The NJDSC Week In Review for July 1, 2011
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 and toward the end, some of the upcoming events around the state next week:
- Chairman Wisniewski will appear on News 12's Power and Politics this weekend to discuss the budget. Check your local listings for viewing times in your area.
Christie Vetoes Shared Sacrifice in Budget
- Philadelphia Inquirer: N.J. Democrats offered a budget plan reining in Governor Christie's cuts.
- Star Ledger: N.J. Democratic budget proposal restored funding to Medicaid, provides $50M to public safety fund.
- Atlantic City Press: The Democratic plan proposed to put off plans to close the Vineland Developmental Center and to restore about $47 million for New Jersey's urban enterprise zones. Also, the Democrats called for about $1 billion in aid to school districts, providing money not only for poor urban schools but virtually all districts.
- NJ Policy Perspective: The Democratic budget restored funding for the most vulnerable.
- Senator Menendez and Congressman Pallone praised the Democratic Legislature for refusing to comply with Governor Chris Christie's plan to decimate the state program that provides critical health care services to the needy.
- Philadelphia Inquirer: Christie signs a budget Democrats call 'cruel'.
- Star Ledger: Governor Christie took an ax to the state budget Thursday. What was left was a $29.7 billion spending plan that cuts funding Democrats had sought to add for the state’s financially troubled cities, Medicaid, college tuition programs and suburban schools.
- Line by Line: The Cuts Christie made to the Dems budget.
- Chairman Wisniewski: "The Governor, with his line item veto pen, told New Jersey's hard working middle class families what he really thinks of them. And that's a message that has been sinking in. Just look at the Governor's upside down poll numbers, with women and independent voters abandoning him. While his act may play well for the national crowd in Des Moines, but not well in Dumont where his actions have real consequences to middle class families."
- Senate President Sweeney at PolitickerNJ: The Senate president also decried Christie's absolute veto of the millionaire's tax, saying the governor was "full of it" when he said 71 percent of the people affected by the millionaire's tax are small businesses." Anyone that makes more than a million - net- is not a small business, not in my book," he said. "The governor stands with the wealthy, as he has since he got there."
- Speaker Oliver: "The Governor would rather jeopardize the well-being of the people who elected him to office in order to score points with the national conservative media. A true leader understands that their decisions should be guided by the greater good of our state.
- Assemblyman Greenwald: “The governor had the means and ability, if he put aside his ideology, to provide significant property tax relief, job creation, access to health care and support for schools in our cities and suburbs, yet instead chose to stick to his mantra of tax cuts for millionaires and tough luck for everyone else. You can view video excerpts of Greenwald's floor speech here.
- Senator Codey: “For years I have heard my Republican colleagues say that they are tired of their schools not receiving enough funding. Well we presented them a budget that brought all school districts in New Jersey up to adequate funding. This is what they had been requesting since time immemorial. And what does this governor do? He cuts the funding so that no school district gets the amount it needs. It’s callous, foolish and just plain mean.
- Assemblywoman Riley: “It’s disappointing and shocking that this governor has now twice refused to give New Jersey’s senior citizens a tax break they deserve, yet he continues to safeguard tax cuts for millionaires."
- NY Times: Other major items he vetoed included $50 million to help cities short of cash reverse or avert layoffs of police officers, and wording the Legislature inserted to try to prevent the governor from changing Medicaid eligibility rules. The Legislature voted to expand a tax credit for the working poor and property tax rebates for senior citizens, but Mr. Christie vetoed both items.
- News of Cumberland County: Christie nixes $47M in UEZ replacement; Vineland Developmental Center still up in the air.
- NorthJersey.com: The future of a popular program that provides afterschool activities to students in mostly urban areas is uncertain after Gov. Chris Christie slashed its budget.
- Elizabeth Mayor Bollwage: "Urban municipalities that should have more cops will not, as mayors also lose $100 million in transitional aid,"
- Assemblywomen Stender, Vainieri Huttle, Riley, Wagner and Lampitt deemed Governor Christie's decision to once again veto $7.5 million for women's health care a continued affront to women, children and taxpayers throughout New Jersey.
- Atlantic City Press: Christie cuts $900M., signs budget: Vetoes include ‘millionaire’s tax,’ UEZ funds, bid to save Vineland Developmental Center.
- (Video) Assembly Majority Conference Leader Quigley, and Assemblywomen Watson Coleman and Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) responded to Gov. Christie's use of his line item veto power to strip the FY 2012 Democratic budget of a majority of provisions that would have funded numerous essential services and offered property tax relief to working class families in New Jersey.
- Think Progress: The interview says a lot about Christie’s priorities. He appears to be fine with cutting back on education and social spending out of supposed concerns for cost and is willing to deride public media as a relic of the Soviet Union, but does not seem to have the same qualms about subsidizing a giant corporate mall.
Christie's problem with Independents
- Star Ledger: Poll -Majority of N.J. residents disapprove of Gov. Christie.
- A Bloomberg News Poll showed a 53% unfavorable rating for Governor Christie, 45% said view of him has worsened since he took office.
- New Jersey Newsroom: Residents disapproved of the governor’s positions on a host of issues including cancelling the commuter rail tunnel to New York City, not extending a surcharge on the state’s highest earning taxpayers, and the deep cuts he’s made in education spending. The overall gist of the poll is that people feel Christie has been too extreme in his budget cutbacks, and they don’t want that.
- Patrick Murray at PolitickerNJ: Christie slipping among independents.
- Politifact: Polls measuring the governor’s job approval and favorability ratings all show a dip in the numbers among the most recent surveys.
Rewriting Christie's Political Cover
- Lawrence O'Donnell rewrites Chris Christie's political cover on the Last Word:
Celebrating The 45th Anniversary of Medicare
- Chairman Wisniewski marked the 45th anniversary of Medicare: "For 45 years, Medicare has ensured that grandparents, often living on fixed, limited incomes, would be able to get the medical care they need without living in fear of financial disaster. Yet today, we see Republicans across the country trying to end the program as we know it, meaning seniors would pay more to get less. Democrats will continue fight back against Republican assaults on this essential program that has kept millions of seniors from falling into poverty."
- DNC Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz: "For 45 years, Medicare has offered American seniors the ability to obtain the care they need throughout their retirement and live in a more healthy and dignified way. Though Medicare has evolved throughout the years, the promise we've made to seniors has been unbroken, and through the Affordable Care Act, Democrats have provided greater security to America's seniors by closing the prescription drug 'donut hole,' ensuring affordable access to preventive care and trimming overpayments to insurance companies.
- Senator Menendez tweeted: "With Medicare marking its 45th anniversary today, you have my commitment to fight to make sure it's strong for current & future generations!"
- Congressman Andrews tweeted: "As Medicare celebrates its 45th anniversary, we need 2 remember how many lives it has helped & protect from GOP ruin."
- Paramus Post: Congressman Rothman Celebrates Medicare’s 45 Years.
Marking The 40th Anniversary of the 26th Amendment
- View the Presidential proclamation marking the 40th Annivesary of the 26th Amendment.
- Chairman Wisniewski marked the 40th Anniversary of the ratification of the 26th Amendment that lowered the voting age from 21 to 18: "The importance of young people making their voice heard in government by not only having the right to vote, but excercising that right to influence change as well cannot be understated. Democrats will continue to stand up for the right of young voters to participate and fight efforts by Republicans that attack that constitutional right to vote."
- DNC Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz: "Young voters are a reminder that America’s greatest resource will always be the ability of generations to rise up to the challenges of their time. That is why the Democratic Party and President Obama have actively sought to include young voters in the electoral process and make sure their voice is heard at the voting booth. Youth activism has been particularly important to me--having gotten my start in politics in college and having run for office for the first time at the age of 25, I know first hand how important it is to foster enthusiasm and commitment to public service in young people."
First Latino to serve as US Marshal
- NorthJersey.com: New U.S. Marshal for N.J. is first Latino to serve in that role
- AP: The U.S. Senate has confirmed a former high-ranking New Jersey State Police official as the U.S. marshal for the District of New Jersey. Juan Mattos Jr. becomes the first Hispanic to hold the post. He was serving as an agent for the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office when President Obama nominated him in March. U.S. Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez announced his confirmation on Thursday.
- Senator Lautenberg: "Mr. Mattos has had a distinguished career in law enforcement in New Jersey and will be a strong leader of our U.S. Marshal’s office,”
- Senator Menendez praised Mattos' experience: “The people of New Jersey need someone like him who is whip-smart, aggressive and aimed toward justice.”
GOP Hiding Behind a Cloack of Secrecy
The Auditor: The Auditor has gotten a glimpse at the financing of the Center for a Better New Jersey, a controversial organization set up by Republicans to raise funds for their ill-fated redistricting effort. But it’s a very partial glimpse. Democrats contended it was nothing more than a way for Republicans to supplement their funds for redistricting through undisclosed donors. They compared it with Reform Jersey Now, an organization that promoted Gov. Chris Christie’s legislative agenda and took large donations from companies with hundreds of millions of dollars in state contracts. Unlike Reform Jersey Now, however, the group did not voluntarily disclose its donors publicly, although some lawmakers and congressmen contributed, according to their campaign finance reports. The center won’t show how much it raised and spent from September to April, when the legislative redistricting process ended, until next May.
"An Appearance of Impropriety"
- PolitickerNJ: Charges to be prepared against Rumana.
- Star Ledger: At issue is whether Assemblyman Scott Rumana (R-Passaic) violated the state Legislature's ethics code when he attempted to attend a meeting with the Board of Public Utilities regarding the non-profit Wayne Energy Corporation, of which he was the chairman.
- The Patch: The charges will determine whether Rumana's alleged role in advocating for the Wayne Energy Corporation - in an effort to bring an energy plant to Wayne during his term as a state assemblyman - creates an appearance of impropriety.
- Senators Lautenberg and Menendez applauded the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) $562.9 million loan to Amtrak through the Federal Railroad Administration's Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program. Amtrak will use the funds to purchase 70 high-performance, electric locomotives that are energy-efficient and will enable the company to improve frequency, performance and reliability for regional and intercity routes along the Northeast and Keystone Corridors.
- Senator Lautenberg and colleagues on Capitol Hill want to provide $600 million to the federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. In addition to helping acquire officers and equipment, COPS grants also chip in for new technologies and crime-solving innovations.
- Senator Menendez took to the floor to insist that his “Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act” S. 940 be part of any budget balancing and deficit reduction compromise. (Video)
- NY Times: For Senator Lautenberg, Crusade to Reform Chemical Regulations Is Personal.
- Senator Menendez commented on the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security holding a hearing on the Dream Act, legislation that would give undocumented students a chance to register for legal status if they came here as children, are long-term U.S. residents, have good moral character and complete two years of college or military service.
- Sen. Lautenberg was on NBC Nightly News to discuss the recent security breach at JFK airport. The breach is inexcusable nearly 10 years after September 11th. (Video)
- President Obama reiterated his support for an issue being driven in Congress by U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez while slamming an idea that U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett is advocating.
- Senator Menendez and Congressman Pallone came to the Jersey Shore for the start of the Independence Day weekend to trumpet federal funds recently allocated for beach replenishment.
- Congressman Pallone announced that the Army Corps of Engineers has begun dredging Shark River Inlet in Monmouth County and will continue the work for 10 to 11 days in an effort to improve the safety and accessibility of the busy waterway.
- Residents from across North Jersey who attended a health fair organized by Congressman Pascrell, at St. Joseph’s Wayne Hospital Monday underwent preventive screenings and received educational information on illnesses that ranged from arthritis to heart disease.
- Congressman Sires on Google Antitrust probe: "Over time, complaints have increased regarding Google's anticompetitive behavior, in particular the use of its market power in search to push consumers to its own services. The time has come to seriously look into this issue,"
- Congressman Rothman in the Paramus Post: "This LGBT Pride Month, I encourage all Americans to reflect on the real progress our nation has made, but we must also understand that there is much more work to do. We all need to continue the march towards universal equality and never stop moving our country to fulfilling its promise of forming a “more perfect union.”
- Congressman Holt announced the names of the students from the 12th Congressional District of New Jersey who will attend the U.S. military service academies beginning this fall.
- Congressman Andrews tweeted: GOP Plan = Bring back the 1920's - only the Rich can own a home, go to college, get healthcare, live to be 80.
- Congressman Pascrell joined other federal and City of Paterson officials in opening the Belmont Senior Apartments, which provide 85 units of affordable housing for seniors. The Congressman also announced a $425,491 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for resident support services at the Belmont Senior Apartments and other affordable housing developments in the city.
- Garden State Equality showed this memorial tribute video at their Legends Dinner for Congressman John Adler.
- The DCCC asked why Jon Runyan is hiding on the sideline?
Under the Dome
- Chairman Wisniewski's legislation to return the date of the February presidential primary election to June, saving millions of dollars in elections-related costs, was approved by the Senate and heads to the Governor's desk.
- Legislation to protect New Jersey’s unemployment benefits fund for workers while also helping businesses has been signed into law.
- The state Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation banning the use of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas exploration in New Jersey.
- A bill to keep New Jersey in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative passed the Assembly 43-34 yesterday and now heads to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk.
- An Assembly Panel advanced a bill urging the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reject the administration’s proposal to make significant changes in the Medicaid and NJ FamilyCare programs.
- Legislation which would require the State Comptroller to perform a compliance audit to ensure that municipalities which receive poor marks following a performance audit have taken the proper steps to address waste and abuse within their borders was approved by the Senate by a vote of 26-9.
- A package of bills to make end-of-life care decisions easier for New Jersey families has received final legislative approval and now heads to the Governor's desk.
- Legislation to remove restrictions on the amount of research and development spending businesses in New Jersey could claim against their corporate business taxes was signed into law Thursday.
- An Assembly panel advanced a measure that would repeal obsolete and derogatory state statutes pertaining to the status of women.
- Assembly Democratic charter school reform legislation designed to make it easier to create charter schools while increasing accountability was approved by the full Assembly.
- New Jersey teens caught sending or receiving explicit photos on their cell phones would be placed in an educational program, under a bill that heads to the governor after the Senate passed it 39-0.
- A bill criminalizing a methamphetamine-like powder known as "bath salts" is now in Gov. Chris Christie's hands after it cleared the state Assembly.
- Legislation to extend for two years the moratorium on a commercial development tax kept alive last year by Gov. Chris Christie received final legislative approval.
- Legislation to protect New Jersey homeowners from foreclosure rescue scams by unscrupulous lenders received final legislative approval.
- Legislation to reduce the minimum tax on S-Corporations by 25 percent has been signed into law.
- July 5:
An Evening of Wine Tasting with Representative Rush Holt
5:30 - 7:30 PM
Four JG's Orchards and Vineyards, 127 Hillsdale Road, Colts Neck
$250 Individual / $500 Friend / $1,000 Supporter / $2,500 Host
Or visit www.RushHolt.com/Vineyard
- July 6:
Clifton Sudler for County Executive Fundraiser
Dubliner Pub, Jimmie Leeds Rd., Galloway
- July 8:
Fundraiser for 16th LD Senate Candidate Maureen Vella
Stoney Brook Grill, 1285 Route 28, North Branch
- July 9:
Bruce James Breakfast Fundraiser
Grand Chalet, Rte 23 S Wayne
- July 10:
LD2 Headquarters Grand Opening
950 Tilton Rd, Northfield
- July 13:
Bernice Toledo for Passaic County Surrogate
Mountainside Inn, Hazel St., Clifton
- July 15:
Denise Farina for Freeholder Fundraiser
Chickie and Pete's, Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Twp.
- July 17:
BBQ Fundraiser in Support of Marie Corfield
Home of Sue and Pete Vala, 244 Skillman Rd, Skillman
- July 18:
Colin Bell for Freeholder Meet and Greet
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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