rather than the $2.25 billion called for under the budget he proposed earlier this year. He said those amounts are enough to cover the obligations to current employees, who are also paying into the system.

But the cuts do not cover what Christie called “the sins of the past,” or the liabilities.

Jay Webber

Assemblyman Jay Webber, a Republican from Morris Plains, said Wednesday that he wants the state to make the previously planned pension payment in June 2015, and pay for it with spending cuts elsewhere.

The pension payment for the fiscal year that starts July 1 requires the Democrat-controlled Legislature to agree with the proposal.

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Webber on FY-2015 budget: ‘My No. 1 priority is property tax relief’ (video)

Source: WMBC TV (video) -

Jay Webber

Jay Webber was a guest on WMBC’s “Hometown,” with host Lisa Voyticki.

“We have the highest property taxes in the nation and the second-highest overall tax burden. My No. 1 priority is to meet our obligations to the people in need, and kids who need an education, and the public employees who worked hard and deserve a pension and health benefits that they’ve come to rely on. But what about the property taxpayers? They have no special interest group talking up for them at these hearings. When you are the second highest taxed state in the nation, and the highest property-taxed state in the nation, my point is, let’s make that a priority and focus on tax relief and lowering those burdens, not increasing them,” Webber said.

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Webber cited as a rising political star in New Jersey (video)

Source: MSNBC (video) -

Jay Webber

On his “The Daily Rundown” television program on MSNBC, political correspondent Chuck Todd called Assembly Republican Jay Webber “one of the names you should know” in New Jersey politics.

“[Gov.] Christie has said Webber is the future of the Republican Party,” said Todd, adding that “our experts say he is likely to run statewide in the future.”

Webber, R-Morris, Essex, and Passaic, is a member of the Assembly Budget Committee, and the former state party chairman.

 

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Christie and Taxes: Bridge traffic isn’t the Garden State governor’s biggest problem

Source: Wall Street Journal -

Long after people have forgotten or ceased to care which of Chris Christie’s fired aides caused a traffic jam, the New Jersey governor will still have a big political problem. After his two terms, citizens of the Garden State will likely suffer under essentially the same oppressive tax burden that existed on the day he took office. And Mr. Christie is now moving in the wrong direction.

New Jersey’s Star-Ledger reports: “Gov. Chris Christie’s $34.4 billion budget proposal includes several revenue-raising measures, like requiring the increasingly popular electronic cigarettes to be taxed at the same rate as traditional cigarettes, and making online retailers charge state sales tax.”

Mr. Christie’s staff won’t use the T-word to describe these proposals but has instead referred to revenue-raisers as “adjustments” to close “loopholes.” Along with tax hikes, a small part of the package is an increase in the penalty for those who try to pay their taxes with the electronic equivalent of a bad check.

Jay Webber

The governor’s opponents say that the new Christie levies are in a category that the governor has previously described as tax hikes when enacted by Democrats. And at least one prominent Republican in the state legislature agrees. “As a general matter, these look to me to be tax increases,” Assemblyman Jay Webber told the Star-Ledger.

Even more disappointing is that in Mr. Christie’s current budget the governor abandons his call for a cut in state income taxes.

State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff says that the budget’s, um, revenue raisers will bring in an additional $240 million in 2015. He also says that more than offsetting these increases are the business tax cuts Mr. Christie signed in 2011 which will amount to $616 million in the coming year.

Not that a reform budget would have much chance of being enacted. The central problem is that New Jersey legislative districts have been gerrymandered to ensure liberal governance. Even as Mr. Christie cruised to a landslide re-election last fall, Democratic majorities in both houses of the state legislature were never in danger. This means New Jersey residents will continue to bear one of the country’s heaviest tax burdens, which in turn will continue to restrain economic growth. And that in turn will make it difficult for Mr. Christie to tell a compelling story in 2016 about Garden State success.

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Webber-Casagrande-Simon spend a night for homeless youth and raise $25K for Covenant House

Source: PolitickerNJ -

Camped under the stars outside the Statehouse last night, New Jersey lawmakers raised over $25,000 for homeless youth in Covenant House’s first ever legislative sleep-out.

Jay Webber

“It was a worthwhile night; a notable and meaningful event,” said Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26), co-chair with state Sen. Joe Vitale (D-19). “There was a lot of learning and sharing going on, and for those of us participating on the legislative side, we came away with an appreciation for these kids.”

Founded in New York City in 1972, Covenant House is the largest privately funded charity in the Americas providing services to homeless, abandoned, abused, trafficked, and exploited youth. The state’s largest service-provider to homeless and at risk adolescents under 22, Covenant House New Jersey provides healthcare, educational and vocational services, counseling, drug abuse treatment and prevention programs and transitional living programs.

Caroline Casagrande

“Covenant House is always there, when no one else is, to help homeless, at risk adolescents,” said 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.”.

Early Friday evening, the bipartisan gathering of 16 legislators broke into groups inside the Statehouse to hear the testimonials of young people between the ages of 18-22.

The following lawmakers participated: Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (R-11), state Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-11), Assemblywoman Maria Rodriguez-Gregg (R-8), Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman (D-15), Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-15, Assemblywoman Celeste Riley (D-3), Assemblywoman Grace Spencer (D-29), Assemblywoman Donna Simon (R-16), state Senator Pete Barnes (D-18), state Sen. Nellie Pou (D-35), state Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29), Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-35), Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-38), and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37).

The group of legislators and youth took their sleeping bags, pillows and ponchos and trooped outside around 11 p.m. Friday night, to the grass in front of the Statehouse Annex facing West State Street.

After a conversation and song, some impromptu Evita and Carole King, most people nodded off around 1 to 2 a.m. in a night without rain.

“It was uncomfortable,” Webber said of sleeping on the ground. “But we were so much more comfortable than the homeless youth we were trying to help. We had access to restroom, we were with our colleagues, we had a patch of grass, and we were safe. A lot of these kids don’t have that. The experience doesn’t compare to what they go through, but it was a good reminder to us of their challenges out there. We were fortunate to raise awareness and keep them in our consciousness.”

 

 

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Webber Discusses Problems with Bill to Increase Minimum Wage for Tip-Earners

Source: NJ Spotlight -

An increase in the minimum wage for workers who rely on tips to $5.93 – which would make New Jersey’s minimum wage for tip-earners one of the nation’s highest – is being considered by the state Legislature

New Jersey law currently allows tip workers to be paid $2.13 an hour, but requires employers to pay additional compensation if the employee’s hourly wage and tips do not at least equal the general minimum wage. The federal tip wage is $2.13 and has not been increased since 1993.

The legislation, A-857, was approved by the Assembly Labor Committee on March 24 by a 5-3 vote. It would increase the wage in two increments, from the current $2.13 an hour to $3.37 on Dec. 31, 2014, and to $5.93 on Dec. 31, 2015. The bill has not been scheduled for a floor vote and its Senate companion, S-1595, has not been scheduled for a Senate Labor Committee hearing.

Some tip-workers, and their advocates, say the increase is needed to stabilize the wages of bartenders, waitresses and others who rely on tips. Advocates say that many in the industry are barely scraping by, with many living below the poverty line.

Restaurant owners and the New Jersey Restaurant Association dispute those claims and say that, where problems exist, they are failures of enforcement. They also say that an increase in the wage will ultimately hurt tip workers by forcing businesses to reduce hours or alter wage scales to compensate for higher costs.

Jay Webber

Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris), one of three Republicans on the committee to vote against the bill, said in a press release that the bill, by nearly tripling the tip wage, calls for a “much more dramatic increase than what New Jersey put before the voters last year,” when the state minimum wage was increased from $7.25 an hour to $8.25.

“This bill would increase costs to employers without a substantial increase to employees,” because employees already are supposed to be guaranteed the regular state minimum wage, Webber said.

The tip wage has become a hotly contested issue nationally, with national Democrats linking an increase to President Barack Obama’s call for the national minimum wage to be increased to $10.10 an hour. U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) has introduced federal legislation that would tie a tip-wage increase to the federal minimum wage increase – both increases would be phased until the regular minimum was $10.10 and the tip-wage was $7.10.

Nationally, Democrats are hoping to pass a bill this year, but observers say it is unlikely to get through the House of Representatives.

Its prospects in New Jersey – where about 315,000 people work in the hospitality industry – are unclear, though both houses of the state Legislature remain in Democratic control. Gov. Chris Christie has not said if he would sign a tip-wage increase into law, but the governor did veto an increase in the regular minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 in 2012, saying it was too much and that an indexing provision tying the minimum wage to the rate of inflation would harm businesses. The Legislature responded by putting the minimum wage on the ballot in 2013, where it was supported by 61 percent of voters. The minimum wage increased to $8.25 an hour on Jan. 1 and will increase annually based on the cost of living.

Marilou Halvorsen, president of the NJRA, said most restaurant workers make more than the minimum wage and that it is a “very rare occurrence” when they fall below. Even when they do “work a shift and it is so slow that no one comes in,” she said, workers “are by law guaranteed to get $8.25 an hour. The employer is responsible to bring you up to that $8.25 an hour.”

Halvorsen said some of the NJRA’s smaller members view the increase existentially. They are afraid that the increased costs could force them to close, she said.

 

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Webber on bill to change wages for tipped workers

Source: PolitickerNJ -

The Assembly Labor Committee this morning passed along party lines a bill aimed at benefiting workers who depend on tips to make a living.

 

“This bill would increase costs to employers without a substantial increase to employees,” said Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26), who led Republicans opposed to the bill.

 

Sponsored by Labor Committee Vice Chair Shavonda Sumter (D-35), A857 requires employers “to compensate their employees at an hourly rate of at least 40 percent of the minimum wage ($2.90 per hour) after June 30, 2012, and an hourly rate of at least 69% of the minimum wage ($5.00 per hour) after June 30, 2013 and beyond,” according to the legislature’s summary of the bill.

Three Republicans bucked it in the minority.

Jay Webber

“This bill would increase costs to employers without a substantial increase to employees,” said Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26), who led Republicans opposed to the bill.

As part of his resistance, Webber pointed out that New Jersey voters raised the state’s minimum wage last year by a dollar, to $8.25.

“This is a much more dramatic increase than what New Jersey put before the voters last year,” Webber said.

Voting no on the bill: Webber, Assemblywoman Alison McHose (R-24) and Assemblyman Ronald Dancer (R-12).

Voting yes and moving the bill out of committee: Sumter, Assemblywoman Anette Quijano (D-20), Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell (D-31), Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-19), and Committee Chairman Joe Egan (D-17) (pictured).

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