Tag: Jay Webber

Five Webber-Sponsored Bills Win Assembly Approval

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jay Webber

Five bills Assemblyman Jay Webber sponsors won approval in the Assembly today. Webber’s legislation covers topics such as improving transparency in the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), supporting veterans, and simplifying temporary registrations at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The Webber-sponsored bills include:

A-3293 – Allows military personnel and veterans to use their driver’s license or military identification card instead to gain reduced or free admission to certain beaches.

A-3551 – “Wounded Warrior Caregivers Relief Act” gives an income tax credit to the family caregivers of armed service members with physical disabilities.

A-3169 – Requires DEP to submit an annual financial report on the status of fund balances.

A-4220 – Establishes equal time frame for duration of temporary registration for automobiles purchased by residents living in New Jersey and out-of-state.

A-3612 – Allows corporate directors to approve actions by electronic communication.

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Webber, O’Scanlon caution EDA not to harm small business with tax incentives for large corporations [video]

Source: NJTV News [video] -

Some good overall economic news kicked off this Assembly budget hearing: revenues are trending up. The treasurer announced an unexpected $200 million windfall, which Gov. Chris Christie will add to this year’s public pension payment due in June. The bad news: that still leaves more than $1 billion due.

[During the hearing], several committee members questioned Economic Development Authority Chief Melissa Orsen about millions in tax credits lavished on large corporations like Subaru.

Jay Webber

“The focus of the administration’s job creation program has been these economic incentive programs — billions of dollars handed out to Fortune 500 companies. And it’s generally true that the Grow NJ program’s gonna favor large employers over small,” Assemblyman Jay Webber said.

“The EDA staff is accessible to large and small. It happens we’re seeing larger companies coming in and making this kind of investment to grow in New Jersey and to grow in these communities. That’s what’s happening, and it’s working,” Orsen said.

Orsen says the program is still new, so they’re still waiting for jobs to develop. But Webber wanted to know whether giving tax credits to one business might hurt its competitors.

“So the only thing accessible to competitors is, if they threaten to leave the state, they can get money, too? From the state?” Webber asked.

Declan O'Scanlon

“We’ve got to stay on top of it, to make sure that we are not overwhelmingly just giving these benefits to just large corporations to the detriment of smaller businesses that don’t have the ability to threaten to leave New Jersey,” said Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon.

The EDA said it will look for ways to help smaller businesses. Meanwhile, the state treasurer says he’ll be back with updated revenue figures in a couple of weeks.

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Webber comments on NJ incentive programs

Bergen Record -

Jay Webber

Assemblyman Jay Webber, R-Morris, said some of the state’s economic policies have helped big corporations to the exclusion of small businesses, rewarded companies for putting money into developments that they would have done anyway, and provided subsidies to companies that move into the state and then compete with existing companies that don’t have a subsidy.

Webber made his comments at a hearing in Trenton of the Assembly Budget Committee, during a session that included top executives of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which administers the state incentive programs.

He said the incentives “target growth to certain areas of the state,” adding that people in other areas where it is much more difficult to get incentives “don’t understand why their businesses aren’t worthy of some of these programs.”

“Maybe most important though is, I think, it is a distraction from making important economic progress in the state,” Webber said. “The focus of the administration’s job creation program has been these economic incentive programs, billions of dollars being handed out to Fortune 500 companies, and the real work of economic development, lowering taxes, making the state a more job creation friendly environment, has been ignored, or isn’t the focus of our efforts.”

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Webber Says Michigan Voters Have Sent a Message to New Jersey

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Jay Webber today called the overwhelming rejection of a gasoline tax increase by Michigan voters a reality check for New Jersey.

Jay Webber

“Yesterday, Michigan voters went to the ballot box and delivered the same message New Jersey taxpayers have been telling us: They will not stand for tax increases,” said Webber, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. “Michiganders overwhelming voted ‘No’ to a massive tax increase intended to ‘fix’ the state’s transportation trust fund. More than 80 percent of them rebuked their Legislature and told them to get to back to work and find cost-cuts to pay for roadwork.”

The lopsided vote in Michigan — where the road-funding ballot initiative failed 1,405,716 to 349,818 – came one day after Webber, a member of the Assembly Budget Committee, implored New Jersey Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox to focus on eliminating costly or wasteful practices as part of any fix to the State’s Transportation Trust Fund.

“We have a major problem – we absolutely need to fix and maintain New Jersey’s roads and bridges,” said Webber. “But the perception on Main Street is that the money for roads is not being spent wisely,” Webber said. “There is no excuse for a mile of road in New Jersey to cost twice as much, or even up to 10 times as much, as it does in other states. We need DOT’s expertise to determine why and where we are hemorrhaging money and how we can reduce costs so we can provide the safe, efficient, and productive system of highways our State needs and deserves.”

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Webber talks about who’s helped, hurt in shifting tax burdens

The Pew Charitable Trusts -

About a half-dozen states are considering cutting income taxes and simultaneously increasing sales or excise taxes — sparking debate on whether wealthier taxpayers will benefit disproportionately at the expense of those living on lower incomes.

The offsets often are proposed as a way to comply with state balanced-budget laws. Or, cuts in income taxes are proposed as part of political deals to balance raising gasoline or other excise taxes. But the effect is the same: The tax burden is being shifted at a time when there’s growing concern over income inequality.

Arguments in support of the shift, which is mostly playing out in Republican-dominated states, are that cutting income taxes for households and businesses will create jobs, and that putting money in the pockets of taxpayers of all incomes helps stimulate the economy. The counter argument is that sales and excise taxes are more regressive than income taxes because poorer families spend a higher percentage of their income on basic goods and services.

In New Jersey, some lawmakers have advocated a cut in the state’s estate and inheritance taxes to make way for an increase in the gasoline tax, which is the second lowest in the country at 14.5 cents a gallon (Alaska’s is the lowest).

Republican Gov. Chris Christie hasn’t made his preferences known, saying only that “everything is on the table” in the budget discussion. The legislature is considering raising petroleum taxes at the wholesale level, which would translate to an increase of about 25 cents a gallon.

The entire New Jersey House is up for re-election this fall, and many members are looking for cuts in other taxes to help shift part of the burden.

Jay Webber

Rep. Jay Webber, a Republican, said that any gasoline tax must be accompanied by cuts that will help alleviate, or at least not increase, the burden on all citizens. Webber has called for elimination of the “death tax,” a favorite political name for the estate tax. He has called the estate tax one of the “state’s biggest obstacles to economic growth.”

“I and a number of other Republicans are going to insist on a tax cut so the most over-taxed people in the state don’t have another tax on their backs,” he said.

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Webber Bill Updating Access Standards to UI Data Signed into Law

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation Assemblyman Jay Webber sponsors to protect the state’s unemployment insurance system was signed into law today by Gov. Christie. 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

“This common sense, anti-fraud legislation will eliminate costly errors and make taxpayers’ personal information more secure,” said Webber, R-Morris, Essex, and Passaic, who sits on the Assembly Labor Committee. “The department now 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.”

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Webber: New Jersey Needs Policies that Cut Taxes, Keep Families Together

Assembly Republican Press Release -

On the deadline day for filing federal and state tax returns, Assembly Republican Jay Webber called the burden on New Jersey taxpayers unsustainable. Webber said immediate reform is necessary to make the state competitive again.

Jay Webber

“New Jersey taxpayers have to work every day from New Years to May 13 – longer than any other state – just to pay our state’s outrageous tax burden,” said Webber. “Is it any wonder that people and businesses are leaving New Jersey? Young and educated college graduates can’t afford to settle here. Retirees who have paid taxes all their lives can’t afford to stay here. We must do better.”

The Tax Foundation, an independent tax policy research organization, determined that on average, Americans will have to work 114 days before Tax Freedom Day on April 24. In state-by-state comparison, New Jersey and Connecticut won’t hit “Tax Freedom” until 19 days later – last in the nation.

“New Jerseyans are sick and tired of feeling like they have to move to North Carolina or Florida to achieve their dreams. We need to advocate for policies that let families stay together and empower people to live here, enjoy a career, raise a family, start a business, or retire with dignity,” Webber said.

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Asbury Park Press Editorial: Casagrande, Handlin and Webber: Rx needed for doctor shortage

Caroline Casagrande

Amy Handlin

Jay Webber

Asbury Park Press Editorial -

There may well come a day in New Jersey when the cry of “Is there a doctor in the house?” is met with stony silence. There has been a growing shortage of primary care physicians in the state, which medical school researchers say has reached crisis proportions in the last five years.

Some physicians leave the Garden State for the same reasons that many people leave: high taxes and a high cost of living. Additionally, New Jersey does not exactly roll out the welcome mat for those who practice the healing arts.

A WalletHub survey released last week ranked New Jersey as the second-worst state in the nation for doctors, behind only Rhode Island. The ranking was based on metrics that included average salary, cost of liability insurance and malpractice award payouts per capita.

It should come as little surprise, then, that New Jersey has a shortage of primary care physicians in private practice, a shortage projected to be around 2,500 physicians in the Garden State by 2020, according to national standards based on the number of physicians per 100,000 residents.

Contributing to the problem is the fact the state isn’t taking the steps necessary to retain graduates interested in primary care medicine from New Jersey’s medical schools. A newly released 2014 survey of New Jersey medical residents revealed the depth of the problem. Only 5 percent of New Jersey’s medical school graduates plan to be primary care physicians in private practice.

Further, the percentage of physicians who practice here after graduating from medical school in New Jersey is 38 percent, comparable to other states but not sufficient to meet our growing need.

Among the actions required to address the projected shortage are higher Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates for physicians, tax deductions or student loan debt forgiveness programs and incentives for students at New Jersey medical schools, particularly those from the Garden State, to practice in New Jersey upon graduation.

Last month, Assemblywomen Caroline Casagrande and Amy Handlin, both R-Monmouth, and Assemblyman Jay Weber, R-Morris, introduced a bill that would provide a gross income tax deduction totaling $300,000 over five taxable years for primary care physicians who practice in New Jersey. That would not only encourage primary care physicians to continue to practice in New Jersey but provide an incentive for new medical school graduates and doctors from out of state to relocate here.

The bill has been referred to the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee, whose chairman, Herb Conaway, is a physician. He should hold hearings and get it out of committee so that the Assembly can debate it. Briggs argues that a tax deduction program could actually help the state’s bottom line. If a doctor sets up shop, his office hires people who spend money and pay taxes.

No single bill is going to solve a systemic problem nationally. But New Jersey lawmakers can’t stand idly by while the doctor shortage worsens. If they do, if you think it takes a long time to get a doctor’s appointment now, it could get steadily worse in the years ahead.

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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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