The NJDSC Week In Review for November 25, 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:
A Time To Give Thanks
- Chairman Wisniewski issued the following statement on Thanksgiving: “Each year at Thanksgiving, Americans gather with family and friends to give thanks. In both good times and bad, we pause to remember that there are always blessings in our lives for which we should be grateful. Among them are the freedoms we hold dear, the dedication and commitment of the servicemen and women who put their lives at risk to secure those freedoms, and the family and friends who give us sanctuary and comfort. On this holiday, I also want to express my personal appreciation to those of you who have helped make this a successful and rewarding year, and to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.”
- Congressman Pascrell: "I wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! And thanks to Eva's Kitchen, and its many generous volunteers, who are helping to serve Thanksgiving dinner today".
- Senator Lautenberg Tweet: Proud to help the great staff and volunteers @EvasVillageNJ serve #Thanksgiving meals today.
- News 12 Video with Senators Lautenberg and Menendez serving food for Thanksgiving at Eva's Kitchen.
Christie Attempts to Justify Tax Cuts For the Rich
- Star Ledger Editorial: Gov. Chris Christie attempts to justify tax cuts for the rich - The Treasury report is a weak attempt to support the governor’s ideology with twisted data and a rigged survey. When Christie raised taxes on the working poor by cutting their credits, he told us he had no choice because the state could not afford it. He said the same when he cut programs for the poor. Back at you, governor. If we have to pinch the paychecks of cashiers and janitors, and throw people off state health care plans, then your pals in the executive suites will have to live without a tax cut. Even if that hurts your political career.
- Senate President Sweeney: “We’d love for the Governor to tell the Republicans that they’re allowed to speak and they’re allowed to take action because they haven’t been up to this point. The people of New Jersey are trying to express to the Governor, ‘we get shared sacrifice, but how about we get everyone in, including your friends?’”
- Courier Post: Wealthiest aren't paying fair share.
- Moran: Sen. Steve Oroho misses point on income surtax for rich - A propaganda study released last week by the Treasury claimed there was a reaction, but the data in their own studied showed it was not true. The exodus of wealthy people actually slowed considerably in 2005, after bumping upward in 2002, two years before taxes were hiked. At the end of the study, even its author conceded that he cannot show a causal relationship in that mess.
- Inquirer Editorial: But just like some of his Republican counterparts in Washington, Christie seems to feel it's his job to protect millionaires. The governor strenuously has argued that New Jersey's wealthy would flee the state if their income taxes were raised. But a recent analysis in the National Tax Journal, and a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, refute that notion. Christie also says he's standing up for those small-business owners who include their corporate finances when filing their personal income taxes. But unlike people who work for someone else, they can change how they file to avoid the millionaires' rate.
- Letter to the Editor: “A loophole so big helicopters fly through” (Nov. 20) tells us about executives in New Jersey’s top companies who commute by helicopter to their homes in Pennsylvania. They do this because of a compact between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It allows those multimillionaires to pay less income tax than if they paid their taxes at the New Jersey rate. Normally, taxes are paid in the state where the income is earned. We are told that rescinding the compact would be harmful to residents in southern New Jersey who work in Pennsylvania and also pay at the lower tax rate. This means the rest of us are carrying our fair load, along with the load the millionaires should be paying.
Democrats Celebrate Swearing in of Bergen Clerk
- The Record: Top Democrats from throughout New Jersey converged on the chilly steps of the Bergen County Courthouse in Hackensack on Tuesday for the ceremonial swearing-in of County Clerk John S. Hogan. Hogan, the first Democrat to be elected clerk in 23 years, vowed to modernize record-keeping in the office. “Government must change; it can not be business as usual,” Hogan told a crowd of nearly 300 friends, family and elected officials from both parties. “We must think outside of the box, plan intelligently and put to use many of the tools that have been given to us in this electronic age.”
- Senator Lautenberg: “We saw the rejection of the Republican Party,” Lautenberg said. “With every chance, we have to elect Democrats.”
- Senator Menendez: “He’ll stream-line records keeping,” the senator said, with a nod to Hogan. “He’ll make the office user-friendly. You’ll find John in his office, working hard every day,”
- View more photos from the swearing in.
Assemblyman Singleton Takes the Oath of Office
- PolitickerNJ: Assemblyman Singleton takes the oath of office.
- Burlington County Times: Democrat Troy Singleton was sworn in to office by Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver during a morning quorum call in the Assembly chamber of the Statehouse. Singleton, of Palmyra, took over the 7th District seat vacated last summer by Jack Conners of Pennsauken, who resigned to become Camden County’s director of veterans’ affairs.
- Assemblyman Singleton: “One thing stuck with me as I was first going to do this in April,” said Singleton, 38, of Willingboro. “I sat down with Lizzy Morris, who’s the longtime matriarch of Burlington County Democratic Party politics. She’s in her 90’s now, and what she told me was ‘there’s no substitute for hard work.’ I took that to heart, and knocked on 4,700 doors. Standing here now I can confirm, ‘there’s no substitute for hard work.’ These are the types of things that came back to me today. Our focus first and foremost now must be employment,”
- Assemblyman Greenwald said he was honored to see a former legislative staffer like Singleton rise to become an elected colleague: “No one will hit the ground running faster than you.”
- Blue Jersey with Video: Troy Singleton sworn into the General Assembly.
NJYDA President Elected President of YDA State President's Association
- Congratulations to New Jersey Young Democrats President Chris James, who was elected President of the Young Democrats of America State President's Association at their meetings in New Mexico.
Christie Wants More Bonding Without Voter Approval
- The Record: The governor — a fiscal conservative who once said new debt should not be issued without voter approval — needs the borrowed money because he wants to spend $8 billion over the next five years to upgrade New Jersey's aging transportation infrastructure, and he won't have enough funds coming in just from the state budget or outside sources such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to do so. He also wants to skip getting public approval for the debt, even though more than 1 million New Jersey voters authorized an amendment to the state constitution in 2008 that significantly limits any new borrowing without voter consent. But Democratic lawmakers who have listened to the governor lecture them on how the borrowing and spending habits of his Democratic predecessors eroded state finances have to yet to fully embrace his view that the issue shouldn't go before voters. And they remember that Christie, as a candidate in 2009, said "We should not be borrowing any more money without voter approval," when asked about issuing new school construction bonds.
- The Record: Moody's is maintaining the New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s negative credit outlook, citing Governor Christie’s decision to divert money from the authority to prop up state transportation spending as a factor.
- Bloomberg: The New Jersey Turnpike Authority collected $845 million in the first nine months of 2011, 6 percent below targets, according to a financial report. Toll revenue was $710 million, $43.4 million below projections.
New Jersey Lagging Behind Other States in Job Creation
- Capitol Quickies: Combining private- and public-sector job performance, New Jersey’s growth rate since Christie took office in January 2010 of 0.42% ties for 45th out of 51, ahead of only Georgia (the only state to have lost jobs in that span), Nevada, Missouri, Kansas and Rhode Island.
- Assembly committees on Monday will consider renewed legislation to create the Back to Work NJ job creation program and bills to help employers stave off layoffs.
- New Jersey Newsroom: As lameduck period begins, Assembly panel to consider 'Back to Work NJ' job training bill.
- Senators Lautenberg and Menendez announced the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has awarded grants totaling more than $10 million for the repair and reconstruction of state and federal roads in New Jersey that were damaged by Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, and flooding in August.
- Senator Menendez joined federal officials who awarded New Jersey a $5 million grant to develop regional economic plans for 13 northern counties to attract businesses and jobs to areas with solid residential communities and good transportation systems. U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shawn Donovan announced the award of a Sustainable Community Regional Planning Grant to the Rutgers University Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy in New Brunswick.
- Senator Lautenberg joined colleagues and commended Major League Baseball (MLB) and the MLB Player’s Association for taking action against smokeless tobacco use both on and off the field. But Congressman Pallone said he was dissappointed that they did not go even further, banning smokeless tobacco altogether.
- Heading into the year’s busiest travel holiday, Senator Menendez is calling on Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to mandate an advance listing of all fees that go into airline ticket prices, and to bar any fee increases once the sale is made.
- Senator Lautenberg and Congressman Pascrell have reintroduced a bill clarifying student loan obligations that was initially introduced by Congressman Adler.
- Senator Menendez urged residents to shop locally in the holiday season.
- Congressman Andrews: Restraining defense spending could protect fiscal house, national security.
- Paramus Post: Representative Runyan Votes To Cut Jobs And Slash Social Security, Medicare And Medicaid.
- Star Ledger: N.J. GOP Congressional delegation OKs bill on concealed weapons.
- In this video clip, Congressman Holt calls on the United States government to "recognize winners" in the energy industry.
- Congressman Rothman and Senator Sarlo are calling for a comprehensive health study — including medical exams — of residents who live in a Garfield neighborhood that sits atop a plume of cancer-causing chromium.
- Congressman Andrews announced that the United States Department of Transportation has awarded a $1.46 million grant to New Jersey Transit to better serve South Jersey Veterans’ transportation needs and create high-tech jobs. The money will be used to modernize the Camden Travel Management and Coordination Center (TMCC) with new in-vehicle technology, including cameras and computers that will help drivers locate passengers.
- Video: Congressman Holt interviews with Fang Wong, the national commander of the American Legion, as part of the Library of Congress’s ongoing Veterans History Project.
- Congressman Payne will take part in the opening ceremony of the Centre of Freedom in Tiblisi Georgia.
- Congressman Rothman spoke at a reception with Korean Ambassador Duk-Soo Han to celebrate the passage of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA). In his remarks Congressman Rothman, who was a strong supporter of the Korea-U.S. FTA, applauded the passage of the agreement and emphasized the importance of the U.S.-Korea alliance.
- Congressman Holt will host town hall in South Brunswick on Monday.
- Congressman Pallone was joined by leaders from the medical device industry and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as he hosted a roundtable discussion to encourage a dialogue between the corporations and FDA officials at Rutgers University. The forum offered an opportunity for medical device companies and FDA representatives to work together and develop ideas that would grow the medical device industry, create jobs, spur innovation and improve New Jersey’s economy.
- Congressman Pascrell on the failure of the Supercommittee: "I supported the Super Committee's creation after Speaker Boehner rejected President Obama’s $4 trillion deficit reduction proposal. The hope was it would find consensus without the toxic political environment that surrounded the debate over raising the debt ceiling. Democrats offered spending cuts with an expectation that the wealthy would pay more of their fair share of taxes. Republicans refused to entertain any proposal that would make the wealthiest Americans pay one more dime in taxes. That's what ultimately led to the Super Committee's failure.
- A bill sponsored to require the installation of a fire suppression system in new single and two-family homes was released Monday by an Assembly panel.
- Assembly Speaker Oliver hosted a turkey giveaway for residents of the 34th district on Tuesday, November 22. The turkeys were distributed at various locations throughout Essex and Passaic counties.
- Legislation requiring the state to establish standards for exposure limits to mold in residential buildings and certification of mold inspectors and abatement workers was released by an Assembly panel.
- Legislation to improve how money is allocated in New Jersey's job-creating Urban Enterprise Zones was released by an Assembly panel.
- Sweeping legislation to improve evacuation plans throughout the state in preparation for a catastrophic event or natural disaster, such as a hurricane or nor’easter, was released by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
- The state Senate has approved a bill inspired by the murder of Caylee Anthony that would make it a felony to fail to report the disappearance or death of a child within 24 hours.
- Legislation that would require health care facilities to offer flu shots to their employees was approved by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.
- Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats that is intended to spur economic development was released by an Assembly panel. The bills would establish the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program tax credit incentive program for New Jersey-based companies that retain and create new jobs, create a loan program within the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to help small businesses expand and establish the New Jersey Business Action Center to help New Jersey-based companies stay competitive.
- Legislation has been introduced that would require a private adoption agency, a court or the state to maintain a child’s religious upbringing when placing a child with a guardian, into foster care or into an adoptive home.
- An Assembly panel advanced legislation to establish a statewide ovarian cancer public awareness campaign to help increase survival rates among women.
- The State Senate Transportation Committee approved a measure that would establish a maximum average wait time at all MVC agencies.
- Legislation Assembly Democrats sponsored to combat the abuse of a common ingredient in over-the-counter cough and cold medicines was released by an Assembly panel.
- With the holiday shopping season kicking into high gear, Assembly Democrats are advancing legislation to reverse Gov. Chris Christie’s anti-business and anti-consumer law that made it easier for the state to claim unused money orders, traveler’s checks and gift cards.
- NJ Spotlight: Proposed measure would gather basic information about state's homeschooled population.
- Legislation to require state agencies to provide recipients of certain government payments, such as Unemployment Insurance benefits, with the option of receiving money through a paper check rather than a prepaid debit card or direct deposit was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee.
- Assemblyman DeAngelo is encouraging consumers to patronize community retailers as the holiday shopping season gets under way.
- Senator Weinberg wants the Legislature to go on record against "right-to-carry reciprocity" and plans to introduce a non-binding resolution, condemning the legislation as a violation of states' rights and the democratic process New Jersey has followed to ensure the safety of its citizens.
- The chairman of the state Senate’s environment committee has introduced a bill to require that residents be told when and where outdated sewer systems overflow and spill a dangerous brew into New Jersey’s waterways. Under the legislation, cities and towns would have to report sewage spills to the state Department of Environmental Protection within 24 hours. State officials would then be required to alert nearby residents online, through a radio or television announcement, and in a local newspaper.
- Legislation designed to make New Jersey more attractive for businesses and more competitive for good-paying jobs has been introduced.
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