Happy New Year to all our BJ readers. We have so many challenges ahead and together we have to gather strength, focus and discipline. But I’m starting with a few of my goals closer to home before we get to the national scene.
THE PORT AUTHORITY: An agency with a budget bigger than 26 states, paid for in part with the tolls and fees to New Jersey residents. Our big battle to make sure there is a place and adequate funding in the PA capital plan for a new bus terminal in Manhattan to accommodate the 115,000 people who go in to New York every morning and the 115,000 who return each night to New Jersey. Plans must accommodate the large increase in ridership predicted for the future. We must all stands up to Gov. Cuomo’s attempt to undermine the leadership and integrity of Chairman John Degnan who has been a courageous leader for the people of our region.
OPRA/OPMA: We must bring this law into the 21st century. All kinds of roadblocks have been put in the way – some from my own colleagues and others from the League of Municipalities – but with your support I will be working toward the magic 21/41 votes needed to pass. As soon, as the updated version is ready and in front of committee I will keep you posted and hopefully you can join in support. Particularly, as we see the attempt to undermine newspapers in our State, this vehicle for the right of the public to know what the government is doing at all levels, becomes more important.
EARNED SICK LEAVE: Still trying to reach accommodation with the Assembly leadership on the idea of pre-emption. Since we have proposed an extremely strong sick leave bill with the input of the advocates, we are hooping to have the Assembly join us in the push for one statewide law rather than a myriad of confusing local ordinances.
PAY EQUITY: Working with my counterparts on the other side of the aisle on one more chance at compromise. If not done in the next couple of weeks, you will see an override post to the Governor’s veto.
Of course, budget priorities, TTF priorities, taxes, pension underfunding and a host of other issues will be before us in the Legislature during the next year. The preceding just gives you a view of some of my own personal priorities in addition. So Happy New Year, take care of yourselves and keep your voices heard in New Jersey.