Tag Archive: Jim Florio

The Steaming Load of Crap Award goes to…

…NJDSC Chairman John Wisniewski for putting his name on the following e-mail:

Dear Supporter,

Please join the New Jersey Democratic State Committee for our 3rd Annual Women’s Equality Event honoring County Chairs Charlotte DeFilippo, Elizabeth Muoio, Marguerite Schaffer and Lois Zarish at the home of Marcia Marley on Thursday, August 25th from 6 to 8 pm. Contributions are $91 commemorating 91 years since women received the right to vote.

We are honoring these county chairs who have blazed the trail for all of our women candidates and set an example in their county.  Chairs DeFilippo, Muoio, Schaffer and Zarish embody our Democratic ideals and they work tirelessly to make sure women are on the ballot and to elect Democrats every November.

No other Governor in the country has targeted women in this manner.  Chris Christie has repeatedly displayed a pattern of insensitivity and vindictiveness to the issues that are most important to the women in the state of New Jersey.  He’s used the health of women as a pawn to court the far right of his. The women of New Jersey deserve better.

The county chairs we are honoring have stood up for these issues and supported candidates that stand up for women.  Your support at this event will help enable the NJDSC to better use its resources in this current fight and help train and elect future candidates.

We hope you will join the NJDSC and women leaders from across the state and show your support! To purchase tickets please click here or to RSVP or for more information, please email Heather at hdejong@njdems.org or call 609-392-3367.

Sincerely,

John Wisniewski, Chairman

I have to be honest.  I don’t know anything about Chairwomen Muoio, Schaffer, and Zarish, but there is no doubt in my mind that they are more deserving of their awards than Union County Democratic Chairwoman, Charlotte DeFilippo, who during the decade-plus that I have been involved in NJ politics, has done more to prevent progressive women from being elected to prominent offices than anyone in this state in both political parties.  If Chairwoman DeFilippo is deserving of any award, it should be the Phyllis Schafly Award for her years of disservice to the progressive women of Union County and anywhere else in New Jersey where her influence has had an impact.

I have at least three examples of Chairwoman DeFilippo’s negative actions against progressive women candidates for elected office during this period of time and if this topic interests you, please feel free to continue reading below the fold as I tell the stories of would-be Congresswoman Maryanne Connelly, State Senator Linda Stender, and Assemblywoman Ellen Steinberg.  Imagine if you will that the following stories are accompanied by Arlo Guthrie-style acoustic guitar strumming a la “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” (Unrelated to this issue, I had the opportunity to visit Southbridge, MA recently and found the restaurant that used to be “Alice’s Restaurant” and is now “Theresa’s Southbridge Cafe”).

Governor Jim Florio

I wasn’t a resident of New Jersey when Jim Florio was governor, so I don’t have much first-hand knowledge of his tenure in Trenton. But in my brief interactions with him this year, he seems to be a mensch.

Last night, he received the Alain Daniels Civic Responsibility Award at the Camden Call to Service Summit. Here are the intros and the governor’s remarks.

Should U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg be asked to resign?

Let me preface this conversation by stating that I supported Senator Frank Lautenberg’s re-election campaign during both the primary and general elections last year, but…

1) …after seeing him speak in public numerous times at a dramatically reduced level of performance than in the past…

…and…

2) …after last week’s gubernatorial election results…

…and…

3) …assuming that the aspiring Governors that are currently serving in the State Senate and State Assembly are not going to be willing to rescind the power that the Governor currently has to fill vacated U.S. Senate seats, I think that Democratic Party leaders, electeds, and rank-and-file members should reach out en masse to Senator Frank Lautenberg and ask him to resign his seat.

Thanks for what?

I know that most of this is going to come off like sour grapes because I was a Florio supporter in 2000 and a Codey supporter in 2005 and on both occasions saw Corzine’s money rule the day, because as we all know, in New Jersey politics, money talks and if bullshit is accompanied by enough money, it talks as well, but I need clarification about what exactly we should be thanking soon-to-be former Governor Corzine for?

Is it for buying a Senate seat in 2000?

Is it for turning the balance of power in the state’s political dynamic towards the bosses that backed Jim McGreevey, enabling him to run unopposed in 2001 instead of being challenged by former Morris County Prosecutor, Michael Murphy, who earned the attention of a lot of people during the 1997 Democratic gubernatorial primary as a result of his candor, honesty, and solid, third-place showing in that year’s gubernatorial primary without the support of a single Democratic machine?

The 1993 Playbook That Just Won’t Work

Thus far, the parallels between the gubernatorial campaigns of 1993 and 2009 appear striking.  On the one hand, the Democratic Governor has toured New Jersey in an effort to present bold, politically risky solutions to the enormous challenges confronting state finances.  On the other, Republicans have exploited popular resentment of our state’s high cost of living and opposed efforts to achieve fiscal solvency.  Yet those who think the coming campaign will mirror the anti-tax revolt of 1993 should consider the consequences of that election and its significant impact on our state’s current fiscal health.

On Thursday, New Jersey lawmakers, lobbyists, and business leaders made the annual Chamber of Commerce sponsored train trek to the nation’s capital.  State Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth), rumored to be on Chris Christie’s shortlist of candidates for Lieutenant Governor, criticized Governor Jon Corzine’s handling of fiscal issues.  Pointing out the failure of his asset monetization plan, she asked, “What’s his legacy?”

Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, himself in hot pursuit of the Republican gubernatorial nomination, believes the state’s problems can be solved by implementing tax and spending cuts with the zeal of a “kid in a candy shop.”

Senator Beck, Mr. Lonegan, and their fellow Republicans fail to recall their own party’s legacy of fiscal irresponsibility.  In the aftermath of Christine Todd Whitman’s 1993 victory over Jim Florio, Republicans enacted the very policies that led to our present predicament.  According to a 2001 report published by New Jersey Policy Perspective, Whitman Administration budgets were:

… dangerous to the state’s economic health. New Jersey cut its income tax more deeply than other states and reduced more than 40 other taxes. This tax cutting went along with increased, not reduced spending. So, despite unprecedented prosperity, New Jersey never got its budget in true balance, usually spending $400 million more than its current revenues.

The use of one shot revenue sources, increased borrowing, and the numerous withdrawals from so-called savings accounts ultimately resulted in a reduction of aid to municipalities and an increase in property taxes.  The last time Republicans controlled the State Capitol they robbed Peter to pay Paul, growing the size of government while taking credit for significant cuts in income taxes; cuts that only transferred the burden to towns strapped for cash in the face of shrinking assistance from Trenton.

Governor Corzine announced in his 2008 State of the State Address that New Jersey needed to restructure “our fiscal practices, balance sheet, and most vitally, our culture” or “our options, our priorities, and our future will be continually constrained.”  One year later, he faces criticism over his inability to win passage of proposals such as the monetization plan and pension payment deferrals.  However, upon considering the Governor’s quiet success at reigning in runaway budgets through spending cuts and state workforce reductions, a different picture emerges.

New Jersey’s budget for Fiscal Year 2009 spends $600 million less than it did last year.  That is the largest year to year decrease in state history, and three times larger than any reduction in the past.  Moreover, it dedicates $650 million toward debt reduction, resulting in a savings of $675 million over the next five years.  Perhaps most importantly, this budget moves us closer (from $1.8 billion to $600 million) to eliminating the use of one-time revenue sources, a gimmick employed in the past by Democratic and Republican Governors alike.

According to a recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Mr. Lonegan would veto programs that he believes are wasteful or “out of step with his conservative view.”  Like most of the naysayers in his party, specifics are not the former Mayor’s strong point.  However, the question begs to be asked, where would Republicans cut?  Would they reduce the $16.7 billion – fifty percent of the overall budget – allocated for property tax relief?  Or would they prefer to cut the $11.5 billion allocated for aid to public schools?  

Through consolidation of departments, this year’s budget already reduced the cost of state government by $300 million.  The size of the state workforce has been reduced by 2,000.  Legislative pork in the form of Christmas Tree expenditures have been eliminated.  There are no new taxes, and none of the existing ones have been raised.

The failure of Governor Corzine’s asset monetization program does not erase the significant progress he has made in restoring sanity to fiscal policy.  Christie Whitman won in 1993 because she painted Jim Florio as a tax and spend liberal instead of recognizing him as the pragmatic problem solver that he was.  As the present campaign unfolds, Republicans will look to the same tired playbook.  It is important for Democrats to push back against these criticisms, point out the Governor’s record of responsibility, and remind voters what happened the last time Republicans were in charge of New Jersey’s purse strings.  In some ways, 2009 may resemble 1993, but it diverges in one crucial respect: we know how the story ends.

Gettin’ Bloggy w/ Gov. Florio

In the effort to keep our partisan messages cheerful, I offer up this vlog nugget with Governor Florio.   There are very few people out there who can offer advise about winning a Garden State-wide race, so it was hard to resist the opportunity.

Clinton to pick up 2 more NJ superdelegates?

Hillary Clinton is slated to pick up two additional unpledged add-on delegates when the Democratic State Committee meets later this week to choose add-on and alternate delegates. Sources say that former Governors Brendan Byrne and Jim Florio will be chosen as the two add-on superdelegates. According to a Clinton press release, both endorsed Hillary Clinton last year. Clinton defeated Obama in the New Jersey primary by 54%-44%.

Quote of the Day

So where were these suckers when I needed them?!

Former Governor Jim Florio today in A.C., referring to a sometimes fickle Statehouse press corps, many of whom were praising the ex.-Gov’s fiscal smarts on a recent episode of Michael Aron’s political rountable on NJN. 

The word “suckers” was an admittedly sanitized version of what Florio was really thinking.