Tag: Jon Bramnick

Bramnick Says Nuclear Arms Deal with Iran is Dangerous to Israel and the World

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, called upon Congress to oppose and speak out against the proposed nuclear arms agreement with Iran:

“We cannot allow a country to call for the destruction of Israel and accept them as a partner for peace. I have heard nothing from the Iranian government that respects the existence of Israel.”

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Bramnick on whether NJ should have a special legislative session

NJ 101.5 -

In the summer of 2006, former Gov. Jon Corzine convened a special legislative session to explore ways to lower New Jersey’s highest-in-the-national average property tax bill. Months of hearings followed, but in the end most, including many lawmakers involved viewed the session as a bust.

The top Republican in the Assembly said Monday that there should be another special session that would actually involve the very taxpayers it would seek to help.

Jon Bramnick

“We should have an open session to hear from the public as well as legislators on how to reduce property taxes. We need a broad-based session on the (Senate and Assembly chamber’s) floor where the public asks the questions and members of the legislature should respond to the public’s questions,” said Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield).

Legislation (ACR-18) co-sponsored by Bramnick would require the Senate president and Assembly speaker to convene a special session of each house, within seven days of final passage. The session would be devoted solely to considering property tax relief as well as devising and considering ways to implement that relief and reform.

While he would not comment specifically on Bramnick’s measure, Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (D-Secaucus) did say Monday that reducing property taxes was and is always a top priority

Under Bramnick’s legislation, the speaker, Senate president and the minority leader of each house would present bills to be considered by that house at the special session and each such bill would be voted on by the members of that house.

“I’ve heard over and over again that legislators want to reduce property taxes,” Bramnick said. “I think the public has a right to have an open hearing on property taxes that lasts until we have input from people from all walks of life and all different types of opinions.”

In 2006, Corzine convened his special session when he created four bi-partisan, bi-cameral committees to examine public school funding reform, government consolidation and shared services reform, constitutional reform and public employee benefits reform.

 

 

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Bramnick reacts to Dems’ gas tax hike proposal

NJ 101.5 -

While the debate continues to swirl around Trenton on how best to fund the state’s Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), talk of using a gas tax hike as a revenue raiser is expected to gain momentum this fall once the Assembly returns from its summer vacation.

The chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, said his priority will be getting two of his bills on Gov. Chris Christie’s desk as soon as possible.

One bill would increase the tax on petroleum products gross receipts from 4 cents per gallon to 9 percent of the average retail price of unleaded regular gasoline. Another measure would constitutionally dedicate that all of the new revenue collected through a gas tax hike be used just to fund the TTF.

The gas tax hike being proposed would equal about 25 cents a gallon.That translates to about 50 cents a day for the average driver in New Jersey. That’s $180 a year.

The gas tax hike would be on top of the existing 10.5 cent gas tax.

In the past, Christie has said he is open to discussing all TTF funding options.

Jon Bramnick

That sentiment was echoed by Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) at a recent press conference, but in a phone interview later he said Democrats don’t need any support to pass the tax hike bill right now.

“Democrats have 48 votes in the Assembly. They could pass that tax tomorrow and they have a lot of experience because they’ve passed 115 new taxes since they’ve been in the majority,” Bramnick said.

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Bramnick: Dems just want to blame Christie

Source: NJ 101.5 -

Conventional wisdom in Trenton is that a gas tax increase to replenish the nearly bankrupt Transportation Trust Fund won’t be discussed until after the November elections when all 80 seats in the General Assembly are on the ticket.

Jon Bramnick

 

“They have enough votes to pass legislation so why do they blame the Governor? Democrats refuse to act on fixing school funding, passing property tax relief, ending sick time payouts or dealing with the Transportation Trust Fund,” Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) said.

One influential lawmaker suggested Monday that the funding crisis won’t be solved while Gov. Chris Christie continues to seek higher office.

“I would go one step further and suggest that we’re not going to solve this problem as long as Chris Christie continues to pursue his presidential fantasy. He’s made a pledge with Grover Norquist in which he has promised not to raise new taxes,” said Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville).

Last week, Christie signed the anti-tax hike promise with the conservative Americans for Tax Reform. The pledge was to not increase taxes if elected president.

“Gov. Christie understands that government should be reformed so that it takes and spends less of the taxpayers’ money, and will oppose tax increases that paper over and continue the failures of the past,” Norquist said in a press release statement.

According to Wisniewski, the “transportation funding crisis” can only be solved if new revenue is generated.

The TTF is the pot of money the state taps into for road, bridge and tunnel projects. State Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox has said the fund will run out of money when the current fiscal year ends at midnight June 30, 2016 unless a recurring source of revenue is identified. The most talked about idea is an increase in the gas tax.

One bill (A-3886) sponsored by Wisniewski would increase the tax on petroleum products gross receipts from four cents per gallon to nine percent of the average retail price of unleaded regular gasoline. He said it would amount to a 25-cent per gallon tax increase. He also sponsors another measure (ACR-205) to constitutionally dedicate all of the new revenue collected to the TTF.

The top Republican in the Assembly released a statement accusing Democrats of wrongly blaming Christie for the state’s financial problems.

“They have enough votes to pass legislation so why do they blame the Governor? Democrats refuse to act on fixing school funding, passing property tax relief, ending sick time payouts or dealing with the Transportation Trust Fund,” Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) said.

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Bramnick supports landscape choice without government interference

Source: The Star-Ledger -

What does Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, the Republican leader of the Assembly, have in common with a nature-loving hippie?

Jon Bramnick

The answer: They both see the good sense in allowing Jersey homeowners to turn their yards into miniature nature preserves without running afoul of the local code enforcement officer.

Bramnick (R-Union) has just put in a bill that would offer a legal shield to those who replace grass lawns with a richer variety of native plants that can provide better homes for bees, butterflies, and other critters that can find no niche in the neatly manicured lawns that dominate suburbia.

A sweeping, manicured lawn, is the landscaping equivalent to driving a Hummer.

Consider the benefits: No fertilizers running into local streams when it rains. No lawnmowers spewing fumes. No weed whackers. And a new bountiful look that breaks from the tight-wad feel of so many suburbs.

Bramnick was inspired by his wife, Patricia Brentano, who has turned their front lawn into a mini-preserve. The neighbors, it turns out, don’t mind a bit.

“I’m just keeping the government out of your face if you want to do it,” says Bramnick (R-Union).

When you see a sweeping, manicured lawn, don’t consider it a thing of beauty. It is the landscaping equivalent to driving a Hummer. Bramnick’s bill would allow you to make a different choice.

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Westfield Could Lead the Way as Bramnick Bill Makes Growing Environmentally Friendly Gardens Easier

Source: TapInto.com -

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick held a press conference Friday at his home in Westfield to talk about legislation that encourages homeowners to provide native habitats for birds and other wildlife. The bi-partisan bill, which passed the New Jersey General Assembly in June with unanimous support (76-0), establishes a native species habitat certification program and would make it easier for homeowners to grow native grasses and other native plants.

Jon Bramnick

“It’s not government getting in your face. It’s government getting out of your face,” said Bramnick.

Bramnick said that the bill was inspired by his wife, Patricia Brentano, who convinced him to help her transform their yard into habitat that supports local wildlife, including birds and pollinating insects. To demonstrate her point, Brentano later showed off native wildflowers in her backyard, audibly buzzing with bees.

“I’m very concerned that my granddaughter will live in a sterile world with no food,” Brentano said.

In front of their home, Bramnick told the crowd, “It’s not, as you can see, a traditional front lawn,” pointing out the native grasses that grow there. Bramnick said he has never received complaints about what’s growing in their yard.

Brentano, an artist, runs the Facebook page Rescaping the Suburbs with the New Jersey Audubon Society about adding native plants to suburban properties. She has been growing plants that support wildlife for more than five years, she said, and she hopes that Westfield will lead the way in doing so in New Jersey. Plans are underway to use grant money to add native plantings to Mindwaskin Park, she noted.

Mayor Andy Skibitsky expressed his support.

“You can see how passionate Patricia is, and that’s why we put her on our Green Team,” said Skibitsky. “We do want to make Westfield a community to showcase this idea.”

In addition to looking beautiful, Brentano said, native plantings need little maintenance and help reduce the amount of water and pesticides used. For more information about native plantings, she recommended visiting www.njaudubon.org.

The legislation was sponsored by Bramnick, Assembly Appropriations Chairman John Burzichelli and Deputy Republican Leader Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz. Before it can become law, it must next pass in the New Jersey Senate and be signed by Governor Chris Christie.

“I think it’s all part of a big package of non-regulatory things that people can do,” said Kelly Mooij, vice president of government relations at New Jersey Auduban Society. “It’s all about people taking an active role in their backyards.”

Brentano said she hopes that more consumer demand for native plants will lead to more availability, too.

“Small steps, big changes,” Brentano said. “It’s a mindset change.”

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Bramnick, Munoz Seek Answers on NJ Transit Commuter Woes

Source: TapInto.com -

After a week of of major delays for New Jersey commuters, Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, Sen. Tom Kean and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz demanded answers from Amtrak. The Republicans believe Amtrak has failed to keep part of its obligations to NJ Transit and to commuters.

“After the series of delays this week, commuters deserve a detailed explanation as to what’s going on as well as what is going to be done to prevent these issues from reoccurring,” said Kean in a press release. “Delays of this nature wreak havoc on commuters’ schedules and their work obligations. It is simply unacceptable.”

Jon Bramnick

“People need to get to work, but every day this week there has been trouble. It is aggravating and unacceptable,” said Bramnick. “It costs money and productivity when hard-working New Jersey residents can’t get to their jobs.

“Commuters want to know what’s happening and why it is happening,” Bramnick continued. “We’re not getting what we’ve paid for, and we’re looking for answers.”

“The infrastructure hasn’t been upgraded, and the rail lines are suffering from years of minimal upkeep,” said Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, head of the Mayor’s Coalition for the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition. “This has been no real investment along the rail lines; the equipment is decades old.”

“Our community is tied into Manhattan, it really impacts us,” Mahr added. “You can’t raise rates across the board by nine percent and have service that is so poor. It is unacceptable.”

Mahr fears that people may start to weigh driving as an option.

“Our roads are in no better shape. Overall, we’re not investing enough in our transportation system.”

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Bramnick, Munoz blame Amtrak for commuter delays

Source: Politico -

Amtrak alone is responsible for massive delays on NJ Transit trains in and out of Penn Station this week, Governor Chris Christie said on Friday.

“NJ Transit commuters were victimized by nearly an entire week of extreme delays and cancellations for one reason only: Amtrak’s indifference to New Jersey commuters and its abject neglect of the infrastructure that New Jersey and our entire region relies upon,” Christie said in a statement released by his office.

Nancy Munoz

Jon Bramnick

Christie’s fellow Republicans backed the governor without explicitly naming him. In a joint press release, State Senator Tom Kean, Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz accused Amtrak of “failing to keep up their part of the bargain” and requested a meeting with Amtrak officials.

Amtrak operates two cross-Hudson rail tunnels which NJ Transit also uses. The tunnels, a century old and operating at near-capacity, suffered severe flood damage during Hurricane Sandy. In 2014, Amtrak C.E.O. Joseph Boardman said the tunnels will have to be shut down within 20 years if they are not replaced. Federal transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said the situation is “almost criminal,” criticizing the leadership of both New York and New Jersey.

Power failures in the aging tunnels led to numerous delays of more than an hour in and out of Penn Station this week.

 

 

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Bramnick’s Assembly Bill Encourages Responsible Landscaping

Source: PolitickerNJ -

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) welcomed members of the press and the New Jersey Audubon Society to his Westfield home this morning to discuss a bill that will allow homeowners to landscape with native species that are environmentally responsible.

The Assemblyman is one of the sponsors of Assembly Bill A-3133. The bill calls on the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to allow homeowners to establish private wildlife habitats on their own properties, even if the habitats violate municipal nuisance ordinances. His own yard features one of the habitats.

“I work with the Audubon Society and we decided that if you want to do something that is environmentally sensitive it doesn’t have to do with government,” Bramnick told PolitickerNJ. “A municipal official shouldn’t decide what people can do in their own yards.”

The habitats the bill is pushing municipalities to allow feature plants that are native to New Jersey and allow homeowners to create landscapes with materials other than grass. Introducing these native species also has to potential to greatly reduce maintenance costs due to the decreased need for utility use.

“Grass uses a lot of water but it is not something that is really helpful to the environment,” said Bramnick. “Indigenous plants do a lot even if you only add them to a small part of your yard. They are helpful the birds, bees, butterflies, pollinators, and they don’t use a lot of water since they are meant to grow in New Jersey.”

Though Bramnick’s home has one of these habitats on site, he says that the bill is in no way pushing the building of these on homeowner’s properties but, instead, is just “giving them the option.”

“This bill is really about limited government,” Bramnick said. “It is about if you want to do something different in your yard not getting hassled for wanting something other than grass and having different options.”

Bramnick’s wife Patricia Brentano is a landscape artist. It is through her work that Bramnick says he first learned about creating landscapes that were beneficial to local environments and wildlife.

“She showed me that landscaping can be environmentally sensitive and responsible,” Bramnick said.

A-3133 passed by unanimous vote in the New Jersey General Assembly in late June. Now, the bill is awaiting vote in the Senate.

“I am hopeful this will get passed,” said Bramnick who cosponsored the bill with Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-3).

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Bramnick: Ditch your lawn and plant native habitat instead

Source: Star Ledger -

“Nature is not neat,” Patricia Brentano reminded the crowd surveying the native grasses in her front yard Friday morning.

Brentano, an environmental artist and the wife of N.J. Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, has spent the past few years turning her front and back yards into habitats that support wildlife and wants others to ditch “cookie-cutter lawns” and follow her lead.

Brentano teamed up with her husband, other legislators and NJ Audubon, to support a bill that would give homeowners who plant native grasses, wildflowers a defense against pesky zoning laws that prohibit them from doing so.

The bill – sponsored by Bramnick and Deputy Republican Leader Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz – establishes a native species habitat certification program for homeowners. It has already passed the Assembly.

Brentano said she made the decision to create native habitats at her home after watching a neighbor cut down 12 trees.

“I watched people tear down trees and build big houses and put in huge lawns and a lot of ornamental plants, and it’s not benefiting nature or man at all,” she said. “It’s a mindset change, to be proactive about creating habitats in all of our yards to benefit pollinators, bees, birds and more.”

Brentano also listed some of the issues compounded by traditional lawns – water use and droughts, polluted runoff from pesticides, air pollution from lawnmowers and no habitats for pollinators to keep food sources going – just to name a few.

Brentano said her husband was concerned at first that their front lawn might look like a jungle, but has lately been encouraging her to plant even more native grasses.

Jon Bramnick

“I was somewhat concerned since everyone on this street has a front lawn because it’s not, as you can see, a traditional front lawn,” said Bramnick. “But I can tell you I haven’t had any objections or complaints. The concept of the legislation is simply protecting all of you and us if you wish to put in a habitat.”

Brentano said she hopes to make Westfield the lead city in the effort. Mayor Andy Skibitsky, who also spoke at the conference, said she has his full support.

“This isn’t about messy versus neat, and you can’t just let your lawn go. But you can get expert advice from organizations like NJ Audubon and make changes,” Brentano said. “The truth is we don’t own nature. We’re part of it.”

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