Author Archive: Jason Springer

Lautenberg/Menendez block EPA Nominee

Senators Menendez and Lautenberg today blocked President Bush’s nominee to an Environmental Protection Agency post, saying the administration wants to restrict public access to toxic chemical information in their neighborhoods.

The senators said they placed the hold because of Bush’s proposal to dismantle the toxic chemical “Right to Know Act” that Lautenberg authored in 1986. The senators say the changes would deny thousands of U.S. communities — 160 in New Jersey — full information about the release of hazardous toxic emissions in their neighborhoods.

The Bush administration announced last year that it planned to ease rules on reporting legal toxin releases as a way to reduce the regulatory burdens on companies.  This would be a good place for Junior to start distancing himself from the Bush Administration, but i wont get my hopes up.

News Round-up, Sunday, July 9, 2006

We hope you enjoyed our coverage of the budget process.  This past week, we had 6,627 unique visits, 22,252 hits and 25 new users join Blue Jersey.  On to the day’s news…

  • The Star Ledger has a story about Junior trying to distance himself from our esteemed President.  Maybe he got stuck in traffic trying to get away from that one too.  He could start by distancing himself from the ridiculous idea to privatize Social Security.
  • Congressman Andrews reportedly wants sanctions on North Korea in wake of their latest missile tests.  This just isnt a pretty situation. 
  • Morris County wants to cut congestion on roads by… teaching kids “It’s not cool to drive to school.” Good luck.
  • The NY Times has a story on Mayor Corey Booker’s 1st week in office saying that it inspires hope.
  • The Bergen Record has a story about how NJ is open 24/7 once again.
  • The Atlantic City Press has a story about the budget crisis putting a crimp in lawmaker’s personal lives.  Guess they forgot about the taxpayers, workers and everyone else effected by it.  Maybe they’ll meet the deadline next time.
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer and Star Ledger say now that we have a budget deal, its time to deal w/ property taxes.

  • The Star Ledger also has a long story on what they say is “How a budget dispute became a brawl”.  It’s an interesting read.

    Enjoy your Sunday visiting a state park, buying a lottery ticket, gambling in AC or doing anything else you’ve been waiting for all week.

  • Assembly & Senate Approve Budget and Sales Tax Increase

    The Assembly has approved the increase in the sales tax.  Republican Frank Blee voted in favor of the increase, while 9 Democrats, Jeff Van Drew, Nelson Albano, Linda Stender, Dave Mayer, Paul Moriarty, Doug Fisher, John Burzichelli, Michael Panter and Linda Greenstein voted against the sales tax increase.  The bill was posted for a vote at 3:32am and the vote had to be held open for Joseph Vas and John Wisniewski, both from the 19th District who held out having to huddle with Democratic Leaders before casting votes in favor of the increase

    *Update- The Senate passed the Budget bill 23 Yea to 17 Nea at about 4:15am. Republicans Bill Gormley and Bob Martin voted in favor while Democrat Ellen Karcher voted against the budget.

    *Update- The Senate passed the Sales Tax Increase 22 Yea to 18 Nea shortly after they approved the budget. 

    *Update- The Assembly began debate at 4:30am on the budget. As they began debate, the sergeants at arms handed out the budget packet to the members.  All these Republican legislators are bitching about how NJ is still closed while they waste time hearing themselves speak listing all the money we are losing, how ironic.  Finally, the Assembly votes to approve the budget at 5:39am by a vote 44 Yea to 35 Nea.

    NJN says the Governor will hold a press conference at 6:00am and the Courier Post Reports…

    Gov. Jon Corzine intends to sign an executive order within the hour after its expected passage, lifting the shutdown of non-essential state government services.

    Thats all folks.  Below the fold you can see what was approved by the Legislature this morning again courtesy of the Courier Post.

    Junior’s Latest Hypocrisy

    Tom Kean Jr. didnt even wait for his speech on the floor to issue a press release with a letter he sent calling on the Governor to limit so called “christmas tree” items in the budget.  The letter said in part…

    I ask, on behalf of all taxpayers, that you will join me in calling for the leaders of both houses to bring an end to this unconstitutional practice and, should they ignore our calls, that you, as Governor, will exercise your line-item-veto to remove any Christmas tree items from the budget.

    Many would say he is right with this call, but he had the opportunity to truly put his words into action serving on the Senate Budget committee actually voting against the bill and being part of the debate(Republican Assemblymen Kevin O’toole & Joe Malone made this same request on the record during their committee meeting).  Instead he asked to be replaced by Senator Gormley who supported the budget and said in the Star Ledger…

    “Get along with the governor.  Get along with the governor.  Get along with the governor.” explaining “there are three basic rules for surviving the statehouse.

    Rather than cutting and running from the budget battles to raise money for his next conquest, he could have stayed, fought and done his duty as a member of his party and the committee.  He chose to run while taking pot shots at the people he left behind to solve the states problems. 

    Then he attacks Senator Menendez for not taking a stand as a Federal Candidate on the State issue he was responsible for as a state officer but ran from.  His hypocrisy amazes me sometimes.

    Friday Night Budget Debate Open Thread

    The Legislature will debate and vote on the budget probably tonight/early tomorrow morning.

    The Senate is scheduled to go into session at 9:00pm and the Senate Budget Committee is meeting now.

    The Assembly Budget Committee was supposed to begin meeting at 6:30pm with the full Assembly going into session later this evening.

    You can view or listen to the live proceedings depending on the House by clicking here. Or you can watch on NJN Online

    What’s dissapointing is that if you listen to the Senate Budget Committee, you wont be able to hear Junior because he gave up his vote on the Senate Budget Committee to raise money for his campaign.  I’m sure he will make a nice speech on the floor tonight and conveniently not mention that he cut and run from the budget committee to sit and wait in traffic.

    The floor is yours…

    Lets Get Ready to Gamble

    The Courier Post is reporting that Casino’s in Atlantic City might re-open friday night…

    Joseph Corbo, president of Casino Association of New Jersey said Thursday night the governor’s office has told him Atlantic City casinos should be open Friday night.

    The article went on…

    Corzine said once a budget bill passes both houses, likely before Saturday morning, “We will begin an orderly process of reopening all facets of government and the private sector that have been unfortunately forced to shutter.”

    Stay tuned to Blue Jersey for continuing updates on the budget situation…

    Special Session Open Thread

    The Speaker has just called the Legislature to order and the invocation/pledge of allegiance are completed.  The Governor has just arrived, introduced by Senate President Codey

    You can follow the session online at NJN here and give us your feedback on what you think is going on in this thread.

    *Update-  In the post speech stand up over the chamber, Jim Hooker of NJN was standing w/ David Rebovich and received a press release flyer from the Assembly Dems saying they dont believe ANY sales tax increase is necessary and Codey Agrees.

    *Clarifying 1st Update-  PocketAces points out that What the Assembly put out was not a press release, but a three point flyer about the special session.  The claims about Codey came from a mischaracterization of a line from today’s Ledger story in which Codey described one of many compromise ideas put forth during their meeting and immediately shot down.

    *Another Update-  Here is a text of the Governor’s speech and Carla Katz of the CWA just informed Jim Hooker on NJN that the 45,000 furloughed state workers will be able to apply for unemployement. 

    Lets Spend the 4th in a Special Session

    I just caught the tail end of a press conference where Governor Corzine signed Executive Order 18, ordering both houses of the Legislature into a Special Session tomorrow morning. You can read his press release here.

    Pursuant to my authority under the New Jersey Constitution, Article V, Section I, Paragraph 12 and Article IV, Section I, Paragraph 4, I am hereby convening Special Sessions of both Houses of the Legislature for Tuesday, July 4, 2006 at 9:00 a.m., and for each day thereafter, until such time as this call shall be revoked, in order to pass a balanced General Appropriations Law for Fiscal Year 2007 and to consider legislation that is related to the State budget. I have determined that the public interest requires these Sessions in order to expedite the enactment of a General Appropriations Law for Fiscal Year 2007 and thereby end the current state of emergency caused by the failure to enact such a law by July 1, 2006.

    State Chairman Joe Cryan acknowledged in a post press conference interview that the Governor has thrown down the gauntlet to the legislature.

    Apparently rather than spending the 4th of July celebrating the birth of our country, our Legislators will join together in Trenton to hear an  address from the Governor while they work to solve the shutdown of our State.

    Earlier in the day, Speaker Roberts stated

    From PoliticsNJ-he will permit a vote on Gov. Jon Corzine’s budget if the Governor can provide him with a list of 21 Senators and 41 Assemblymembers who support it.  “If the Governor can demonstrate that legislative support is there, then I will post his sales tax bill in 24 h

    **Update- You can see what the papers are saying here, here, here here and here.

    Also, you can see the tally of the Democrats and where they stand on the budget for the Senate and Assembly.

    (Digg this story)

    Turmoil in Trenton

    It was the interview that threw a budget already on life support into turmoil ending in an almost confrontation at the State house.  On a Radio show Tuesday night, Governor Corzine threatened to VETO any budget that didnt have a increase in the state sales tax.

    Yesterday, things took a rather interesting turn. You had the Democratic Chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee reportedly having to be separated from the Chairman of the Democratic State Committee by the former Democratic Speaker of the house…

    The scene inside the building had all the makings of a low-budget movie. To hear the witnesses tell it, the only thing that stopped Cryan from clocking Greenwald was the imposing presence of Sires. “Cryan was as close to Greenwald as I am to you,” Assemblyman Kevin O’Toole told me as we discussed the morning’s events in the hall, standing about a foot apart.

    O’Toole, an Essex County Republican, had a ringside seat for the Democratic donnybrook. Cryan lunged at Greenwald, O’Toole said, after the South Jersey representative called for state Treasurer Bradley Abelow to be summoned to the session.

    So now the Senate has a legislative session with no budget bills scheduled for tomorrow. The Assembly budget committee has scheduled a meeting with the State Treasurer(not like the didnt have a couple months to talk or anything)so that the Assembly Budget Chair can get answers as to why the Governor has said he will Veto any budget without a sales tax increase. 

    As for the Governor, he’s making plans to shut down the government so get your lottery tickets now. And all us taxpayers are left wondering what the hell is going on while the papers call this a Budget on the Brink.  Obviously they’ll pass a budget, I just wonder when and what it will look like.

    News Round-up, Sunday, June 18, 2006

    Happy fathers day to everyone…

  • Geico claims its rating practice of using a driver’s job and education are legitimate criteria but some contend it raises claims of bias.
  • A bill in the NJ Assembly, A2064 would allow cameras only at accident- or fatality-prone intersections and limit photos to rear license plates.
  • The Bergen record has a story about the amount of overtime worked by state employees over the last 3 years saying that last year, nearly half the state’s workforce of more than 80,000 put in extra hours.
  • The Star Ledger discusess net neutrailty about the trust me method being employed by telecoms saying

    It looks like a home run for the telecom companies, which have spent billions of dollars deploying high-speed fiber optic lines across the country. They demand freedom to offer premium services — heart monitoring, perhaps? — and promise they won’t rile consumers by blocking content.

  • The Star Ledger yesterday had a story about a private meeting which got heated with “voices raised” where Assembly leaders told Gov. Corzine the sales tax hike is dead and he should move to plan B.
  • Junior has finally decided to respond to the comments made by Senator Menendez on Friday morning in Atlantic City, at a meeting of the New Jersey Association of Counties.
  • More tough times for camden schools as crime probes and a test-score scandal are bringing calls for the superintendent’s resignation.
  • A 2nd person has died and 39 have been sent to hospitals as a result of tainted heroin. The NJ Senate is currently discussing in their Health Committee a needle exchange bill, which SJ Brian has covered here on Blue Jersey, however that will not help you if its tainted.