Tag: Jay Webber

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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Webber weighs in as N.J.takes another step toward mandatory paid sick leave

Source: The Star-Ledger -

A state Assembly panel today approved a bill that would entitle all employees, including part-timers, to paid sick leave.

Under the bill (A2354), businesses with 10 or more employees would be required to let workers earn at least 72 hours of paid time off that they could use to stay home when they’re sick or to take care of ill relatives. Businesses with fewer than 10 employees would be required to offer their employees at least 40 hours of sick time. Workers would accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

If approved, New Jersey would become one of only a handful of states — after California, Connecticut and Massachusetts — to approve requiring paid sick time for all workers. A number of New Jersey communities have already adopted similar sick time rules locally.

A divided Assembly Budget Committee approved the measure, but several members said the bill needs retooling before it hits the Assembly floor.

Assemblymen Joseph Cryan (D-Union) abstained, saying the bill isn’t “remotely ready” for the type of policy change it will deliver.

Cryan said changes to the bill may be necessary to address employers with a seasonal workforce. Several committee members also cautioned that a provision that preempts the municipalities that have already approved similar measures would make implementation challenging for employers..

Anthony M. Bucco

“I think this is another straw on the camel’s back,” said Anthony M. Bucco (R-Morris). “Our business climate in New Jersey can’t get any worse.”

Under the bill, workers would be able to carry over unused sick time, but can never have more than 40 hours or 72 hours in the bank, respectively.

Jay Webber

Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris) noted employees could potentially use up to 18 sick days in a single year. “That’s more than three weeks paid sick time in a calendar year,” he said.

Employers could opt to pay out unused sick time, but they would not be required to.

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Assembly Approves Webber Bill to Prevent Chronic Flooding

Assembly Republican Press Release -

The General Assembly today unanimously approved legislation Assemblyman Jay Webber sponsors that will help alleviate chronic flooding in flood-prone communities by making it easier for municipal and county officials to clean stream beds.

Jay Webber

“Clogged streams contribute to flooding in the Passaic River Basin and waterways throughout the state,” said Webber, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. “This bill allows local authorities to take the initiative in clearing snagged or blocked waterways. That will help those waterways handle the volume and force of water during torrential rains, and mitigate the flooding so many of our neighbors endure all too often.”

The bill, A-3507, allows municipalities and counties to de-snag more streams by increasing the number of streams eligible for cleaning without obtaining a Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) permit. Under current law, only stream beds 15 feet or less in width may be cleaned without DEP approval. Webber’s bill increases the width to 30 feet.

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CPA Survey Confirms NJ Death Tax Forces Flight of People & Money

Assembly Republican Press Release -

In response to the release of the third annual survey of Certified Public Accountants in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Assemblyman Jay Webber, R-Morris, Essex, and Passaic, issued the following statement:

Jay Webber

“Those who know about and deal with the direct effects of New Jersey taxation agree – high taxes, especially the death tax, drive people and their money out of New Jersey and hurt the middle class. New Jersey is 50th out of 50 states in taxation overall, and the state’s estate and inheritance taxes combined are the worst in the nation. Repealing the death tax now will bring many benefits to New Jersey’s individuals, families, businesses and economy, as this poll of CPAs shows.”

According to the poll: 87 percent of New Jersey respondents believe New Jersey’s tax structure is worse than most states; 83 percent said the state’s estate and inheritance taxes have prompted clients to leave New Jersey; 71 percent have advised clients to relocate to another state due to New Jersey’s estate and inheritance taxes; and 84 percent think that the state’s estate and inheritance taxes impact New Jersey’s middle class just as much as the affluent. Respondents also cited taxes as the number one obstacle to economic growth.

The Franklin and Marshall College Center for Opinion Research University, on behalf of the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants, surveyed high-level CPAs in public accounting, industry, government, nonprofit, and academia in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, September through November 2014. There were 414 total respondents in New Jersey.

For additional information, visit http://www.njscpa.org/news/article/2014/11/24/cpa-poll-finds-national-state-economies-stuck-in-neutral

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Webber opposes assisted-suicide bill that passed N.J. Assembly

Source: Bergen Record -

New Jersey lawmakers voted Thursday to make it legal for the terminally ill to end their lives with medical help, a move that comes amid the continued national debate over assisted suicide and that faces an uncertain future in the state.

Jay Webber

 

“When one group of people in society, the majority, make it the law of the land that some minority have lives that are not worth living, that are not quite as equal as their own, then that is not the road to freedom … that is the road to tyranny,” said Assemblyman Jay Webber, R-Morris.


The bill passed 41-31, with the minimum number of votes needed to clear the Assembly. A companion version in the Senate has not been acted on since it was introduced in January. And Governor Christie has said he opposes the measure.

Still, supporters said on Thursday that families need this law and lawmakers offered painful, personal examples to urge colleagues to vote for what they labeled “The New Jersey Death With Dignity Act.”

The Assembly debate saw opponents make religious appeals and offer warnings that an assisted-suicide law would lead to euthanasia and tyranny.

“When one group of people in society, the majority, make it the law of the land that some minority have lives that are not worth living, that are not quite as equal as their own, then that is not the road to freedom … that is the road to tyranny,” said Assemblyman Jay Webber, R-Morris.

If the proposal approved in the Assembly on Thursday becomes law, New Jersey could be among the first group of states to allow patients the right to assisted suicide, according to National Right to Life, an antiabortion advocacy organization.

The bill would only allow a patient who is terminally ill and within six months of death to be given a prescription for medication that would help end the person’s life voluntarily.

In addition, the bill requires the patient to ask twice for a prescription. The second request would need to be in writing and signed by two witnesses. Those requests must come at least 15 days apart. Two physicians would be called upon to certify that the patient had a limited time to live and an attending physician would be required to offer the patient an opportunity to reconsider the request.

 

 

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O’Scanlon, Webber, Auth on end-of-life bill

Source: The Star-Ledger -

Terminally ill patients in New Jersey would have the right to obtain a prescription to end their lives under a bill that won a narrow victory in the state Assembly today, less than two weeks after the physician-assisted suicide of a young Oregon woman sparked a nation debate on the issue.

Declan O'Scanlon

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth), who supported the bill, noted that it had no chance of being signed into law any time soon. Gov. Chris Christie has spoken out against it, and no bill becomes law without the governor’s signature. The bill still has to make it through the state Senate, which has been waiting for the Assembly to act first, Burzichelli said.

Lawmakers debated whether giving terminally ill people the legal means to end their lives would show them more or less compassion, and whether the right to die promotes or denies people their freedom to choose.

Jay Webber

“When one group of people in society — the majority — make it the law of the land that some minority have lives that are not worth living and are not as equal as their own, that is not the road to freedom, Mr. Speaker, that is the road to tyranny,” said Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris).

Robert Auth

Robert Auth

“The medical community overwhelmingly opposes this bill because physicians believe their role as trusted healers should be sancrosanct,” said Assemblyman Robert Auth, (R-Passaic). “If government is going to start legislating that some death is preferable, where will it end?”

The 41-to-31 vote provided a rare moment of suspense in the Legislature. Seldom are bills posted for a vote when the sponsor and the party leadership do not know the outcome. Assemblyman John Burzichelli, (D-Gloucester) who sponsored the bill, said before the vote majority support was “fragile” given the moral issues it raised. Two lawmakers who support the measure were not present because of other obligations.

But with Brittany Maynard’s Nov. 1 death still fresh in the public’s minds, Burzichelli said he was willing to post the bill for a vote and risk defeat.

Under the bill, (A-2270) patients suffering from a terminal disease seeking to end their lives would have to first verbally request a prescription from their attending physician, followed by a second request at least 15 days later and one request in writing signed by two witnesses. The patient’s physician would have to offer the patient a chance to rescind their request, and a consulting physician would then be called upon to certify the original diagnosis and reaffirm the patient is capable of making a decision.

The bill is written for people with a terminal illness, defined as an incurable, irreversible and medically confirmed disease that will end the person’s life within six months.

 

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DeCroce, Webber on Responsible Solutions to Transportation Funding Crisis

Source: NJ Spotlight -

To new Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox, the challenge is clear, and so is the solution: After years of “taking a Band-Aid approach to everything,” New Jersey’s transportation system is in crisis. The only way out is to raise taxes to replenish the soon-to-be-empty Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) and build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson.

BettyLou DeCroce

“If we did a 30 cents a gallon gas tax, they (the public) would tar and feather us, and throw us out of New Jersey,” Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce warned, even though that tax hike would still leave New Jersey’s gas tax — currently the second-lowest in the nation at 14.5 cents per gallon — below New York’s 50.6-cent-per-gallon tax. DeCroce said the state should consider a mixture of solutions, such as extending the state sales tax to gasoline, which would generate the equivalent of 24.5 cents per gallon based on an average price of $3.50 a gallon. She also suggested increasing the petroleum products gross-receipts tax, which is levied at the refinery or distributor level; imposing a tax on airport car rentals, as most other states do; and adding a tax on containers that come into Port Newark and Port Elizabeth.

“Crisis is opportunity. We are broke. We can let our infrastructure fall apart and become worse. Or we can put the ‘D’ and ‘R’ aside and pass a revenue enhancer, whatever that is,” Fox said in an impassioned plea to business and labor leaders to fight for a stable, long-term source of funding for highway, bridge and mass transit projects.

“This is not an easy vote to pass,” Fox warned the New Jersey SEED (Society for Environmental, Economic Development) business-labor coalition in Atlantic City Friday, referring to polls showing that most New Jerseyans oppose an increase in the gas tax. “There has to be a revenue enhancer. If it’s a gimmick, we’ve failed. We have to tell legislators we will be there with them. Anyone who thinks we’re going to get this done without a tax is just mouthing words.”

Fox said in an interview following the NJ SEED speech that ideally he would like to increase annual state transportation capital funding from the current $1.6 billion a year to $2 billion. That hike has been recommended by Forward New Jersey, a broad-based pro-transportation coalition headed by State Chamber of Commerce President Tom Bracken, but one that would presumably require a larger “revenue enhancer” at a time when Christie may be about to launch a bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Christie, who had previously ruled out a gas tax increase, said when he announced Fox’s nomination that “everything’s on the table.” When asked if that included a gas tax, he responded testily, “What part of ‘everything’s on the table’ don’t you understand?”

Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce (R-Morris), who also serves on the Assembly Transportation Committee, said there is a growing recognition among Republicans that a revenue increase will be needed to pay for transportation capital projects.

“If we did a 30 cents a gallon gas tax, they (the public) would tar and feather us, and throw us out of New Jersey,” DeCroce warned, even though that tax hike would still leave New Jersey’s gas tax — currently the second-lowest in the nation at 14.5 cents per gallon — below New York’s 50.6-cent-per-gallon tax.

DeCroce said the state should consider a mixture of solutions, such as extending the state sales tax to gasoline, which would generate the equivalent of 24.5 cents per gallon based on an average price of $3.50 a gallon. She also suggested increasing the petroleum products gross-receipts tax, which is levied at the refinery or distributor level; imposing a tax on airport car rentals, as most other states do; and adding a tax on containers that come into Port Newark and Port Elizabeth.

Even Assemblyman Jay Weber (R-Morris), a former state GOP chairman and leading conservative, acknowledged that an increase in New Jersey’s relatively low gas-tax increase was a possibility, although he suggested it should be accompanied by a corresponding cut in the state’s high estate and inheritance taxes.

Political fear of raising the gas taxes is not confined to Trenton.

U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), who serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, noted that “just as New Jersey hasn’t raised its gas tax, the federal government hasn’t raised its gas tax either.” And just as New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund is scheduled to run out of money for new projects early in the next budget year, Congress was forced to do a short-term extension when its Highway Trust Fund started running out of money in July.

Finding a funding solution that guarantees the continued flow of federal transportation aid to the states is critical for New Jersey, whose $1.6 billion state Transportation Trust Fund is matched on a dollar-for dollar basis with federal aid, LoBiondo and Fox both noted.

“Am I worried?” Fox said, when asked about the fiscal problems that would be created if Congress was unable to agree on a sufficiently robust federal transportation funding formula. “Of course, I’m worried.”

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Webber, DeCroce Named Outstanding Legislators by the NJ Society for Environmental Economic Development

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

BettyLou DeCroce

Jay Webber

Assembly Republicans Jay Webber and BettyLou DeCroce today were hailed as Outstanding Legislators by one of the state’s premier economic and environmental advocacy organizations. Webber and DeCroce were presented with the Arthur T. Young Award from the New Jersey Society for Environmental Economic Development (NJ SEED) during its 2014 Economic Summit in Atlantic City.

NJ SEED is dedicated to the creation of private sector jobs to bolster the economy and enhance the environment. Membership includes the business and labor communities.

“Economic growth and environmental protection are compatible policy goals that can and should be pursued together,” said Webber, R — Morris, Essex and Passaic. “NJ SEED recognizes that, and I appreciate its special recognition.”

“I am proud and honored to be acknowledged for promoting reasonable and responsible policies that provide private-sector jobs and economic growth,” said DeCroce, R — Morris, Essex and Passaic. “With the proper balance, we can augment our state’s environmental vulnerabilities and fuel a flourishing economy for New Jersey families.”

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Webber Bills Making Government More Efficient by Modernizing and Publicizing Rulemaking Process Sails through Assembly

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Two bills sponsored by Assemblyman Jay Webber that make government services more efficient and responsive to residents and businesses won unanimous approval in the General Assembly today.

Jay Webber

“We should always be challenging ourselves to make government more efficient and cost-effective. Taking advantage of today’s technologies better serves taxpayers and businesses,” said Webber, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic.

“Providing real-time access to agency rulemaking information through the Internet is a no-brainer – we live in a knowledge-based economy and, like it or not, government actions can have huge effects on private sector decision making. Government needs to do its best to keep up with the pace of the information age and share important rulemaking developments on the web.”

Assemblyman Webber’s two bills include:

A-1898, which saves money by requiring the Office of Legislative Services to provide certain notices and reports to legislators and legislative staff by electronic means only.

A-2581, which requires the Office of Administrative Law to maintain on its website, an up-to-date database that summarizes and identifies the number, nature, and status of all pending or proposed rule-making actions in the state.

The bills now head to the state Senate for consideration.

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Webber: Fixing Taxes and Transportation – Together

Source: Asbury Park Press (Op-Ed by Jay Webber) -

Jay Webber

New Jersey leaders are grappling with three major problems: New Jersey has the worst tax burden in the nation, our economy suffers from sluggish growth, and our state’s Transportation Trust Fund is out of money. There is a potential principled compromise that can help solve all of them.

Of the three problems, the Transportation Trust Fund has been getting the most attention lately, and for good reason — it’s broke. There is just no money in it to maintain and improve our vital infrastructure. Without finding a solution, we risk watching our roads and bridges grow unsafe and unusable and hinder movement of people and goods throughout the state. That, of course, will exacerbate our state’s slow economic growth.

Proposals to fix the trust fund have included a mix of cost cutting, reallocation of current spending, borrowing and increasing taxes. While I prefer some combination of the first three options if done smartly, more and more it sounds as if that last option, in the form of an increased gas tax, is a popular choice for many legislators on both sides of the aisle.

But increasing the gas tax in isolation will only worsen New Jersey’s biggest problem — an already-too-high tax burden. So any gas-tax increase should only be accompanied by measures that will help alleviate, or at least not increase, the overall tax burden on New Jerseyans. To that end, we should insist that if any tax is raised to restore the trust fund, it be coupled with the elimination of a tax that is one of our state’s biggest obstacles to economic growth: the death tax. By any measure, New Jersey is the most extreme outlier on the death tax, with worst-in-the-nation status.

Some advocates try to justify raising a gas tax with the fact that New Jersey’s gas tax is one of the lowest in the nation. But let’s look at the logical flip-side: if a tax that is “too low” and should therefore be raised, then a tax that is undeniably too high therefore should be lowered — or eliminated.

New Jersey’s death tax is not a concern for the wealthy alone, as many misperceive. We are one of only two states with both an estate and inheritance tax. New Jersey’s estate-tax threshold of $675,000, combined with a tax rate as high as 16 percent, means that middle-class families with average-sized homes and small retirement savings are hit hard by the tax. It also means the tax impacts small businesses or family farms of virtually any size, discouraging investment and growth in our private sector job-creators.

Compounding the inequity is that government already has taxed the assets subject to the death tax when the money was earned. Because of our onerous estate and inheritance taxes, Forbes magazine lists New Jersey as a place “Not to Die” in 2014.

That’s a problem, and it’s one our sister states are trying hard not to duplicate. A recent study by Connecticut determined that states with no estate tax created twice as many jobs and saw their economies grow 50 percent more than states with estate taxes. That research prompted Connecticut and many states to reform their death taxes. New York just lowered its death tax, and several other states have eliminated theirs.

The good news is that New Jersey’s leaders finally are realizing that our confiscatory death tax is a big deal. A bipartisan coalition of legislators has shown its support for reforming New Jersey’s death tax, and Gov. Christie has pledged to sign a proposal to reform the death tax if the Legislature sends it to him.

Which brings us back to the Transportation Trust Fund. Given the recent public statements by bipartisan leaders on both the death tax and the trust fund, there is a very real opportunity to forge a consensus that can address all three of the problems outlined above. We can replenish the trust fund and achieve a net tax reduction for New Jersey. (Taxpayer savings from the elimination of the death tax would eclipse the gas-tax increases currently proposed.) Doing both, in turn, would help improve our economic competitiveness and stimulate job creation.

Jay Webber is a Republican assemblyman whose district includes municipalities in Essex, Morris and Passaic counties.

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