Tag: Jon Bramnick

Politicians scrutinize the N.J. media at Bramnick’s Kean University event

Source: The Star-Ledger -

Several New Jersey politicians who have long been scrutinized by the media turned the tables on Tuesday.

And they didn’t always have nice things to say.

“My neighbors know the size of Kim Kardashian’s butt, but they don’t have a clue as to how real the budget crisis is in the state of New Jersey and what it may do to them,” said Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan. “I assure you one has more impact on your life overall than the other.”

Cryan was part of a panel assembled by Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union) at Kean University. Also participating were former Govs. James E. McGreevey and Donald DiFrancesco, NJTV chief political correspondent Michael Aron, TAPInto.net publisher and CEO Michael Shapiro, conservative blogger Art Gallagher and PolitickerNJ.com reporter Chase Brush. The topic: changes in the media, and how politicians are dealing with them.

Jon Bramnick

Bramnick said the media are too fast to tarnish politicians.

“There were some allegations against Senator Menendez. Within a day, his face was on the front page of The Star-Ledger,” he said of the senator, who was indicted this month on 14 federal corruption counts. “When do you give the elected official the benefit of the doubt? When do you put the story out there? If it’s just a allegation, how much attention does it get?”

Bramnick suggested that coverage of politicians has made many community leaders think twice about running for office.

“I truly believe there’s a chilling effect in bringing some of our best and brightest,” he said.

McGreevey, Cryan and DiFrancesco have all had political and personal scandals that were heavily covered. But the three differed on how much the media’s coverage of politicians has changed.

“I haven’t seen much change. The only thing that’s changed is the social media,” said DiFrancesco.

The biggest change, DiFrancesco said, is that politicians’ own use of social media has allowed them to rely less on the bigger, traditional outlets.

“From my perspective, having been in the minority for 15 years in the legislature, you would kill to get your picture in The Star-Ledger or Bergen Record, what have you. You tried all kinds of ways… But now I think social media is very good for politicians,” he said.

McGreevey said he didn’t think it media coverage has had a chilling effect on politicians because everyone gets a high level scrutiny.

“Perhaps we’ve ironically come to a point where the media is so rapacious and exhaustive that no person can survive that level of scrutiny. So in a sense, all sinners are welcome,” he said.

Aron, who has covered New Jersey politics for decades, said that the way reporters approach stories is “fundamentally the same,” but with a lot more emphasis on speed.

“We’re all fascinated by a fall from grace. That was true 30 years ago, and that’s still true in the era of Bob Menendez and Bridgegate.”

Shapiro — whose company covers local news — says his writers often exercise restraint. He said the outlet was criticized for running only a brief about a local mayor’s arrest for DWI in the police blotter.

“If that elected official was trying to use his office to get out of the ticket, that to me is newsworthy and a story. But we put it in the news blotter, just like any resident who’s arrested for DWI,” he said.

Although the discussion was on the new media, much of the criticism was focused on media coverage from more than a decade ago.

Cryan — a longtime former Assemblyman who served as state Democratic chairman — took aim at online forums on NJ.com from years ago, saying anonymous people leveled false accusations against him that he had trouble getting removed. And he slammed The Star-Ledger for running a photo of then-Essex County Executive Jim Treffinger during his 2002 arrest, showing him in shackles after being arrested on corruption charges. Cryan said reporters worked “off an illegal leak” from the U.S. Attorney’s Office under Chris Christie.

Treffinger pleaded guilty to corruption in 2003.

A member of the audience, Lesly Deveraux, told the panel her misdeeds were heavily covered by the the Star-Ledger, but her subsequent actions have not been.

Deveraux, a former chief of staff at the state Commerce Commission, did prison time after her conviction for official misconduct. She also pleaded guilty to third-degree theft by deception.

“I paid my debt to society. I came home. I got a doctorate. I got a master’s. I got a radio show. I wrote two books…. I was ordinained a minister. Nobody knows anything about that,” Deveraux said. “When you google my name, you just see something that happened 11 or 12 years ago… My question is does there ever come a time when the media will become forgiving?”

read more

Bramnick says N.J. Democrats need to show us the pension money

Jon Bramnick

Star Ledger -

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick on Tuesday said Democratic legislative leaders shouldn’t side with unions in asking the courts to order the restoration of $1.6 billion in state pension payments cut by Gov. Chris Christie.

They should come up with the money themselves.

“I think it’s simple: I just don’t think that we need a court to order the payment of the money,” Bramnick (R-Union) said before hosting an event at Kean University. “We need the Democratic leaders in the Legislature to present that plan for $1.6 billion in funding in a fiscal year that has two months left in it.”

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) and Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) on Monday filed legal briefs in support of the state’s public workers’ unions, which are suing the Christie administration. The unions argue that it is a breach of their members’ contractual

A state Superior Court judge ruled in the unions’ favor earlier this year. After the Christie administration appealed, the state Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

“We know there’s not enough money n the next two months to find $1.6 billion. So the court can order it, but the court is going to have to find out where the money is,” Bramnick said. “Pass your plan, tell us where the money is. What tax are you gong to raise, How are you going to find the $1.6 billion during the last two months of the fiscal year?”

read more

Bramnick to Dems on pension issue: ‘Show us where the money is’

PolitickerNJ -

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) said today that he is puzzled by the legislature’s Democratic leadership’s decision to submit an amicus brief with the Mercer County Superior Court in support of public unions in their legal battle over the state’s failure to fund its pension and benefit system, asking why they haven’t offered up a plan themselves to solve the problem in Trenton.

“My understanding is the Democratic leadership is going to the courts for the courts to order the Democratic leadership to make the payments,” Bramnick said during a short press conference at Kean University. “Why not simply put forward a plan, the Democrats are in control in both houses of the legislature, they have a plan, pass a resolution?”

Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto announced their intention to submit the brief yesterday hoping the court during its case next month would uphold the 2011 pension reform law which meant to ensure the state’s makes its scheduled payments.

“Show us where the money is and present it to the governor,” Bramnick contended. “But to go to the courts and order the legislature to make the payment, to me, doesn’t make any sense.”

read more

N.J. Assembly Republicans want to talk about property taxes

Star Ledger -

State Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick is challenging a Democratic colleague to debate him on property taxes.

Jon Bramnick

Disputing Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald’s (D-Camden) claim in a Saturday NJ Advance Media article that he and his GOP colleagues “did not have any interest” in joining a bipartisan panel to discuss overhauling the state’s tax structure, Bramnick (R-Union) said he’s ready to talk about it right now.

“Why don’t you want to debate?” he said. “I’m ready. Let’s debate this week.”

Bramnick in February challenged Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) to a wide-ranging series of six debates in advance of Election Day. Prieto declined.

All 80 seats in the Assembly are on the ballot this year — the first time since 1999 that the lower house has been at the top of the ticket.

Bramnick’s party currently holds 32 seats to Democrats’ 48.

Following Bramnick’s debate call, three Assembly Republicans — Declan O’Scanlon and Dave Rible of Monmouth County and Scott Rumana of Passaic County — chimed in with press releases to dispute Greenwald’s claim that Republicans did want to join the

Declan O'Scanlon

“I consider Majority Leader Greenwald a friend and have directly indicated to him my willingness to participate in property tax reform discussions,” said Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth), the ranking Republican on the budget committee. “To make it absolutely clear, I stand ready to participate in a dialogue on property tax reform, whether it takes place in the form of a special legislative session or at a diner over coffee.”

Greenwald indicated he was not interested in debating Bramnick.

read more

Bramnick reissues debate challenge — this time targeting Greenwald

Jon Bramnick

PolitickerNJ -

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21), following up on a call he made earlier this year, reissued his challenge to debate “anytime, anywhere” the chamber’s Democratic leaders today — this time targeting Democratic Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-6).

“Why don’t you want to debate?” Bramnick asked. “I’m ready. Let’s debate this week.”

Bramnick first challenged Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (D-32) to join him in six public debates back in February in anticipation of November’s elections, when lawmakers in the Assembly will find themselves heading up tickets across the state. Bramnick wants to flip nine seats in the legislature’s Democratic-controlled lower house, thereby ending the party’s majority and what Republicans characterize as “more than a decade” of incompetent leadership.

Prieto, however, refused to heed the call, saying he would not take part in any “sideshow” Republicans hope to concoct to distract Democrats from their work this election season. Now Bramnick, who said he was responding to an NJ.com article about New Jersey’s unreasonably high property taxes, wants Greenwald to step up.

“Trenton Democrats have controlled the agenda for over ten years while property taxes have climbed. I find it interesting the majority leader only now, in an election year, wants to discuss a plan. My members and I will meet any time, anywhere to solve this crisis for taxpayers,” Bramnick said.

read more

Bramnick calls Dems assertion that Republicans have “no interest” in property tax refortn “not true”

Jon Bramnick

Star Ledger -

Minutes after being sworn in for his ninth term in January 2014, Assembly Majority Lou Greenwald pledged that the time had come for real property tax reform.

“Let us join together. Let us do the unthinkable and prove the cynics wrong. Let us attack New Jersey’s property tax crisis once and for all,” Greenwald (D-Camden) said at the time.

Greenwald’s call had the full backing of Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson), who said “It is time to stop the property tax burden that is crushing the middle-class and poor of this state, and I promise you: We will do that.”

Fast forward 15 months, and state Assembly Democrats have put forward no significant legislation intended to reduce property taxes, which remain the highest in the nation and continue to grow. And even the most basic part of Greenwald’s call — to establish a bipartisan task force to begin to look at solutions — never materialized.

New Jersey property taxes averaged $8,161 in 2014, breaking through the $8,000 mark for the first time.

Restructuring the tax code would require some politically unpopular decisions. While some taxes could be cut, others would likely be raised.

Greenwald said that he spoke to Christie about the issue and “to his credit he said he is not opposed to having the conversation.

Greenwald made some calls and had some meetings to discuss the creation of the bipartisan panel he called for. But, he said, Republican Assembly leaders “have no interest in participating in anything like that.”

“(Assembly Minority Leader) Jon Bramnick just really did not have any interest in participating in that process. I told Jon it was non-partisan. It was almost like a retreat. It would be a free flow of discussion,” Greenwald said. “There’s just no interest in the Republican Party in participating.”

A spokesman for Christie did not respond to a request for comment. But Bramnick (R-Union) disputed Greenwald’s claim that he wasn’t interested in the panel.

“Not true,” he said. “I’m absolutely interested…. I don’t think it serves any purpose to argue in the media as to who’s wrong and who’s right. I’m available to meet the speaker and majority leader at any time to discuss some issues.”

Prieto, the Assembly speaker, noted that the the issues the Assembly is working to tackle right now would affect property taxes.

“Controlling property taxes is always a top priority, but it also must be done in a bipartisan and cooperative fashion and on multiple fronts, and it’s among the reasons I’ve been heavily focused on solving the transportation funding crisis,” Prieto said.


read more

Bramnick on Income Tax Deadline Day: Lower Taxes

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick said today’s tax deadline is a reminder that reducing the tax burden must be among the highest priorities for legislators.

“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. “New Jersey workers already pay more than their fair share. The best way to attract jobs and keep people in New Jersey is to lower their taxes and let them keep more of their hard-earned money.”

Bramnick noted that New Jersey’s Tax Freedom Day is May 13, tied for last in the country. Tax Freedom Day is when the average citizen has earned enough money to pay the year’s combined federal, state, and local tax bill.

“It is sad that New Jersey taxpayers have to work 133 days to support all levels of government,” continued Bramnick. “Workers in New Jersey have tightened their belts through these difficult times, government must do the same.”

read more

Bramnick Welcomes the Luck of the Irish

Star Ledger  (The Auditor)-

Assemblymen Jon Bramnick (R-Union) and Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) don’t look alike, and their names sure don’t sound alike.

So when stumbling upon a political donation to one of them, The Auditor wondered why their names seemed melded.

In its “Business Entity Annual Statement” to the state Election Law Enforcement Commission, in which public contractors are required to list their contracts and political donations, the law firm Porzio, Bromberg & Newman lists a curious $500 donation to “Assemblyman O’Brammick.” (sic)

The donation actually went to Bramnick.

“I need an Irish name if I run statewide,” said Bramnick, who’s Jewish.

“The names are so close,” O’Scanlon said.

But it turns out it wasn’t that type of confusion. Every once in a while, Bramnick invites lawmakers and other political insiders to a makeshift bar in his living room he calls “O’Bramnick’s.” An attorney for Porzio said the Assemblyman had an October fundraiser at “O’Bramnick’s,” which explains the mistake in the filing. Porzio plans to amend the form.

read more

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick Addresses Suburban Chamber of Commerce on First Friday

Jon Bramnick

Tapinto.net -

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick discussed the state of politics, government and the Garden State on Friday morning at the Suburban Chamber of Commerce First Friday networking breakfast.

Bramnick (R-21), said that governing is “not personal, it’s all policy.”

He said, “I’m deeply concerned…that New Jersey is in a dangerous position when Mercedes-Benz leaves New Jersey [because] it is too expensive to do business here.” “If the Democrats don’t realize soon that the message coming out of Trenton is that the state needs to be more affordable or there will be problems, there will be problems,” he added.

“At some point, you have to grow up. [In Trenton] not only do they disagree but they don’t like each other…none of this is personal, it’s all policy-driven,” the Assemblyman said.

Regarding Governor Christie, Bramnick said, “I love Chris Christie. He is the only backstop between bad legislation that would make this state less affordable…he’s not unhapy about saying ‘no’.” Bramnick added, “We need a parent down in Trenton [and Governor Christie fulfills that role].”

When asked about whether there is hope for change in New Jersey, Bramnick responded, “The only way you can change this is by putting new people in leadership. Somebody has to tell the truth.”

He concluded, “New Jersey is going to survive. The question is, ‘in what form’?”

read more

Bramnick on gas tax hike talks

Source: NJ 101.5 -

Negotiations to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), possibly with an increase in the gas tax, have not broken off despite published reports to the contrary, according to leaders in the General Assembly. They said the talks continue, but politics is at play and that could stall a gas tax hike for the time being.

Jon Bramnick

The top Republican in the Assembly agreed that talks to fund the TTF were continuing. Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) said sometimes there are slow periods in negotiations and sometimes there are periods where there’s rapid movement. TTF talks are somewhere in the middle he explained.

“I think negotiations are moving along,” Bramnick said. “We need tax fairness. If we’re going to raise a gas tax I think the people of New Jersey would like to see other taxes reduced.”

All 80 seats in the Assembly are up for grabs in this November’s elections. Bramnick acknowledged fear of voter backlash could have [members on both sides of the aisle] skittish about voting in favor of a gas tax hike until after Election Day.

“I think there are probably legislators who are afraid to vote for any type of increase whatsoever on taxes and I suspect that might be playing a role,” Bramnick said.

Another factor at play could be the fact that Gov. Chris Christie recently said the TTF was not in crisis mode.

“I’m hopeful that the Senate president and the speaker and I will be able to come to a resolution sooner rather than later, but, you know, again, it’s not a crisis at the moment, because we’re funded pretty well now,” said Christie in the February edition of Townsquare Media’s “‘Ask the Governor” program.

As the governor mulls a run for president in 2016, many insiders said he would not want to sign a gas tax increase into law right before throwing his hat in the ring.

read more

Page 1 of 6712345102030...Last »