The NJDSC Week In Review for July 22, 2011
"The State Will Be Spending Far Less On Property Tax Relief Under Christie"
- The Record took a closer look at Christie's claims of success and finds that despite the Governor's claims of increased tax relief, "the state will be spending far less on property tax relief under Christie this year than it did during prior administrations when property tax bills averaged under $7,000."
As Christie travels... Governor to raise his own national profile campaigning in Iowa AGAIN
- Some of the wealthiest GOP donors continue to beg Chris Christie to run in 2012.
- Chris Christie will again travel to Iowa to campaign on Monday with extremely conservative Congressman Steve King, but he's only interested in being Governor of NJ, right?
- WSJ: "Mr. Christie's political shelf-life is limited."
Christie tries to fool seniors, but the facts that he omits tell a different story
- Before the Governor took office, published media reports said that 2010 funding for the senior freeze program under Democrats was $191.5 million. Then last year, the Governor froze the Senior Freeze program and cut funding to $165 million. That meant participants received the same amount they got the year before, even if their property tax bills went up. So seniors were paying more under Governor Christie because of his cuts last year. This year, the Governor is now traveling around the state engaging in his own theater and part of his script involves telling seniors they are better because of “his” budget. The full story is that the Governor’s initial budget proposal in February made additional cuts on top of last year’s pain, decreasing funding to $140 million. That represented d a $25 million cut to the Senior Freeze program. The increase that seniors will receive this year, which the Governor is trying to take credit for, was one of the few items that was introduced in the Democrats budget that he didn’t veto, a fact the Governor conveniently omits.
- Chairman Wisniewski responded to Republican attacks on Assembly Democrats for trying to help seniors: "Today’s release from the Republicans is an insult to the specialty care nursing home clients and others who took the time to express their concerns about the impact the Governor's cuts will have on their ability to provide necessary services to New Jersey seniors. The cuts are a fact and no matter how many creative, misleading headlines and talking points the Republicans come up with, nothing can change that fact. If they are embarrassed by the impact of their cuts, they should start standing up to their Governor instead of walking in lockstep behind his callous actions."
Continuing To Examine The Impact of Christie's Budget Cuts
- 6 residents of a non-profit facility for young disabled adults testified at Assembly Budget, one concerned an anticipated 3% cut in funding will affect services, with less-frequent physical therapy or a cut-off of transportation he receives as he pursues a college education.
- CBS Philly: NJ Lawmakers Examine Effects Of Budget Cuts on Those In Need.
- Philadelphia Inquirer: Christie budget cuts damaging, witnesses say at Assembly hearing.
- Asbury Park Press: It was the second special hearing called by the Democrat-controlled committee this week, with this one highlighted by charges that Christie has made cuts of $25 million from nursing homes and $4.65 million from specialty care nursing facilities and line-item vetoed $13 million to protect Medicaid and Medicare patients from higher co-payments and to ensure they have access to drugs not included in Medicare and $11 million to keep the aged, blind and disabled population out of managed care.
- Sometimes the real story is hidden right under our nose: "Can I get my braile (teacher) now?"
- Spotlight Video: Voicing Concerns Over Budget Cuts.
- Speaker Oliver on Christie's rhetoric about Transitional Aid: "Assembly leadership is of course willing to review the Governor's proposal, but we also will want to see the money go directly to cities, not into building a new layer of bureaucracy that obliterates local autonomy. Despite the governor's rhetoric, the DCA has always retained proper oversight authority. Language providing for oversight remained untouched in the budget. In fact, I've made clear that fiscal accountability is always a priority, though these cities that are under constant fiscal stress need a level of independence to decide how best to serve residents."
- Video: Assembly members Benson and Riley discussed the cuts Gov. Christie made in the FY 2012 Budget to vital programs for senior and disabled New Jersey Residents.
- Assemblyman Schaer: "By vetoing the Millionaire’s Tax, Governor Christie has indirectly raised taxes on the majority of property taxpaying New Jerseyans while giving a cut to the wealthiest residents of our state. In addition to cold-hearted cuts to blind children, college students, seniors and the disabled, I remain disturbed by the moral vacuum with which the Governor sees his stewardship of New Jersey."
- Assemblyman McKeon: “Supporting nursing homes and specialty care nursing facilities for our senior citizens is a core New Jersey value. We understand the budget difficulties, but our responsible plan made caring for our most vulnerable seniors a priority, as it should always be..."
- Video: Assembly Human Services Committee Chairwoman Vainieri Huttle discussed the cuts Gov. Christie made to vital programs for the neediest children in the state.
- Yep, this year’s budget indeed funds Senior Freeze and PAAD --- thanks to Democrats.
- Assemblymen Moriarty and Burzichelli welcomed Governor Christie's late-game admission that the democratically led effort to restore property tax relief for seniors and disabled residents was the right thing to do.
- Star Ledger Editorial on Christie's cuts to public safety funding for more firefighters and police officers: "The governor, while pushing his educational reform, insists no one’s destiny should be determined by their ZIP code. If he truly believes this, he should find the money to help the besieged urban ZIP codes."
- Gloucester County Times Editorial: Holding new hearings about new cuts made by the governor is not double jeopardy. It’s appropriate oversight of a power held by the most powerful chief executive in the 50 states.
- Assemblywoman Quigley: "It’s not surprising that this governor’s office considers testimony on cuts to vulnerable children and senior citizens to be a waste, but that doesn’t make its continued insensitivity any less disturbing. It’s very disappointing that the lieutenant governor would join in on such let-them-eat-cake rhetoric."
- Christie budget slashed $25 million from Judiciary Funding: For the second year in a row, Gov. Chris Christie’s budget cuts will reach into the state’s courthouses, forcing judges and their staffs to tighten their belts and delay plans for modernization.
- Elizabeth Mayor Bollwage on Transitional Aid: good, now let's make a deal and restore UEZ funding.
- Assemblyman Barnes on Christie cuts to legal services for the poor: "We need to weigh the impact of these cuts because, after all, this is a matter of fairness..."
N.J. Senate Republicans who supported restoring funding to social services later voted against them
- Star Ledger: In the weeks before the budget battle engulfed Trenton, Senate Republicans tried to restore millions of dollars in funding to social service programs only to see their support wilt under the partisan flame, according to documents obtained by The Star-Ledger. Records show the same Republicans who initially supported increasing funding for items such as programs for the visually impaired, nursing homes and tuition and legal assistance for the poor ended up voting against similar increases when Senate Democrats tried to override the governor’s vetoes earlier this month. Republicans supported the increases through budget resolutions submitted to the Office of Legislative Services in early June.
- Senate Republicans were for funding before they were against it.
Christie continues to plummet in polls, 62% of moderates disapprove
- PPP Poll: Most New Jersey voters now disapprove of Christie- 53% disapproval to only 43% who approve.
- More from the Poll: Self-described moderates gave the Republican chief executive a much bigger thumbs down, 62 percent disapproval to 34 percent approval. "Christie's popularity has fallen considerably over the last few months," noted PPP President Dean Debnam.
- Star Ledger: Gov. Christie disapproval rating jumps to 53%.
- Blue Jersey: PPP poll shows Christie collapse continues.
- New Jersey Newsroom: Christie's popularity with New Jersey voters has declined significantly.
- Chris Christie's poll numbers drop again in NJ, but billionaires still begging for him to run in 2012.
- Courier Post: Poll - Christie ratings falling.
- Poll: Gov. Chris Christie's star dimming in NJ.
"Christie left a mangled mess for abused children and Political allies"
- PolitickerNJ on Christie's cut in Wynona House Funding:A Democratic operative close to leadership spoke with one of the top-level officials in the Christie Administration following the vetoes, and when the source asked about Wynona’s House, the official discussed several funding options, none of which were Title IV-E reimbursement funding. Christie said the funding was already in place at that time. Another Republican legislator also found gaps in the story Christie has told since his return, and said the GOP caucus – or at least a significant portion of the caucus – has had enough of Christie’s “micromanagement to the Nth degree.” Other GOP aides and operatives confirmed the GOP’s aggravation at Christie. One said Christie went beyond what was necessary in budget cuts to make political points on the backs of abused children – and then asked the Republicans to cover for him without the complete story.
NJ Unemployment Rate under Christie rises to 9.5%
- Star Ledger: N.J. unemployment rate grows in June.
- New Jersey Newsroom on NJ Unemployment: ...Job market worsens for state.
NJ Republicans Cut Transit funding
- Senators Lautenberg and Menendez called on Governor Christie to help stop the Republican cuts to transporation funding: “The House Republican proposal would cut federal funding to the state by $3 billion over the next 6 years and has been projected to cost the state 18,000 jobs in the first year. How will this impact your 5-year transportation plan for the state? Can the state make up for this loss of funding without cutting transportation services?”
- All NJ Republican members of Congress supported the House passed bill that would divert money from electrical upgrades on N.J. Northeast Corridor Line
Murdoch hacking scandal continues to grow
- Politico: New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) urged the Justice Department and FBI on Wednesday to revisit a years-old but never resolved allegation of hacking by a News Corp. subsidiary as the law enforcement agencies look at whether the media giant illegally wiretapped U.S. citizens.
- Senator Lautenberg Highlighted Additional News Corp. Hacking Allegations in the U.S. as the DOJ Review Begins.
- New Jersey Newsroom: News Corp. may have tried computer hacking of N.J. company FLOORgraphics, Inc.
- BNET: FGI also alerted former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie (now governor of New Jersey) and former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez asking for an investigation of the hacking. When the company got no response, it asked former U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine, current U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, and U.S. Rep. Rush Holt to write to Christie and Gonzalez again, asking for an update. ( Download the FGI v. News hacking memos here.) Christie’s former commercial crimes chief, Deborah Gramiccioni responded that the case was: …under review by Assistant U.S. Attorneys in our Commercial Crimes Unit. Because the above-references matter may involve fraud, we are also forwarding copies of your letter and the attached information to the Febreal Bureau of Investigation for review. Nothing came of the probe. Gramiccioni, now Christie’s director of state authorities, did not respond to a request for comment.
- MSNBC: The Justice Department is readying subpoenas as part of a probe into allegations that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. attempted to hack into phones of Sept. 11 victims, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday night.
- (Video): Senator Menendez talked about News Corps’ phone hacking scandal and his call for further investigations on MSNBC.
Step Up! 2011 Women's Training
After Christie's Delays, New Jersey Moves Forward with Medical Marijuana
- NJ Spotlight: Gov. Christie Reverses Course on Medical Marijuana.
- Senator Whelan: “While I’m happy that New Jersey will finally be moving forward on the law signed 18 months ago to make medical marijuana available to chronically ill New Jerseyans, I remain concerned that we need to do more to make sure that very sick people have better access to dispensaries in the southern part of the State.
- Assemblyman Gusciora: "The long-awaited green light for New Jersey's medical marijuana program marks a monumental day for people in New Jersey who have been patiently awaiting relief. Roughly a year and a half after the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was signed into law by Governor Corzine, we are now seeing it being put into action."
- AP: The main Democratic sponsors of the bill, state Sen. Nicolas Scutari and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, said there was never any real fear that prosecutors would come after state regulators or patients. "The Mets have a better chance of winning the World Series than a state public official being prosecuted by the feds," Gusciora said.
- Asbury Park Press Editorial: After nearly 18 months of using delaying tactics to block implementation of a bill that would allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, Gov. Chris Christie announced Monday he will allow the state to begin dispensing marijuana to patients who derive a demonstrated medical benefit.
Beachwood appoints Borough's first Democratic woman as Mayor
- Asbury Park Press: For the first time in history, a Democratic woman is Beachwood borough’s mayor. Bonnie Verga was sworn into office as the first Democratic woman to hold the post, according to Bette Mastropasqua, the borough clerk. Congratulations to Mayor Verga!
"Republicans Keep Chanting The Same Nonsense - Without Historical Evidence to Back It Up"
- Star Ledger Editorial: But Republicans keep chanting the same nonsense — without offering historical evidence to back it up. Instead, they want to bring the nation to the brink of default while protecting corporations (who are sitting on billions in profits) and fat cats — while everyday Americans are squeezed by high gas and food prices, plunging home prices and lower wages.
Christie energy plans face further scrutiny
- NJ Spotlight: With hearings scheduled to begin next week on a revamped draft energy master plan, clean energy advocates and a prominent lawmaker called for increasing New Jersey’s efforts to promote solar power and energy efficiency, rather than scale back those goals.
- Assemblyman McKeon cited a study by the Brookings Institute that said 26,000 green jobs were created in New Jersey between 2003 and 2010. “Who, among any of us, is not about creating new jobs?" he asked. "This energy master plan will impede that progress and the continued creation of those green jobs," This plan is short-sighted."
- More from Assemblyman McKeon: “By reducing our renewable energy goals, increasing our dependence on fossil fuels and withdrawing clean energy incentives for consumers while continuing to make them pay for the program, Gov. Christie’s energy master plan would be taking a giant step backwards.’’
- Star Ledger: Companies warn Christie against power subsidies.
- Senator Lautenberg responded after voting against the reckless House GOP budget plan: “The Senate took a stand against the extreme House Republican agenda by voting down this sham bill that would have devastated middle-class families. It is outrageous that while the stakes are so high, Republicans are playing political games and remain fixated on their mission to protect the wealthiest from sharing in the sacrifice. Cutting services like Medicare and Social Security while protecting millionaires, oil companies and off-shore tax shelters is no way to manage America’s balance sheet. We will continue working toward a deal that will include contributions from the wealthiest Americans and responsible spending cuts.”
- Congressman Pallone praised the Senate action to defeat the GOP plan in a tweet: GOP's cut/cap/end Medicare plan is so bad the Senate moved up vote to today to kill it - the fate it deserves.
- Senator Menendez joined a group of 12 members of the House of Representatives who sent letters to federal regulators Wednesday, urging them to make public the upcoming review of loan files at the 14 largest mortgage servicers.
- Senator Lautenberg is fighting to make cancer research a priority as Congress sets funding levels for the upcoming fiscal year. "The medical progress made so far is inspiring, but we cannot let up on the effort until there is a cure for cancer,” he said.
- Senator Menendez congratulated three new firefighters in Ridgewoord, whose hires were made possible with a SAFER grant; a federal funding program that allows for the hiring of first responders
- The Senate passed a Lautenberg Measure to Establish Nationwide September 11th Moment of Remembrance.
- The American Jobs Alliance honored Congressman Pascrell's work in Congress: Throughout his tenure as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, this son of a long-time railroad worker has distinguished himself as a leading voice for America's working families.
- Congressman Rothman:The Republicans' budget proposal is wrong and will hurt our country. It will lead to drastic cuts in Medicare and Social Security, while unfairly protecting tax breaks for those who make millions and billions of dollars in income each year. The Republican plan represents exactly the type of extreme legislation that keeps us from solving our nation’s fiscal crisis.
- The Record: Congressman Pascrell and Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik testified before a joint hearing held by two subcommittees of the House Homeland Security Committee in support of bipartisan federal legislation that will begin implementing the recommendations of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission. "The Weapons of Mass Destruction Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2011," would improve U.S. efforts to prevent, protect, respond, and recover from a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) attack against the United States
- Congressman Andrews spoke with reporters by conference call and said that he believes progress is being made and that a compromise can still be reached in time to avert the “economic catastrophe” of a first-ever government default.
- The House approved Congressman Holt's Amendment providing funds to help prevent veterans’ suicide.
- Congressman Andrews Tweeted: I'm glad the Pentagon has finally seen the light- the repeal of #DADT is on the horizon!
- Congressman Sires helped honor a fallen soldier in Jersey: "Our nation is grateful for the dedication and service Army Specialist Raphael Nieves has given in defending the freedom of the United States of America. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time,"
- Congressman Payne introduced a House Resolution calling on the United States to continue its support to the people of the Horn of Africa during this time of drought and famine.
- On the 37th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus, Congressman Pallone called for Turkey to end the illegal occupation of northern Cyprus and to turn over property that rightfully belongs to the Cypriots and others like U.S. citizens.
Under the Dome
- Assemblywoman Jasey took part in a White House forum on older suburbs.
- Senator Weinberg said that she plans to introduce legislation once the Senate reconvenes to ensure greater oversight and regulation of home-schooling in New Jersey, in order to ensure children receive a decent education and go for an annual medical check-up.
- Assemblywoman Wagner: Shoddy Mvc Service Under Christie Unacceptable: New Jerseyans Wasting Valuable Time Under Christie’s Watch.
- Senator Rice: When it comes to Newark; Christie wants “selective accountability”
- AP: People who intentionally kill police dogs or dogs involved in search and rescue operations are now facing stiffer penalties in New Jersey.
- Senator Girgenti Called on Governor Christie to Immediately Release Details on his Program to Replace Urban Enterprise Zones.
- New Jersey Newsroom Commentary: Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan is a voice for all New Jerseyans.
- Assemblyman Conners: U.S. must not abandon hunt for missing soldiers.
- July 24:
7th Annual Benson Backyard Blast
The home of Assemblyman Benson, 81 Hempstead Road, Hamilton, New Jersey
Suggested Donation Levels: $20.11/$53.50/$80.00
Rain Date: Sunday, July 31st
Garden State Equality and Lambda Legal Marriage Equality Rally
Pier A Park in Hoboken
- July 26
Fundraiser in Support of Freeholder Amy Mallet
Home of Sean Byrnes, 880 West Front Street, Red Bank
- July 27
Cocktail Party for Re-election of Assemblyman Craig Coughlin
Maxwell’s 35, 1159 St. Georges Ave, Colonia, NJ
- July 29
An Evening Reception in support of Senator Bob Menendez
808 Main Street, Asbury Park NJ
Suggested Contribution: $1,000/friend, $2,500/sponsor and $5,000/co-host
The Whelan for Senate and Cooper and Tyner for Assembly
Steel Pier Night Out Reception
Steel Pier, 1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City
$35/pp Adult VIP, $25/pp Adult
- July 30
8:45 AM-2:30 PM
LD 2 Headquarters, 950 Tilton Rd, Northfield
For More Info Call: 609-418-5887
- July 31
Haskell Invitational Fundraiser in support of Bill Shea for Freeholder
Monmouth Park, Oceanport, New Jersey
$65/supporter, $120/sponsor, $250/gold sponsor
Please make checks payable to Friends of Bill Shea for Freeholder, P.O. Box 155, Hazlet, New Jersey 07730
Please RSVP to Maryellen Principe at 732.720.9597
- August 2
Labor Leaders of the 13th District reception in support of Kevin Lavan and Chris Cullen
Assaggini di Roma, 3253 Highway 35 North, Hazlet
RSVP to Joe Caliendo at 732.671.0870
- August 3
Passaic County Central Labor Council Summer BBQ
100 Scales Plaza, Clifton
- August 8
Golf outing in Support of Bill Shea for Freeholder
Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club, 20 Shore Oak Drive, Farmingdale
$250/guest, $500/sponsor, $1,000/silver sponsor and $2,500 gold sponsor
$50 guest dinner with paying golf participant, $75 for dinner only (no golf)
- August 9
Summer Celebration in Support of Senator Nia Gill, Senate President Pro Tempore
Tapastry, “Classic Spanish Tapas”, 12 Church St., Montclair
RSVP Dannielle, 201-636-2176
Support the New Jersey Democratic State Committee
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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