The NJDSC Week in Review for February 3, 2012
Welcome to the latest installment of the NJDSC's week in review.
Here's a look back at some of the news from this past week:
New Jersey's Net Property Taxes Up 20% Under Christie
- Taxpayer's in New Jersey are paying 20% more in property taxes now that Chris Christie is Governor.
- NJ Spotlight: "Property taxes are eating up a larger share of family income under Gov. Chris Christie than under previous governors, primarily due to a sharp reduction in direct property tax relief over the past two years. In fact, net property taxes are 20 percent higher under Christie than they were when Democrat Jon Corzine left office two years ago."
Assembly Judiciary Committee Advances Marriage Equality Legislation
- The Assembly Judiciary Committee passed marriage equality legislation by a 5-2 vote along party lines after a 6 1/2-hour hearing.
- The Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act will come to the Assembly floor for a full vote on February 16th.
- Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and Assembly Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski both testified before the Assembly Judiciary committee in support of marriage equality.
- Post-hearing comments from Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, and Garden State Equality Founder Steven Goldstein can be found here.
- Senate President Steve Sweeney released a statement calling on Christie to stop pushing the idea of a marriage equality referendum: "There will be no referendum on marriage equality in New Jersey, period."
Congressman John Lewis Held Press Conference on Christie's Insensitivity to Civil Rights Issues
- Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, a civil rights leader since the 1960's, appeared at a press conference to denounce Chris Christie's insensitive comments about a marriage equality referendum. Congressman Lewis was joined by Congressman Rush Holt, Assembly Speaker Oliver, Chairman Wisniewski, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, and Assembly Majority Conference Leader Gordon Johnson.
- Congressman Lewis: “If two men want to fall in love and get married, or two women, it’s their business. It’s not the role of the federal government or the state government to intervene. It’s a question of human dignity, a question of human rights. I think the day will come in New Jersey and all across our country when we will look back on this period and say, ‘We were just silly. We were just foolish.’”
- View the entire press conference here.
- Chairman Wisniewski on Congressman Lewis's press conference: “As a young man, he was seriously injured fighting for basic civil rights like the right to vote and freely assemble. Lewis’ example reminds us that civil rights should not be decided by the majority at the ballot box. Ensuring civil rights is the responsibility of our leaders—our courts, our legislators and our executives. When any one of them fails in their responsibility, all of us have a responsibility to join the fight to ensure justice.”
- Asbury Park Press Editorial: "The civil rights movement succeeded in this country in large part through the soaring eloquence of those with visions of a better world. Christie’s rhetoric too often lacks both vision and eloquence. It’s frequently just mean. And it gets in the way of getting things done."
Christie Continues Childish Name Calling
- Chris Christie responded to Assemblyman Reed Gusciora's criticism by calling him a "numbnuts".
- Bloomberg: "Christie said that while he was willing to apologize for his civil-rights remark, he wouldn’t do the same for his use of “numbnuts.” He said his mother used to use the name for him."
- Assemblyman Gusciora responded to Christie's name calling: “The governor constantly reverts to name calling when he is unable to address issues on their merits."
- A look back on Christie's history of schoolyard name calling.
Continued Calls for Transparency at the Port Authority
- The Assembly Transportation Committee released a package of four bills aimed at making the Port Authority more accountable and transparent.
- Assembly Deputy Speaker Wisniewki, Chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, commented on the need for oversight of the Port Authority: "We essentially have an agency funded by tolls and taxpayer dollars more or less operating with no outside oversight. In light of the litany of disturbing news reports about the agency's operations, it seems apparent that a legislative intervention on behalf of taxpayers and commuters is necessary."
- The push for more oversight at the Port Authority came after reports showed dozens of people with ties to Christie's administration received jobs at the Port Authority and in total 50 people were recommended by the Governor.
- A Princeton professor and expert on the Port Authority found that Christie far outpaces previous governors in terms of patronage hires at the Port Authority: "Whereas Christie might have 50 people, the other governors might have four or five."
Delegate Selection Applications Available
If you are interested in becoming a delegate, click here for the statement of candidacy and pledge of support forms. Statement of Candidacy and Pledge of Support forms must be returned by March 12, 2012 for District Level Delegate and Alternate Candidates and June 7, 2012 for At-Large delegate and Alternate Candidates and PLEO Delegate Candidates. Original forms must be returned to the NJDSC at 196 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08608.
- Senators Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez both released statements praising the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation for reversing their initial decision and restoring their funding for Planned Parenthood health services.
- Senator Lautenberg wrote that Christie is wrong on marriage equality: "Make no mistake: We can’t allow the governor’s name-calling to distract us from the real issue here, which is that civil rights are achieved through legislative and judicial action — not at the ballot box."
- Senator Menendez hailed the Senate Banking Committee's approval of the Iran Sanctions legislation: “This legislation will thwart the work-arounds that Iran has devised to circumvent the U.S., EU and UN sanctions regimes, tighten the noose on the Iranian government, and send a message to the world that there is a choice – you can either do business with Iran or the United States, but not both."
- Congressman Rob Andrews announced a $7.5 million federal grant to create 115 teaching jobs in Camden County.
- Congressman Frank Pallone announced that the Atlantic Highlands First Aid and Safety Squad has been awarded federal funds for improved equipment and training opportunities.
- Congressman Rush Holt lead the fight in Congress to prevent active-duty, reservist, and veterans suicides, and New Jersey now leads the way in combating soldier suicides.
- Congressman Bill Pascrell highlighted a report showing that extending the payroll tax cut though the end of 2012 would saving Bergen County families $1500.
- Congressman Steve Rothman appeared at a rally sponsored by the Bergen County Division of Senior Services to support the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act.
- Congressman Donald Payne, Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, announced that the CBCF's internship program has been expanded to include a partnership with the White House.
- Congressman Albio Sires announced a nearly $1 million grant for the Jersey City Housing Authority.
- Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Oliver urged the Governor to restore funding for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
- Senate Majority Leader Weinberg and Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald introduced a bill that seeks to restore $38 million in Medicaid cuts made by Governor Christie last summer.
- Senator Fred Madden's bill to allow organ donors to take a deduction against their gross income in their taxes has cleared committee and will now go to the floor for a full vote.
- Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman introduced legislation to raise New Jersey's compulsory school attendance age to 18.
- Senator Richard Codey's "Yellow Dot Program" legislation, which allows motorists to place a yellow dot sticker on their plates if vital medical information is contained in their glove box in the event of an accident, cleared committee.
- Assemblyman Tim Eustace's bill banning the emptying of unused prescription medication into public water and septic systems passed committee and will head to the full Assembly for a vote.
Support the New Jersey Democratic State Committee
We will continue to have updates about news from our elected officials and the many campaigns across the state. There will certainly be more to come next week. Have a great weekend.
John Wisniewski, Chairman
New Jersey Democratic State Committee