Tag: Jon Bramnick

Bramnick: The Future of NJ Politics should not be Politicians Investigating Politicians

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, Somerset and Morris, said today that voices around the country agree with Republican concerns that the bipartisan committee led by Assemblyman Wisniewski is partisan.

Following are observers who agree that Chairman Wisniewski’s committee is not bipartisan:

Chuck Todd (NBC News) – “Democrats made a mistake with the overly partisan makeup of the committee. It should be 50-50 so it has political credibility.” (MSNBC Morning Joe – Jan. 13, 2014)

Stuart Rothenberg – “The Christie investigation – from inquiry to lynching.” (Roll Call – Jan. 15, 2014)

David Gergen – “As the public concludes this is just about politics, this is not about the truth, it’s a way to smear Christie and it could backlash.” (CNN – Anderson Cooper –
Jan. 16, 2014)

Scott Conroy – “New Jersey Democratic leaders have been eager to offer worst case scenarios for how investigations into this episode might play out for Chris Christie.” (Real Clear Politics)

“There has been no evidence that Chris Christie had any involvement in the closing of lanes at the bridge, said Bramnick. “Everyone would like to know all of the facts as to why the lanes were closed. None of us want the future of New Jersey politics to be ‘politicians investigating politicians.’ If partisan investigations dominate the New Jersey Legislature, the cycle of distrust will never end.”

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Bramnick and Handlin discuss GOP participation on SCI

Source: Bergen Record -

The New Jersey legislative committee investigating traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee has become embroiled in another round of accusations of partisanship and some Republican leaders and conservative members of the panel intend to hold a conference call today to voice complaints that Democrats have excluded them.

One Republican, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, R-Monmouth, said Wednesday, “We want to be full partners.”

She complained that the committee’s lawyer, Reid Schar, has declined to supply detailed bills directly to each committee member. Quoting George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,”

Handlin said that among members of the committee, “everyone is equal, but some people are more equal than others.”

Some press accounts hinted that Republicans are thinking of resigning from the committee. But Handlin said she did not support that idea.

Amy Handlin

“The way I see it is not that we the minority members want off the committee,” she said, “what we want is to be fully on the committee.”

The joint investigative committee is in the national spotlight as each new detail of the inquiry is reported across the country. This focus can magnify conflicts among members. The committee, whose co-leaders are both Democrats, has been hit by accusations of overzealousness for pursuing information from Governor Christie’s Republican administration while keeping Republican panel members on the sidelines.

On Wednesday, a letter from Schar’s office to Republican members of the investigative committee said the co-leaders, Assemblyman John Wisniewski of Middlesex and state Sen. Loretta Weinberg of Teaneck, are the only members who have direct access to detailed invoices of legal bills. The invoices go to specific officials in the Senate and Assembly who inspect the documents and can grant access to others.

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, R-Union, said that at this point Christie is being unduly targeted.

Jon Bramnick

“The reason I’m frustrated, I think Chris Christie never gets the benefits of the doubt nor any positive reviews,” said Bramnick, who is the Republican minority leader. “There is not a shred of evidence that this governor knew anything about the closing of those lanes, though he has been saddled with that.”

“We want to have seats at the table,” Handlin said. “We don’t want to be treated as seats.”

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Bramnick discusses possibility Republicans on NJ bridge scandal panel might withdraw bipartisan support

Source: Star Ledger -

Republicans on the state legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closings might withdraw their support of the inquiry because they contend they have been kept out of the loop by their Democratic counterparts.

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick (R-Union) said his members will hold a conference call in the next couple days to have a “very serious discussion” about their future on the committee and what must happen in order for Democrats to continue to call it a bipartisan effort.

Jon Bramnick

“If you want a bipartisan investigation, then you need to communicate with members of the committee,” Bramnick said. “All of the Republican members have indicated to me over and over again that chairman (John) Wisniewski does not do that.”

He said his members wanted to be involved in discussions about the panel’s strategy, actions and public statements before they become public. Right now, he said, Republicans feel as though they are consulted only after the decisions have been made.

“My concern is and the concern of my members is, we don’t want the public thinking this is a bipartisan committee when in reality it’s John Wisniewski’s committee,” Bramnick said.

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On tax deadline day, Bramnick calls for cuts in state levies

Source: Newsworks (WBGO) -

As procrastinators sent in their federal and state income tax returns Tuesday, a New Jersey lawmaker called for enactment of some tax cuts.

One of the bills sponsored by Republican lawmakers would phase out the state’s inheritance tax over a five-year period — even though that might result in a drop in state revenue.

Jon Bramnick

“So people don’t leave out state and move to Florida where they don’t have an inheritance tax,” said Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick. “The numbers show that it’s not lot of money. I can’t give you the exact numbers, but I can tell you that it’s not that burdensome, and I think the governor would support it.”

Other measures proposed by the Republicans would cut the state sales tax from 7 percent to 6 percent and would provide a property tax credit of up to $1,000.

“It is part of a message to business and to consumers that New Jersey is the place to shop, New Jersey is the place to live, and New Jersey is the place to open your business,” he said.

The legislation would make New Jersey more competitive with other states, said Bramnick, R-Union. But he acknowledged it will be difficult to convince the Democratic majority in the legislature to pass those bills.

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Bramnick: Every Day is Tax Day

Source: NJ 101.5 -

Tuesday was Tax Day, the deadline for filing income tax returns, but the top Republican in the state Assembly said every day is Tax Day in the high tax environment of New Jersey. He urged the legislature to get to work on a trio of tax-cutting bills.

Jon Bramnick

“It is time now for the state legislature to begin the process to roll back high taxes,” said Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield). “We need to give back money to property taxpayers through a bill we call the New Jersey Direct Property Tax Relief Plan.”

The property tax relief bill would offer up to a $1,000 deduction on property tax bills depending on a person’s income. Homeowners with incomes up to $400,000 would be eligible. The measure also includes higher credits for renters.

“We also need to reduce the sales and use tax from 7 to 6 percent,” Bramnick said. “We need to send a new message so April 15 can become a holiday, as opposed to a painful day.”

Another bill supported and co-sponsored by Bramnick would phase out the New Jersey Estate Tax over five years. Under the legislation, the amount of estate tax calculated as due under the existing structure will be reduced by 20 percent each year until it no longer exists. Bramnick knows that the argument against cutting taxes is that the state will lose revenue.

“The only way to increase revenues is to bring businesses and jobs to the state of New Jersey,” Bramnick said.

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Bramnick: Best way to observe April 15 is to lower taxes

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Today is the final day for filing federal and state income taxes. Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick said the deadline is a reminder that reducing the tax burden should be the highest priority for legislators.

Jon Bramnick

“It is no secret that New Jersey’s income tax structure is among the highest in the country,” said Bramnick, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “The Legislature must act quickly to reduce this burden. New Jersey workers already pay more than their fair share. The best way to create jobs and keep people in New Jersey is to lower taxes and let taxpayers keep more of their own hard-earned money.”

Bills sponsored by Assembly Republicans that would reduce the tax burden shouldered by New Jerseyans include the following:

• New Jersey Direct Property Tax Relief Plan (A-157 – Fiocchi/Handlin/CJ Brown/Rumana)

• Phase out New Jersey’s Estate Tax over a five year period (A-329 – Bramnick/McHose/Schepisi)

• Decrease the sales and use tax rate from 7% to 6% (A-137 – McHose/Space)

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Bramnick: Investigative committee was created to establish policy

Source: NewsWorks -

A day after New Jersey judge decided not to force two key witnesses to turn over subpoenaed documents, the next moves by legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal are uncertain.

“To spend more money on politics versus policy doesn’t make any sense to me.” – Jon Bramnick

Democrat John Wisniewski, the co-chairman of the committee, said Thursday he wants to continue the investigation into the bridge lane closures that caused four days of traffic gridlock on the world’s busiest bridge.

The closings were ordered from within the Christie administration as an apparent political payback, and Wisniewski said he wants to keep looking for ways to prevent any future abuse of government power.

Jon Bramnick

But Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick questioned whether it’s worth the expense to continue calling witnesses to testify before the committee while the U.S. Attorney is conducting his own investigation.

Lawmakers should focus now on passing legislation to reform the Port Authority, which oversees the bridge operations, said Bramnick, R-Union.

“At some point in the future, when the other investigations are completed if there’s more work to do, do it,” he said. “But at this point in time, to spend more money on politics versus policy doesn’t make any sense to me.”

There seems to be a push to continue to investigate the Christie administration, but he says that’s a job for prosecutors, Bramnick said, adding that the investigative committee was created to establish policy, and that’s what it should do.

Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson Wednesday ruled that Bridget Ann Kelly and Bill Stepien, both formerly part of Gov. Chris Christie’s inner circle, did not have to turn over documents they said would jeopardize their Fifth Amendment rights.

An internal review of the scandal commissioned by Christie exonerated the governor of any part in ordering the lanes closed in September.

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Bramnick Says Its Time for SCI to Turn Over Documents to US Attorney

Source: Newsworks -

Gov. Chris Christie took a major political and legal gamble with his decision to ask Randy Mastro and a team of Gibbon Dunn lawyers to conduct an internal inquiry into the Bridgegate and Hoboken allegations in the face of a pair of ongoing probes by a federal grand jury and a legislative committee armed with subpoena power.

Politically, there is no question that the embattled Christie needed the controversial Mastro report exonerating him and his top aides of any wrongdoing in Bridgegate and attacking Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s veracity. The release of the report revived his 2016 presidential hopes, protected his chairmanship of the Republican Governors Association, reinvigorated his governorship, and rallied Republican legislators.

But permitting Mastro’s lawyers to interview Christie and his top aides was a double-edged sword.

The Christie administration’s ability to protect those interview tapes and/or transcripts from public scrutiny will be put to the test tomorrow, when the SCI meets to vote on whether to issue a subpoena to the governor’s office for release of the 70 interviews with Christie, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, and other administration and campaign officials that the Gibbon Dunn team of lawyers conducted.

Holly Schepisi

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union) and Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (D-Bergen), a member of the investigative committee, both called for the committee to turn over its documents to the U.S. Attorney and the federal grand jury, issue no more subpoenas, and turn its attention to the passage of legislation reforming the Port Authority — the agency that actually shut down the GWB lanes at the direction of David Wildstein, Christie’s third-ranking appointee at the authority.

Jon Bramnick

“It’s time for us to turn the investigation over to law enforcement, and focus on passing legislation to make sure this never happens again,” Bramnick said, noting that Schepisi and the other three Assembly members of the Select Committee on Investigation have already introduced legislation to address ethical practices at the Port Authority.

If the legislative committee is able to subpoena the Mastro interviews — either because Christie agrees to surrender them voluntarily or because he loses a court battle to block their release — it would give the investigative panel additional reason to summon top Christie administration officials, and perhaps the governor himself, to come in to answer questions raised by their interviews with the Mastro committee.

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Bramnick-Burzichelli will Join Forces on Native Habitat Legislation

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Bill establishes “Native Habitat Certification Program”

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick will introduce legislation that encourages homeowners to expand and protect the native habitats of birds, plants and other wildlife. Bramnick is joined by Assembly Appropriations Chairman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, as a sponsor of the legislation.

Under Bramnick’s bill, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will adopt regulations that establish standards that must be met in order for a property to be certified as a Native Habitat. Once a property is certified, the owner is entitled to an affirmative defense against any liability for violating a municipal ordinance.

Jon Bramnick

“Homeowners should be encouraged to take an active role in protecting our environment,” said Bramnick, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “A property that complies with the standards established by the DEP will help plants and wildlife return to their native habitat. This bill is good for New Jersey as we are all responsible for conserving and protecting our natural resources.”

The DEP would authorize non-profit conservation groups or other organizations that have the necessary qualifications and expertise to inspect a property and determine if the land meets the requirements for certification as a native habitat.

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Bramnick roasts former Gov. Byrne on his 90th birthday (video)

Jon Bramnick

Source: NJ.com -

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick was one of the celebrity speakers at the roast for former Governor Brendan Byrne.




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