Category: Press Release

Simon Calls Newark Catering Bills Shameful

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblywoman Donna Simon said reports that the Newark school district spent $22,000 per month for over a year on catered meals and take-out food is indefensible and an insult to taxpayers. The school district, mainly funded by taxpayers throughout the state, has a $42 million budget gap.

Donna Simon

“Taxpayers who are sending over $700 million to support the Newark school system are justifiably outraged over this wasteful spending,” said Simon, R-Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer and Middlesex. “This is a poke in the eye for school districts that don’t get their fair share. Newark has little concern for how they spend taxpayer dollars.

“The billions of dollars thrown into this system have not improved the quality of education for our children,” stated Simon. “This report is another example of New Jersey’s broken school-funding formula. It is an abuse of taxpayer money. Changing the school funding formula must be a top priority for the Legislature this fall.”

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Casagrande: Taxpayers Take a Hit on Police Chief Payout

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande said it is disgraceful that taxpayers in Middletown are on the hook for nearly $250,000 for their retiring police chief in unused sick and vacation time. Casagrande, R-Monmouth, said it is well past time for the Legislature to make the elimination of unused sick pay for retiring public employees a top priority.

Caroline Casagrande

“This enormous payout is outrageous and an example of why homeowners’ taxes are so high and why the system needs to be changed,” says Casagrande. “For four years, the Democrat-controlled Legislature has refused to consider legislation eliminating this perk. Taxpayers bear the burden of over $800 million in accrued payouts. Unless the Legislature acts now, that liability will only increase for our children and grandchildren.

“The chief’s service to the community is appreciated, but a $249,000 payout puts too high of a financial burden on the town,” commented Casagrande. “This outdated benefit makes New Jersey unaffordable and part of the reason for the outward migration from our state.”

Casagrande is the primary sponsor of A-158 that prohibits payouts for unused sick time. That bill languishes in an Assembly committee awaiting action. Casagrande introduced the identical bill in 2012 (A-2495) which also never received consideration.

“It is time for the Legislature to fulfill its promise to the taxpayer and do something to bring down property taxes. Moving this bill would be a significant step forward in that direction,” stated Casagrande.

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Dancer-McHose Bipartisan Bill That Promotes Agricultural Tourism at Wineries Signed into Law

Press Release – (TRENTON) – Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Dancer and Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose that promotes agricultural tourism on preserved farmland was recently signed into law by Gov. Christie.

The new law directs the State Agricultural Development Committee (SADC) to establish a 44 month pilot program to allow special occasion events to be held on preserved farmland at wineries under certain circumstances.

Ron Dancer

“With this law, farmers will now have the ability to promote their operations without conflicting with the spirit of their farmland preservation,” said Dancer, R-Ocean, Burlington, Middlesex and Monmouth. “The governor’s message to the Legislature on S-837/A-1272 recognized and affirmed the Legislature’s desire to help the state’s 48 licensed wineries flourish, including the 19 that have land enrolled in the farmland preservation program. Wineries are now in all 50 states and New Jersey’s rapid winery growth market share has propelled our Garden State to rank 6th in the nation for grape vineyard wine production.”

“If we don’t allow farming to evolve, farmers will disappear even though their land has been preserved,” stated McHose, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “People look for special places to hold their special events and this will allow New Jersey farms to meet that demand. It’s a win for the consumer, a win for the farmer and for our wineries. It benefits everyone.”

Alison Littell McHose

Under the 44-month pilot program, special occasion events will be permitted at a winery on preserved farmland provided that:

• The gross income generated by the winery from all special occasion events conducted for the calendar year together account for less than 50 percent of the annual gross income of the winery;

• The event uses the agricultural output of the winery to promote agricultural tourism and advance the agricultural or horticultural output of the winery;

• The event is conducted on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or federal or state holiday. It may be conducted on any other day of the week with the approval of the SADC. The committee may delegate its authority in that regard to a county agriculture development board.

• The event is conducted in a temporary structure, such as an enclosed or open canopy or tent or other portable structure or facility. The temporary structure would be put in place for only the minimum amount of time reasonably necessary to accommodate the special occasion event; or in an existing permanent agricultural building, a farm or open air pavilion, or another structure used in the normal course of winery operations and activities;

• The event complies with applicable municipal ordinances, resolutions, or regulations concerning litter, solid waste, and traffic and the protection of public health and safety.

Other bill sponsors include Democrat Senators Donald Norcross and Shirley Turner and Democrat Assembly members Celeste Riley and Paul Moriarty.

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Fiocchi Statement on Independence Day

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Sam Fiocchi

Sam Fiocchi

Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, R-Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic, issued the statement below in commemoration of America’s 238th birthday:

“As we join with family and friends in celebration of the anniversary of America’s independence, let’s take a moment to reflect on the values that our nation represents – among them the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For 238 years our country has stood as a beacon of freedom throughout the world. That freedom, we know, comes at a great price. So as we celebrate today with parades, barbecues and firework displays, let’s also remember all the patriots, past and present, who gave their lives to preserve our independence.”

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Bramnick Statement on Independence Day

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, issued the following statement as the United States prepares to celebrate Independence Day:

Jon Bramnick

“As we celebrate our country’s independence, let us remember those who have served in defense of our freedom. We owe them a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. We must never take for granted the sacrifices made by the many patriots who believed in the principles of democracy.”

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Dancer-Thompson Laud Bipartisan Effort to Protect Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

Press Release – (Trenton, NJ) – Senator Sam Thompson and Assemblyman Ron Dancer, both R-Ocean, Monmouth, Burlington and Middlesex, today attended and participated in a news conference outside the main gate to Fort Dix of the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Wrightstown. The legislators lauded that portion of the Fiscal 2015 budget which includes $200,000 in funding to protect the base and Picatinny Arsenal from potential cuts or closure by the Department of Defense (DOD). Thompson and Dancer were sponsors of the budget initiative.

Ron Dancer

Dancer:

“From basic training to the strategies used in submarine warfare, the McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst operation continues to play a key role in the defense of our country as well as our state’s economy. This funding will provide us with the resources necessary to be pro-active and prepared to save the Joint Base and its estimated 65,000 jobs in the event of another Base Realignment and Closure Commission threat.”

Thompson and Dancer sponsor SR-79/AR-116, which expresses support for retention of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and memorializes the DOD and Congress to keep the facility open.

Other members of the Legislature in attendance were Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assemblyman Troy Singleton and Wrightstown Mayor Tom Harper.

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Space and Dancer Measures Promoting the Healthy Eating and the ‘Farm to School’ Program Move on to the Governor’s Desk

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

The Assembly Thursday passed two amended bills that bolster the state’s Farm to School” program and promote nutrition for school-age children sponsored by Assembly Republicans Parker Space and Ron Dancer. The bills, approved by the Senate this month, are now on the Governor’s desk.

Parker Space

“Living in the Garden State, we are well aware of the benefits our fresh, nutritious farm-grown produce, and the ‘Farm to School’ program provides a golden opportunity to encourage healthy eating choices in our schools, and assist the local farmers at the same time,” said Space, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris.

Assembly bill 2641 supports the state’s “Farm to School” and “Farm to Gardens” programs, allowing taxpayers to make a contribution on their income tax forms, and creates a fund in the Department of the Treasury to hold these funds. Annually, the Legislature will appropriate the monies in the fund to the Department of Agriculture to support the two farm-friendly programs.

A-2642 allows the Secretary of Agriculture to solicit and accept private and public money to support the state’s “Farm to School” program.

Ron Dancer

“These are beneficial programs that help build the foundation for a healthier, more productive next generation,” said Dancer, R-Ocean, Burlington, Middlesex and Monmouth. “New Jersey residents who appreciate the benefits of fruits, vegetables and non-processed food in a healthy, balanced diet can, by checking a box on their tax return, have a positive impact on our impressionable young people.”

Assembly Republican Alison Littell McHose, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris, is also a sponsor of the bipartisan bill package, which includes a third bill, A-2643, that establishes the “Best in New Jersey ‘Farm to School’ Awards Program” to recognize the outstanding “Farm to School” utilization by a school or school district.

Space, McHose and Dancer sponsored A-156, that supports the “Farm to School” program by requiring the Department of Agriculture to post important information about the program on its web site.

All four bills have passed both the Assembly and the Senate, and under the consideration of the Governor.

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Bramnick-Wolfe-Bucco Laud Budget Initiative Protecting McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and Picatinny from DOD Cuts

Press Release – Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, joined with fellow Republicans Dave Wolfe and Anthony M. Bucco, in lauding that portion of the Fiscal 2015 Budget which includes $200,000 in funding to protect the McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst base and Picatinny Arsenal from potential cuts or closure by the Department of Defense (DOD). The three Republicans were sponsors of the budget initiative.

Jon Bramnick

Bramnick (R-Union, Morris and Somerset):
“New Jersey’s military bases are vital to the security of our country. They provide a wide range of technology and combat equipment necessary for supporting our military personnel around the world. They employ thousands of civilians and their importance to our economy cannot be underestimated. I commend the governor for recognizing the important role of these bases.”

Wolfe (R-Ocean):
“The McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst base is an integral part of South Jersey’s economy and supplies

Dave Wolfe

critical equipment that supports our military in defense of our country. Thousands of military and civilian jobs depend on this joint operation and we cannot afford the same economic loss as when Ft. Monmouth closed in 2011.”

Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco (R-Morris and Somerset):
“The weapons research and development taking place at Picatinny Arsenal are vital to our country’s military defense. The cutting-edge technology and logistical support Picatinny supplies to our service men and women are invaluable. Many of the weapons developed at Picatinny are in the hands of our overseas military personnel fighting the war on terror. Our region would be devastated by the base’s closing or reduction in budget.”

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Kean Alimony Reform Approved by Senate

Sean Kean

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Provides relief to retired payers & unemployed

On Monday, the state Senate approved a bipartisan measure (A-845) sponsored by Assemblyman Sean Kean (R-Monmouth and Ocean) which revises alimony laws including ending alimony payments when the payer reaches federal retirement age, becomes unemployed, or the person receiving the payments cohabitates with someone else. Kean has been a leading advocate for alimony reform and has introduced various bills dealing with the issue since 2008. The Assembly approved Kean’s bill last Thursday which now goes to Gov. Christie for his consideration.

“The time has come for the Legislature to address the problems with alimony in the state,” remarked Kean. “New Jersey needs to move forward with comprehensive alimony reform legislation that would make the process fair and reasonable for both parties and reflective of the current times in which we live.”

Kean maintains that alimony issues have really come to a boiling point because of the financial crisis of 2008. Due to layoffs, lack of hiring, and the overall economic downtown, many people are now in a very different financial position.

“Current divorce law does not set appropriate limits on the duration of alimony payments or provide for adjustments due to a change in a person’s financial situation, such as unemployment, disability or retirement,” explained Kean. “These various issues warrant reforming the law.

“It is unreasonable to expect people to pay alimony into retirement when their income has been reduced and they are living on a pension or retirement savings,” continued Kean. “Further, another situation in which an individual cannot afford to pay alimony is when they become unemployed. I have heard terrible stories from many unemployed individuals who could not make their alimony payments and some even went to jail.”

This legislation would terminate alimony payments when the payer reaches federal retirement age and would permit modification or suspension of payment when the recipient is living with another person and engaged in a serious relationship. In addition, judges would be able to modify payments if the payer has been unemployed for more than 90 days.

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Rible: Governor Committed to Job Creators and Taxpayers

Dave Rible

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Conference Leader David Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean, issued the statement below following Gov. Christie’s line item veto today of the Democrats’ FY15 budget:

“The governor’s veto of the Democrat’s job killing tax increases shows his commitment to moving forward with a reform agenda that keeps us on the road to economic growth. New Jersey’s 800,000 small businesses are responsible for the progress we are making. Targeting our job creators and incentive programs is counterproductive.”

Rible is a former small business owner who meets regularly with members of New Jersey’s business community in an effort to exchange ideas and dialogue about issues and concerns of importance to them.

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