Tag: Jay Webber

Webber bill promotes equitable treatment for home-schooled students [video]

Source: NJTV News [video] -

Adam Cunard, age 14, has been playing football in a local youth league for a decade. Now that he’s a ninth grader, the league stops and he’d like to play for Seneca High School’s freshman team.

But Adam and his younger brother are home-schooled, and the Lenape Regional High School District won’t allow home-schoolers to participate in extracurricular activities.

Adam’s mother Marni says that’s not fair.

“It’s not just about football, and it’s not just about my sons. It’s about opening up all the opportunities that available in the local public school districts to all home-schoolers,” she said.

Twenty-four states have laws that allow home-schoolers to participate in outside activities like football. New Jersey is one of six states whose laws leave that up to the local district.

Adam addressed the Lenape school board last month and pleaded with board members to relax their policy and let him play.

The board declined.

Adam told the school board that night in October he felt like he was being ex-communicated from football. “I was good enough to play for our community team for ten years,” he said. “Why am I not good enough now?”

Jay Webber

Republican Assemblyman Jay Webber is aware of Adam’s story and has had a bill in for four years that would address it.

“I think this is an issue that calls for uniformity. You’ve got some schools playing with home-schoolers or independent school students and some schools who bar home-schoolers, and it doesn’t seem fair to the players on either side that some kids would be left out. Both out of fairness to the families who choose different routes to educate their kids and a sense of fairness to everybody a uniform policy seems to make sense,” said Webber.

The Lenape Regional School District is strict about its policy.

It says it’s “not authorized to review and approve the curriculum or program of students educated anywhere but at its schools” and that even enrolled students are not guaranteed a place on a team.

The federal Department of Education says 3.4 percent of American students are home-schooled.

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Panel clears Webber bill exposing impact of unfunded mandates on taxpayers

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Jay Webber to track the financial burden of unfunded state and federal mandates on counties and towns was released today by the Appropriations Committee. The bill (A1034) requires the Department of Community Affairs to compile a list, updated annually, of all unfunded mandates on local and county governments, including the estimated cost.

Jay Webber

“Taxpayers deserve to know the costs of programs and regulations that are forced upon municipalities but paid for through local property taxes,” said Webber (R—Morris). “This measure increases transparency on these expenses that municipal and county governments cannot control.”

The National Conference of State Legislatures reported that Congress shifted at least $131 billion in costs to states between 2004 and 2008. A study by the Congressional Budget Office in 2014 reported that of the 539 bills analyzed, 47 contained intergovernmental mandates.

“Too often, federal and state government passes the buck to local government, directing the implementation of costly laws or policies without consideration of how the directive will be funded,” Webber said. “The cost of these mandates lands directly on the shoulders of property taxpayers who already struggle under the highest tax bills in the country.”

In March, Webber’s bill was unanimously supported by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee.

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Panel clears Webber and O’Scanlon bill increasing transparency of asset seizures by police departments

Assembly Republican Press Release -

The Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee advanced legislation today sponsored by Assemblymen Jay Webber and Declan O’Scanlon that increases transparency for seized assets connected with criminal activity. Nationally, law enforcement agencies have been criticized for relying on forfeiture funds to bolster their budgets.

Jay Webber

“The best way to gain the public’s confidence is to open the books,” said Webber (R-Morris). “Homes, cars, money, and other property worth millions of dollars are seized every year from the war on drugs and from crimes like money laundering and racketeering. If property is used in a crime, law enforcement should be able to seize it. But for everyone’s sake – law enforcement, the public, and criminal suspects – the process of forfeiture should be transparent and accountable.”

State agencies are not statutorily required to track or report forfeitures, however, the official policy of the Division of Criminal Justice is that county district attorneys and local police departments report all forfeitures to the attorney general on a quarterly basis. The Webber-O’Scanlon bill (A2771) requires the attorney general annually report to the Legislature how those assets are collected and used

Declan O'Scanlon

“For anyone trying to study it, one of the most aggravating aspects of civil asset forfeiture is just how little information is public about the amount of property police departments seize, who they seize it from, and where all that revenue goes,” said O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth). “Accountability is only possible with accurate information from the prosecutors who are confiscating and disposing of assets in their pursuit of criminals.”

State law prohibits police departments from paying salaries and operational expenses using forfeiture money or considering it when drafting budgets. But they can use forfeiture funds to make equipment upgrades, provide additional training for their officers or pay for community programs.

County prosecutors across the state collected $72 million in forfeiture proceeds from 2009 to 2013, including more than $57 million in cash and $9 million for vehicles, according to a 2015 report by the Institute for Justice. That total did not include forfeitures by municipalities and the state.

The attorney general’s office used $2.5 million from forfeiture to fund body cameras for local police departments in 2015, and in the past has used such funds to pay for gun buyback programs in cities around the state.

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Assembly Budget Committee approves Webber legislation bringing transparency to state finances

Assembly Republican Press Release -

The state’s budget needs to be more transparent. That was the message sent by the Assembly Budget Committee today as it approved a pair of bills sponsored by Assemblyman Jay Webber providing taxpayers and legislators with more details about state finances.

Jay Webber

“Amid all the dark budget news, taxpayers deserve the ability to examine how the state is spending their money,” said Webber (R-Morris). “Constituents tell me all the time that they want to know what happens after they send their money to Trenton.”

Webber’s Transparency in Government Act (A1552) requires a user-friendly, online tool that tracks tax collections, government spending, employee compensation, and state debt so taxpayers can see first-hand how their money is spent.

The bill originated in 2006 in response to the McGreevey administration awarding homeland security and municipal aid grants largely on a political basis with little to no public representation.

On his first day in office, Gov. Chris Christie issued an executive order that later established the site www.YourMoney.nj.gov, which is managed by the Treasury Department.

“Although the Christie administration has taken steps online toward greater transparency, the public deserves more comprehensive data that will remain accessible regardless of who is governor,” explained Webber. “Passing this bi-partisan legislation will make that a permanent part of state government.”

The second bill (A2225) requires that the governor’s annual budget message to the Legislature identify any of the governor’s recommendations for new or additional sources of revenue that may each raise $1 million, and an estimate of funds anticipated to be available for appropriation during the fiscal year. If a governor is looking to take more of the taxpayers money, he or she is going to have to be upfront about it.

“These tools will enable the public – and even legislators – to examine how and when government spends taxpayer money,” said Webber. “It will also mean that public officials will increasingly know that their spending and fiscal decisions are open to public scrutiny.”

“These reforms will shine a light on wasteful spending and the crushing burden of state debt,” concluded Webber. “The next and more important step, however, is actually to stop over taxing and overspending in the first place, and I urge the Legislature to join me going forward in combating those abuses of the taxpayer.”

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After 23-cent hike approval, Democrats push for gas tax write-offs

Source: Politico New Jersey -

Residents could write off the gas tax under a bill proposed on Friday, the same day that lawmakers passed a controversial 23-cent hike on fuel as part of a broader package to finance the state’s infrastructure fund.

Jay Webber

 

“The time to care about motorists and tax payers was on Friday when we voted for a 160 percent increase on the gas tax. It’s like talking about how to make the root canal you performed a little bit nicer because you can give us a small shot of Novocain.” – Assemblyman Jay Webber

 

The bill (A4247) would allow residents with incomes under $100,000 – including married couples filing jointly – to deduct the taxes paid on motor fuel. The maximum deduction would be $500 for the current year and $1,000 for each following year.

This is not the first time that lawmakers have discussed a possible write-off for residents as part of the compromise to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund. Sen. Steve Oroho, one of the prime sponsors of the TTF legislation, spoke of a similar idea back in June, but the provision was never written into the final legislation.

But such a write-off would provide little benefit to most commuters in the Garden State. For example, a single person who paid $500 in taxes on gasoline and earned the maximum $100,000 salary would save about $32 on their income taxes, unless the write-off pushed them into a lower tax bracket. Married couples who file jointly would save even less.

Most New Jersey drivers won’t even come close to spending $500 on the gas tax in a single year. A driver with a car that averages 25 miles per gallon would need to drive more than 33,000 miles before paying $500 in gas tax. Drivers in New Jersey drove, on a per capita basis, 8,300 miles in 2011, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration.

Estimates from the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services also show how small a benefit a write-off like that would offer: With the deduction capped at $500 in the first year, the state would lose between $15 million and $24 million in revenue. [Bill sponsor Troy] Singleton said the revenue loss could increase to $30 to $48 million in the subsequent years.
The 23-cent increase in the gas tax, however, will cost New Jersey drivers a combined $1.1 billion per year — not counting additional tax increases on other fuels.

Assemblyman Jay Webber, a Republican who voted against the hike, said he appreciates the sentiment of the legislation but that it is too little, too late.

“The time to care about motorists and tax payers was on Friday when we voted for a 160 percent increase on the gas tax,” Webber said. “It’s like talking about how to make the root canal you performed a little bit nicer because you can give us a small shot of Novocain.”

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Webber: Gas tax scheme no ‘deal’ for NJ taxpayers

Source: PolitickerNJ -

Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26) was among the 22 nay votes on the gas tax hike for sales tax reduction swap vote Monday night. Today, he offered his full explanation for why he believes the assembly and Governor Chris Christie erred.

Jay Webber

“Trenton’s backrooms are pushing another Wimpy ‘deal,’ gladly giving us tax relief on a proverbial Tuesday in the future for a huge gas tax hike today,” Webber said. “The gas tax hike passed Tuesday would impose a front-loaded, immediate, and permanent 160 percent gas tax increase on New Jersey’s overtaxed residents in exchange for a phased-in one penny sales tax reduction that stands on shaky ground.

“There’s a net $850 million tax increase for this year and a guaranteed $4.8 billion more in tax hikes following close behind,” the assemblyman added. “The so-called ‘deal’ doesn’t offer taxpayers their money back on this tax increase until five years from now, if it ever comes back at all. We know from experience the history of Wimpy tax ‘deals’ in New Jersey with tax increases today for promises of later relief that never arrives.”

Webber noted that for years New Jersey has allowed the increase of the income tax and sales tax multiple times on the promise of providing property tax relief that never comes.

“Just weeks ago, Democrats in the Legislature signaled that they had no intention of following through with the tax cuts they were dangling as part of their gas tax bait-and-switch,” he said. “What makes us think they’ll change their tune after the Christie administration is over, and the Democrats have their tax increase safely in hand?

“The Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) challenge in New Jersey is real and needs to be addressed,” the assemblyman added. “But no ‘fix’ for the TTF should exacerbate our state’s biggest problem: New Jersey’s nation-leading tax burden. There is time to craft an alternative proposal that protects our taxpayers, finds cost-savings and efficiencies for the nation’s most expensive roads, and allows adequate funding for the TTF. I urge Governor Christie and my fellow legislators to scrap this raw deal for taxpayers and get to work on solutions New Jerseyans deserve and can afford.”

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Ciattarelli, Webber: Gas tax will hurt over-burden New Jersey taxpayers

Source: Excerpt from Tap Into Somerville -

A showdown is expected Thursday when the state Senate opens debate on a contentious plan to increase the state’s gasoline tax by 23 cents a gallon.

The estimated $2 billion raised annually by the gas tax would be used to replenish the state’s battered Transportation Trust Fund over the next 10 years.

The state Assembly voted 53-22 to approve the gasoline tax plan early Tuesday morning following intense give-and-take negotiations between Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) and Gov. Chris Christie. The governor agreed to support the increase in return for a decrease in the state sales tax from 7 to 6 percent, phased in over three years.

Somerset County Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, (R-16th) voted against both bills.

Jack Ciattarelli

“We’re decreasing a tax that affects all New Jerseyans to justify increasing a tax that affects all New Jerseyans,” Ciattarelli said. “The trade-off seems like a shell game. Factor in our structural budget deficits, I voted ‘no.’ Fiscally speaking, I fear we’re only digging a deeper and deeper hole, the sides of which could soon cave in,” he added.

“Tonight, all the Trenton insiders did was pave New Jersey’s road to higher taxes,” said Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris). “This State Street ‘deal’ is an instant $850 million tax hike on overtaxed Main Street New Jerseyans, with as much as $4.8 billion more in tax hikes coming in the next few years. And it doesn’t offer taxpayers their money back until five years from now, if it ever comes back at all.

Jay Webber

“We have a serious problem and have to fix the Transportation Trust Fund. But New Jersey’s biggest problem is our crushing tax burden, and any ‘deal’ like this one, that makes the tax burden worse, is just a raw deal for New Jersey,” Webber added.

New Jersey’s gasoline tax is 14.5 cents per gallon, second only to Alaska as the lowest in the country. The 23-cent increase, if it were to be approved, would mean a 63 percent increase in the state’s gasoline tax to 37.5 cents per gallon, pushing New Jersey to number seven on the list of states with the most expensive gasoline tax. The last gasoline tax increase in New Jersey came in 1989.

The state’s beleaguered Transportation Trust Fund, burdened by debt payment from years of borrowing, will run out of money this summer without an infusion of billions. The TTF pays for bridge, tunnel and road repair projects throughout the state.

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Committee advances Dancer and Webber bill preventing benefit payments to dead recipients

Assembly Republican Press Release -

The Assembly State and Local Government Committee today advanced a bill sponsored by Assemblymen Ron Dancer and Jay Webber that combats fraud in state and federal public benefit programs.

Under the bill (A3448), state entities that administer benefit programs are required to verify a recipient’s personal information and cross-check it with death records to prevent payment to deceased recipients.

Ron Dancer

“There are people who legitimately need help from programs like Medicaid, SNAP, and Work First New Jersey,” said Dancer (R—Ocean). “However, these vital safety nets are tempting targets for people who want to scam the system and make off with money that could help deserving families. The goal of this legislation is to close loopholes that have been used to steal money.”

An audit of the state’s supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) in 2014 found 37 people receiving food benefits after their death, and 26 of them had received more than $39,000 in public money. The auditor’s report advised government agencies to compare the names of SNAP and welfare beneficiaries with the Social Security Administration’s death index to prevent this from happening in the future.

Jay Webber

“Former Governor Byrne likes to joke that when he dies, he wants to be buried in Hudson County so he can stay active in politics. But this is no joke — every public dollar paid to a dead person is a dollar unavailable for struggling New Jersey families,” said Webber (R—Morris). “This problem can get out of hand in a hurry. Almost 3,000 deceased benefit recipients in Illinois cost that state more than $12 million from Medicaid in 2013. We need to use common sense and a little technology to prevent this fraud, protect taxpayers, and ensure the assistance goes where it is intended.“

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Webber Bill Creates Exemption for Prisoners of War and Spouses

Assembly Republican Press Release -

A bill exempting prisoners of war and their spouses from motor vehicle commission fees was advanced today. The legislation (A3546), sponsored by Assemblyman Jay Webber, passed unanimously in the Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

The bill also expands usage of P.O.W. license plates to more than one car registration per person. New York already provides the exemption for prisoners of war and their spouses.

Jay Webber

“I believe strongly that our veterans, especially prisoners of war, deserve the upmost respect for their service,” said Webber (R-Morris). “There is no reason a P.O.W. or their spouse should have to pay to be proud of how they fought for our country.”

Only one third of more than 142,000 Americans captured and interned as POWs since World War I are still living, according to Military.com. More than 90 percent were captured and interned during World War II. In 2013, there were 424 New Jersey POWs registered with the American Ex-Prisoners of War.

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Webber bill extending tax checkoff program to benefit autism programs clears Assembly

Assembly Republican Press Release -

The General Assembly today passed legislation by Assemblyman Jay Webber to help taxpayers contribute to autism programs on their state income tax returns.

Jay Webber

“We’re seeing a lot more children diagnosed with autism, and New Jerseyans are looking for a way to help them,” said Webber (R—Morris). “This legislation will help us raise funds to expand programs that help families and extend our reach to the people who need it most.”

The bill (A3267) establishes an “autism programs fund” in the Department of the Treasury, into which taxpayers may deposit a portion of their tax refunds as donations. It requires the Legislature to appropriate all the funds to the Department of Health for distribution to autism programs throughout the state.

“It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s voluntary,” Webber continued. “Check-off programs have generated millions of dollars to support meaningful services without adding taxes or fees. I hope taxpayers keep in mind the need to help families dealing with autism when filing their state income tax return.”

One in 41 children is diagnosed with autism in New Jersey – the state has the highest rate in the nation, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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