Tag Archive: NJ Legislators

Yo, like what’s up NJ Supreme Court, Chris Christie and Legislators?

Hey yo, NJ Supreme Court, your Pen/Ben ruling is overdue. Or as William Butler Yeats might have said more insightfully:

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre   

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; 

Surely some ruling is at hand.”

Completion of our state budget, solvency of the pension plan, union negotiations, and the welfare of state employees are at stake. Time is running out.  

More from the poet Yeats on our predicaments below the fold.

Housing and Foreclosure Problems Call Out for State and Local Solutions

When Sean McGowan signed a contract to buy a New Jersey home in November, he didn’t expect he’d still be living with his parents nearly a year later.

Former  Bergen County Improvement Authority Chairman Ronald O’Malley pleaded guilty Tuesday to mortgage fraud, falsely claiming in documents of home buyers that they were employees of BCIA. This is just another example of the staggering amount of greed, corruption, misrepresentation, and criminality that worked its way through the housing, mortgage, and foreclosure arenas. Unfortunately for New Jerseyans the impact is devastating to many and to our economy at large.

The Mortgage Bankers Association report showed that New Jersey’s combined foreclosure/seriously delinquent rate – 11.36 percent – is now the third highest in the country. New home sales nationally are at a 5 month low. Home sales and delinquent home owners will take another knock as Bank of America and others have now been allowed by the NJ court to go forward with thousands of pending and future foreclosures after being ordered in December to halt the process due to improperly verifying the accuracy of their documents.


Legislators: “Where Do You Want To Go?”

Okay, this is BillOrr’s proposal, what do you think, Blue Jersey? Agree? Disagree? This is about what’s next. – Promoted by Rosi Efthim

“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? she asked. Where do you want to go? was his response. I don’t know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn’t matter.”  (Lewis Carroll)

Our Democratic legislators do not know where they want to go, but they better come up with an answer soon. In the face of Christie’s proposals, which are staggering in breadth and depth, legislators have only been nipping at the Governor’s heels. They are working on the budget but have reacted forcefully to too few Christie proposals. Their version of the Millionaire’s tax was a tactic, not a strategy nor coherent plan. Indeed, their non-appearance at Trenton’s largest rally only magnifies their indecision and lack of leadership.

Republicans had their “Contract with America.” However simplistic, it has the virtue of summarizing key positions and goals in a way that the public can understand. Democrats, starting with their leadership, need something similar.

To get us through the current economic malaise, below are some of the things legislators can do:

Increase taxes: Within the income tax there are billions of dollars of exemptions, some of which could be curtailed, and a variety of potential increased rates based on income over $400,000.  There are many other taxes the state collects, including corporation, sales, inheritance, gas, insurance, casino, motor vehicle, realty, cigarette, bank, alcoholic beverage, public utility, etc.

Re-alter budget priorities: Reduce expenditures in a Christie priority to have more funds for another priority.  Where new funds are raised through taxes, increase appropriate budget lines.

Take more advantage of federal and foundation grants: For each grant the State has to inject about 25% of the cost but receives 75% which goes into our economy and funds needed programs.

Borrow money: Difficult in today’s environment, but Christie borrows when he fails to fund the Pension Plan or adequately provide for the transportation fund. The feds are a source for loans.

Legislators have been talking individually about what programs or constituencies need more support, but now they must get together and formulate a coherent strategy. Christie has enunciated his plan, drawn his line in  the sand, and gained enthusiasts as a result.  People through a variety of rallies have indicated their concerns. It’s time for Democratic legislators to stop nipping at the governor’s heels and create their own clear, compelling plan – one we can understand and fight for. I expect them to develop soon a good answer for the Cheshire cat.  

NJ Legislators team for Water Protection Law

NJ Legislators Frank Lautenberg, Rob Andrews and Frank Lobiondo have teamed together to help craft the Delaware River Protection Act.  According to the Courier Post Article, the legislation came about following an oil spill of the Athos I tanker in 2004 that dumped 265,000 gallons of tar-like oil on the river….

The legislation more than doubles the cost per tonnage capacity a single-hull ship owner will have to pay to clean up a hazardous spill, from $1,200 to $3,000 per tonnage capacity. The law applies to all ports in the country.

Congressman Andrews said “while the law affects all ports nationwide, it will have a particular impact on the Delaware River, where 80 percent of shipping traffic is crude oil tankers.  Other Provisions of the law include…

Mandatory reporting of objects that are lost overboard (a large anchor that did not belong to the Athos I was recovered near its wreckage);

Create a new committee to report to Congress on ways to improve oil-spill response and prevention;

Establish a pilot project on the Delaware River and bay to recover submerged oil.

These look like good common sense steps, but what do I know.  I’m actually kinda surprised that you don’t have to report if something, oh say an anchor randomly falls overboard.  What do you think?