Tag: Jon Bramnick

Bramnick on ‘Made in America’ purchasing rules, now on Christie’s deck

Source: NewsWorks -

Jon Bramnick

The New Jersey Assembly has given final legislative approval to measures requiring state agencies and public colleges to use materials made in the U.S. in the fulfillment of contracts.

But Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, minority leader, said Republicans believe “Made in America” bills set a dangerous policy and will result in the loss of jobs.

“We can’t afford in an economy that is somewhat fragile in New Jersey to do anything except promote our companies, and some of those are international companies.”

It’s now up to Gov. Chris Christie to decide whether to sign the bills into law.

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Bramnick says no easy fix for N.J. transportation fund

Courier Post -

Life in New Jersey is likely to get more expensive once officials settle on a plan for funding transportation projects.

If it’s any consolation, death might get cheaper.

Gov. Chris Christie and legislative leaders have been haggling in private for months about how to reinvigorate the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), which for three decades has been the vehicle through which New Jersey pays for road and rail construction and repairs.

Increasingly, it’s been a borrowing mechanism. Despite Christie’s pledge as a candidate in 2009 to reduce the state’s reliance on debt in favor of more pay-as-you-go plans, the TTF has leaned more heavily than ever on borrowing. Of every $100 spent over the last five years, $98.82 has been borrowed. By July, all the money that goes into the fund will be needed to make payments on roughly $15 billion in debt.

Expectations were that a long-range solution for transportation funding would have been approved by lawmakers and on Christie’s desk by the end of December. Needless to say, that’s not happening. Lawmakers are in recess until the second week in January, and a proposal hasn’t been announced, let alone approved.

Two polls this month found New Jerseyans opposed to a gas tax increase to pay for road and mass transit work. A Rutgers-Eagleton Poll found 41 percent support it, up 10 points since April, but 56 percent opposed. Quinnipiac University says 58 percent are opposed, though the 39 percent who support it ties the poll’s high-water mark. The latter poll found a majority of people support building a new rail tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan.

The TTF, however, has been financed through dedicated funds since its inception in 1984. Over time, lawmakers and governors increased its debt limit without increasing its revenues. They then stretched out the debt over 30 years, instead of 10 years, to make annual payments smaller, rather than raise a tax to keep the program sustainable.

The issue has been Trenton’s top topic and will remain there until a solution is found early next year. When legislative leaders got together this month for a New Jersey Business and Industry Association forum, it dominated more than half the time of their panel discussion.

Jon Bramnick

“As we’re jumping off the cliff, we’re voting differently on the bill,” said Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union.

For Republicans — presumably including Christie, who might have to defend a gas tax increase as a presidential candidate — the transportation solution has to be coupled with a tax cut or two for it to be palatable.

The two ideas they’ve been willing to discuss publicly are the gradual elimination of the estate tax, which is applied in addition to inheritance taxes on estates worth more than $675,000, and doubling to $30,000 per couple the amount of retirement income, such as from pensions, that is tax-exempt.

“There is no doubt that we have to find the money, no doubt about that,” Bramnick said. “But we also have to send the message at the same time that if we’re going to raise some tax, if that happens, we have to make sure other taxes are proportionately lowered.”

“You can’t do that in a vacuum and ignore the major problem we have in this state, which is a very bad business climate,” Bramnick said.

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Bramnick speaks on ‘buy American’ bills

Philadelphia Inquirer -

Bills requiring New Jersey public contracts at the state and local levels to use U.S.-made goods passed the state Legislature on Thursday over the objections of business groups, which argued that the measures would make the state less competitive.

The five bills – one related to state and local entities, including state colleges, and the others to bistate transportation agencies, including the Delaware River Port Authority – passed largely along party lines in the Democratic-controlled Assembly. In the Senate, which had previously passed some of the bills, the remaining bill Thursday garnered Democratic and some Republican support.

The package expands requirements for U.S.-made goods in certain public contracts.

Opponents, including other Republican lawmakers and business groups in and outside New Jersey, said the requirements would be too onerous. The bill applying to contracts with state and local entities wouldn’t just require that a product be made in the United States but that the majority of its components are made here.

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R., Union), joined by other Republicans from the Assembly, criticized the legislation at a news conference Thursday, saying it “sends a very bad message to businesses.”

Assembly Republicans said the bills would result in increased costs to taxpayers. In the bill pertaining to contracts for state and local entities, waivers could be granted if the cost of a U.S.-made product was more than 20 percent above a foreign-made alternative.

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NJ Republicans sparring again

NJ 101.5 -

Democrats and Republicans are closing out 2014 by arguing over which party was more ineffective this year.

During a press conference on Thursday in Trenton, Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) said top Democrats wasted 2014 trying to link Gov. Chris Christie to a scandal while ignoring the economy and the business community. But Assembly Democratic Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Voorhees) said Bramnick is wrong, and added that no one cares what Republicans in New Jersey have to say anyway.

Jon Bramnick

“For the past year, the Democrats in my judgment have concentrated on the negative – Bridgegate. A year of Bridgegate hearings did anything but instill confidence in businesses in this state,” Bramnick said.

For four days in September of 2013, access lanes in Fort Lee leading to the George Washington Bridge were closed without warning causing massive traffic jams. Many Democrats believe the lanes were shutdown as political retribution because Fort lee’s Democratic mayor refused to endorse Christie’s re-election campaign. Christie has denied any involvement and an internal probe cleared him, but the scandal is still dogging the governor as he mulls a run for president in 2016.

“Post January, all the Democrats were lining up either to run for governor or the alternative – find something bad about Chris Christie. Let us concentrate on making lives better in New Jersey, not on who was responsible for moving cones around on the bridge,” Bramnick said.

The Select Committee on Investigation has been probing the Bridgegate scandal for months. Greenwald is a member of that panel and he has consistently said that there is no evidence to link Christie to Bridgegate.

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Bramnick and Bucco talk about ‘Made in America’ bills

WBGO -

The New Jersey Assembly has given final legislative approval to a package of bills that require state agencies and public colleges to use materials made in the U-S in the fulfillment of contracts.

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick says Republicans believe the so-called Made in America bills set a dangerous policy.

“We can’t afford in an economy that is somewhat fragile in New Jersey to do anything except promote our companies and some of those are international companies.”

Anthony M. Bucco

Republican Assemblyman Anthony Bucco says the bills will result in job cuts and higher prices.

“These are bad bills with a good name and if these bills were entitled to drive the cost of living up by 20 percent, they’d be dead on arrival, but that’s exactly what we’ve been told.”

It’s now up to Governor Christie to decide whether to sign the bills into law.

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Bramnick-Bucco speak on “Buy American” bill

Bergen Record -

The state Assembly on Thursday approved a package of bills that would require that all public contracts – and those awarded by various autonomous agencies, including the Port Authority – to use goods made in America.

Business groups strongly opposed the bills, saying they would increase costs and hurt the state economy, arguments Republicans cited when voting against the measures.

Nicknamed the “Buy American” bill, the measure requiring public contracts to be fulfilled with American goods passed with Democratic support, 43 to 25, with six abstentions.

The 24 Republican members voted against the bills, saying they would be detrimental to the state.

Anthony M. Bucco

“This is a bad bill with a good name,” Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, R-Morris, said of the bill requiring American goods for public contracts. “Let’s face it, if this bill was named, ‘The cost of living will be going up by 20 percent bill’ it would never see the light of day, but in fact that’s the testimony that we heard.”

Bucco said he was concerned that the bill would lead businesses to leave New Jersey, a concern echoed by Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick.

Jon Bramnick

“This is just another Trenton regulation with the word America in it,” Bramnick said. “We need to make it easier to do business in this state, not harder.”

The Senate approved the measures in June, but must again vote on the “Buy American” measure after the Assembly made minor tweaks. The bills regarding the autonomous agencies head to Christie for final action.

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Bramnick Bill Prohibiting Unsolicited Text Message Advertising Approved by Assembly

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation prohibiting telecommunications companies from sending unsolicited advertising by text messaging and charging a fee, unless expressly permitted by the consumer, was approved by the Assembly today. The bill, A-617, is sponsored by Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, Morris and Somerset.

Jon Bramnick

“This pro-consumer bill safeguards the cell phone owner from receiving unsolicited marketing without their consent. Unwanted texts can be costly and frustrating to the consumer who has no idea how this personal information was obtained. Receiving unauthorized text messages is a distraction consumers do not want or appreciate.”

The bill also requires any telecommunications company that sells text messaging services to offer an option allowing customers to block all incoming and outgoing text messages.

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Assembly Republicans rail against Democrat-sponsored legislation, call it ‘anti-American’

PolitckerNJ -

Republican leaders in the General Assembly are lashing out against a whole host of Democratic-sponsored legislation that is slated for a vote today, calling bills aimed at encouraging the purchase of American-made products in the state part of a “bad for business round-up.”

At a press conference convened by Assembly Minority leader Jon Bramnick (D-21) shortly before the Assembly’s session, Republicans said they would vote against a package of bills requiring manufactured products used in certain governmental contracts to be made in America. Also referred to as “Made in America,” the package’s primary bill requires that vendors receiving contracts, including public work contracts, with state and local governments, as well as public institutions of higher education, purchase goods manufactured in the United States.

Bramnick said the bills, which have already received heavy opposition from business leaders in the state, said the legislation is “anti-American” and bad for the state’s economy.

“We have international companies that have settled here, that we kept here, and now we’re telling them directly that they’re going to be second class citizens,” Bramnick said. “We can’t afford in an economy that is as fragile as New Jersey’s to do anything except promote our companies — and some of them are international companies.”

“Made in America? We’ll call it the anti-job bill, because that’s what’s it’s going to do,” he added.

Assemblyman David Rible (R-30) backed up Bramnick, saying the bills included an “anti-America proposal.”

The package is just one in slew of more than 50 bills up for a vote in the Assembly today ahead of the holidays. One of the most controversial includes measures to stabilize an economically and financially embattled Atlantic City with tax breaks and other business incentives, sponsored by Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2). The body had also planned on posting a paid sick leave bill as well, which has also taken flak from some businesses in the state, though the legislation was ultimately held for a later date.

Republican railed against those bills, too, saying in Atlantic City’s case, the legislature should wait for the direction of Gov. Chris Christie, who has led a series of summits with casino owners, lawmakers, local officials and business leaders over the past months in order to come up with a broad-based solution to the beleaguered gaming mecca’s problems.

“The governor is in the process of seeking a global solution,” Bramnick said, “and meanwhile the Democrats jump out ahead and do a piecemeal solution.”

On paid sick leave, he added: “Democrats were going to post paid sick leave, but they must have come to their senses and realized you can only do so many anti-business bills in one day or in one year.”

Other Republican lawmakers present at the presser included Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (D-13), Minority Whip Scott Rumana, Deputy Conference Leader Mary Pat Angelini, and Deputy Republican Leader Anthony Bucco.

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Bramnick: Canada is sending NJ a warning

Source: NJ 101.5 -

New Jersey governments at every level, colleges and transportation authorities would have to buy only American-made products under a bi-partisan package of bills that could receive final legislative approval Thursday if it passes the full Assembly.

The sponsors said it is a job creation bill package, but the top Republican in the Assembly does not support it, and warns New Jersey could face retaliation from our neighbors to the north.

Jon Bramnick

“Today, we are a global society and things are made with parts that are made in other places around the world. This (legislation) would send such a terrible message to international companies that are based in New Jersey that you’re going to see retaliation,” said Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield). “I spoke specifically to the Canadian Consult General who indicated that they’re looking at retaliation if New Jersey begins to restrict commerce from Canada to New Jersey.”

Governments are already required to buy American, but the “Made in America” bills expand on that to require the same from bi-state agencies. That would require legislation to be passed in neighboring states too.

“Enacting this legislation would be a very dangerous policy for New Jersey despite the fact that I would like people to buy American. Conceptually I like the bill, but when you look under the hood you’re sending a message to companies around the world that New Jersey restricts trade,” Bramnick said.

One bill in the package would require vendors contracting with state agencies, including state colleges, to buy products manufactured in America to fulfill their contracts.
The other bills would require the same thing for the Delaware River Joint Toll Commission, the Delaware River and Bay Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Delaware River Port Authority.

“When you look at the cost here of the job loss, the loss in taxes, the stress on social programs, it’s cheaper to buy a product here,” said co-sponsor state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) when he unveiled the legislation in May. “What we’re calling on is for all of our authorities and colleges to buy American. New Jersey and the United States are going to become a manufacturing powerhouse again.”

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Bramnick talks about the Pilgrim Pipeline

Source: Star-Ledger -

Gov. Chris Christie can’t say enough good things about the Keystone XL pipeline lately, making passionate and public pitches for it to be built as quickly as possible while on recent trade missions to Canadaand Mexico.

But the governor won’t disclose how he feels about the planned $1 billion Pilgrim Pipeline that would stretch through seven counties in New Jersey — and is facing growing opposition from local and state officials, including the Legislature’s top Republicans.

Over the past few days, Republican legislative leaders in the state Assembly and the Senate have yielded to a rising chorus of protest from mayors — many of them Republican — coming out against the Pilgrim’s progress.

Jon Bramnick

On Thursday, Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union) introduced a resolution to oppose building the Pilgrim pipeline, joined by the Republican minority leader, Jon Bramnick (R-Union), a key Christie ally.

On Monday, a similar resolution to block the pipeline will be introduced in the Senate by state Sen. Richard Codey (D-Essex), who will be joined by Republican Senate minority leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Union).

Half the mayors in 30 municipalities and seven counties through which the pipeline would pass have come out against the Pilgrim, including Chatham Borough Mayor Bruce Harris, who was tapped by Christie for a spot on the state Supreme Court but never made it to the bench because his nomination was blocked by Senate Democrats.

The pipeline would stretch 178 miles from Linden to Albany N.Y., including 63 miles of environmentally sensitive terrain like New Jersey’s Highlands Preservation Area, which supplies drinking water to most of the state, and the Buried Valley Aquifer, which provides water to Chatham and nearby towns, including Christie’s home in Mendham.

Bramnick, who many see as a leading Republican contender to run for governor in the next election, said he is “opposing the pipeline at this time” and would confer with Kean on Monday.

“And we’re going to continue to oppose it until we get to the bottom of the issues as far as risk to populations and risk to environment,” Bramnick said. “The fact that Tom and I are meeting on this gives you some indication that we intend to take more action on it.”

Kean and Bramnick declined to comment on the political ramifications of not supporting the pipeline at a time when fellow Republican Christie has been promoting the XL Pipeline as a way to make the United States more energy-independent.

Pote noted that several residents expressed fears about the high volatility of Bakken shale oil in the two-foot wide pipeline, which could carry 200,000 barrels of it per day. It’s the same type of flammable crude that destroyed half of a Quebec city’s downtown when a runaway freight train carrying 216,000 US gallons of Bakken formation shale oil derailed and exploded last year, killing 47 people.

 

 

 

 

 

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