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In New Jersey the Attorney General is appointed by, and serves at the pleasure of, the governor. So when NJ AG John J. Hoffman speaks, it's with Chris Christie's full and enthusiastic support.
The New Jersey Attorney General has filed a brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear a challenge to New Jersey's handgun-carry restrictions.
The brief, filed Friday, asks the nation's highest court to dismiss the arguments of John Drake, a Sussex County business owner who says he needs to be armed because he carries large amounts of cash for his ATM business.
The state's gun laws are "a careful grid of regulatory provisions" that only allow carry permits when there is "special danger to the applicant's life," wrote John J. Hoffman, the attorney general.
I must have missed that "special danger" clause in the Second Amendment. Perhaps one of the lurking liberals around here can point it out to me.
"New Jerseys Legislature, long ago, made the predictive judgment that widespread carrying of handguns in public would not be consistent with public safety because of the inherent danger it poses," Hoffman wrote, citing laws as early as the 1790s in restricting firearms in the Garden State.
We used to have laws restricting who could vote, not to mention laws which regulated the buying and selling of African Americans. Would AG Hoffman defend those laws by citing their colonial pedigree?
I should hope not.
Mr. Hoffman, and his boss, need to get in sync with the Constitution. Otherwise somebody might get the idea that Chris Christie wants to abolish the Second Amendment. And then I assure you, no gun-grabber RINO is ever gonna get the GOP nomination for president.
Chris Christie's patented "Jersey Comeback" may need to be rebranded as a plea — "Come Back, please, and bring your money with you." Because despite his attempts to reduce our state's tax burden, the exodus of our wealthy residents continues to escalate.
New Jersey's high taxes may be costing the state billions of dollars a year in lost revenue as high-earning residents flee, according to a recent study.
The study, Exodus on the Parkway, was completed by Regent Atlantic last year but held for publication until after the November 2013 elections. The study stated it "intentionally" held its results "as 2014 is not an election year for state legislators" and it will "hopefully encourage a serious and objective dialogue aimed at addressing and solving the challenges that New Jersey currently faces."
The study shows the state has been steadily losing high-net-worth residents since 2004, when Democratic Gov. Jim McGreevey signed the millionaire's tax into law. The law raised the state income tax 41 percent on those earning $500,000 or more a year.
That millionaire's tax is still on the books. Oh sure, Chris Christie promised us a tax cut. Several times, actually. He just never bothered to deliver on it.
Meanwhile, the Democrats in our state legislature are scheming to double the gasoline tax. All while property taxes and death taxes remain sky high.
No wonder "tax migration" is on a lot of people's minds.
Alas, one can't just move away peacefully. You gotta pay the Exit Tax first. Because there's no way New Jersey can resist one last trick to separate us from our hard-earned money.
We can sweat it out in the streets of a runaway American dream. But champs
like us, baby we were born to run.
One of the most liberal judges in New Jersey found Tony Mack's protestations unconvincing.
Convicted Mayor Tony Mack is in violation of state law and can no longer hold office, Judge Mary Jacobson ruled today.
Granting the request to remove Mack filed by the state Office of the Attorney General, Jacobson said Mack is no longer able hold office effective immediately.
"Once you are found guilty by a jury of your peers not only does the presumption of innocence disappear but with it comes the stigma and the shadow ... of being found guilty by a jury of your peers of crimes of dishonesty," Jacobson said.
Mack had argued that he should not be removed from office until he is sentenced in federal court — where he faces 20 years in prison — or until motions filed by Mack's attorney for a new trial are considered by the federal court.
But Jacobson said it would make no sense to wait for a period of several months before removing Mack from office. She said the state statute to remove him clearly says the removal would be effective at the time a jury returned a guilty verdict.
And from the Media Bias file, nowhere in the NJ.com article does it mention Tony Mack's political party affiliation. Which of course means he's a Democrat. When writing about trumped-up scandals like "Bridgegate" they always remember to put Republican after everybody's name. But Democrats never receive the same recognition.
Replacing Mack in the office of the Mayor will be City Council President George Muschal, who will hold the post until council meets to vote that either he should stay in office until the June or appoint someone else to serve the remainder of Mack's term. A municipal election is set for May when voters will elect a new mayor.
For the record, George Muschal is a registered Independent. He's also going to be the first white guy in 24 years to occupy the Trenton mayor's office. But his tenure will be short-lived because he has no plans to run for mayor in May. That field is already quite crowded, and he's not about to give up his position on the council.
And in the grand tradition of New Jersey double dippers, prior to joining the council Mr. Muschal retired from the Trenton Police Department. He's currently collecting a state pension of $59,583.72 per year, plus his council salary of $21,500. For the next few months he'll bump that up to the mayor's $126,460 annual salary.
Not bad for government work, eh?
Remember when Chris Christie promised us a tax cut?
Yeah, me neither.
Remember when Chris Christie told NJ towns and school districts to cap their budget increases at 2 percent?
It's the law.
So why is he increasing state spending by more than twice that?
The $34.4 billion state budget unveiled by Gov. Chris Christie today makes modest spending increases to schools and Medicaid — and includes a $2.25 billion payment to the retirement fund for public workers, the largest in state history.
The Republican governor's new budget is 4.2 percent larger than the one he signed last year, and relies on revenue growth of 5.8 percent.
Today, the governor repeatedly highlighted New Jersey's tough financial situation and touted a series of spending increases that he managed to eke out, including "a record-setting $9 billion in direct aid to schools." That's an increase of $38 million from the current fiscal year.
"We will ensure that every one of our nearly 600 school districts receives an increase," Christie told lawmakers gathered in the Assembly chamber. He also proposed a $5 million pilot program to study longer school days in New Jersey, and another $5 million for "preschool initiatives."
Yippee ki yay, more money for the teachers union!
Christie's budget plan is also notable for what it doesn't include: a tax cut that the Republican governor had sought for years.
Well sure, he's been hanging out with Obama, so he learned how to play the game.
First, he promises us a tax cut to get our votes. Then, after he's safely re-elected he forgets who we are while thumbing his nose at our wallets.
Tell me again why people call Chris Christie a "conservative?"
New Jersey's public pension system is $47 billion in the hole. But that doesn't derail the gravy train.
In 2010, 992 retired New Jersey public employees pulled in a pension of at least $100,000 per year.
By the end of 2013, that figure had swelled to 1,731 — an increase of about 75 percent.
A new report from New Jersey Watchdog goes into detail on exactly who is getting a six-figure annual payout in retirement, although some still hold other tax-payer funded positions.
Two retirees are each receiving $195,000 per year — former Jersey City school superintendent Charles Epps and retired Essex County College president A. Zachary Yamba.
Perusing the list one thing immediately jumps out. Under the "Retired From" column on line after line you see "BD OF ED" — Board of Education — especially at the very top where the highest payouts are shown.
Our public schools pay well, and they guarantee a very cushy retirement.
Also well represented, "Judiciary." Retired judges, living well. You'll recall these are the underpaid public servants who petulantly refused to contribute toward their own health care, requiring us to pass a state constitutional amendment compelling them to pony up.
Feel bad for them, I do not.
Rounding out the list, at slightly less than half (45%) of the 6 figure club, retired police and fire. Which stands to reason given that NJ has the highest paid police officers in the nation, and that's before the all too common overtime padding games they play to boost their pension payouts.
State Senate President Steve Sweeney (a Democrat, natch) has threatened to shut down the government if Governor Chris Christie tries to rein in even one dime of these lavish pensions. Because "public workers have given up too much already." So Christie's new budget will probably include draconian cuts to education and social services just to keep the public pension plan in clover.
Your tax dollars at work, buying pina coladas for guys sitting around a pool
in Miami Beach.
Tony Mack refuses to go quietly. Because sucking at the public teat is all he knows how to do. So in his mind a conviction on six federal corruption counts isn't an impediment to him remaining mayor of Trenton, NJ.
And a judge just conditionally agreed, saying Mack has two weeks to make his case.
Convicted Mayor Tony Mack can remain in office at least two more weeks after he was given the chance today to fight a state attorney general's effort to remove him.
Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson set a Feb. 26 hearing date at the Mercer County Criminal Courthouse for Mack, when he will be able to appear and contest that his conviction on six federal corruption counts puts him in violation of state law. A written answer from him is due two days before.
Jacobson was responding to a complaint filed Monday by a deputy attorney general seeking an order of forfeiture that would force Mack from office. Mack was convicted Friday in federal court after a monthlong trial but has opted not to resign. Though state law says he is now ineligible to serve as mayor, without a resignation it will take a judge's declaration to enforce state statute.
Mary Jacobson is the same looney-liberal superior court judge who invented New Jersey's "right" to same-sex "marriage." So let's just say that if you were looking for a judge who can twist the law to keep Tony Mack in office, Mary Jacobson would be at the top of your list.
Because, in case you hadn't guessed by now, Tony Mack is a Democrat.
So it's understandable that the Star-Ledger isn't clammoring for his resignation. After all, he didn't cause a traffic jam.
Meanwhile, Mack's minions are rallying to his side.
Business Administrator Sam Hutchinson said Mack has not been in City Hall this week.
"He is on leave," Hutchinson said.
When asked if it was sick leave, vacation time or for some other reason, Hutchinson responded, "It is appropriate," and refused to provide further details.
Hutchinson said he was notified Mack was on leave, but refused to say how or by whom he was told or whether Mack was still in the city.
You can be sure of one thing though. Tony Mack is still on the city's payroll. And it looks like that's where he's gonna stay.
Only in New Jersey.
Or at least indict Valerie Jarrett and Eric Holder. Jarrett probably gave the "stand-down" order while 4 Americans died in Benghazi. And Holder's Fast and Furious fiasco got Border Agent Brian Terry killed.
Gov. Chris Christie would face possible impeachment if evidence emerges showing he knew more about the George Washington Bridge scandal, the New Jersey lawmaker leading a legislative inquiry said this morning.
Appearing on "Face the Nation," Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) said the Assembly could move to impeach Christie if something comes to light revealing a direct link between the Republican governor and the September closure of local access lanes leading to the bridge in Fort Lee. Wisniewski, who chairs the Assembly transportation committee, said those closures clearly constituted a crime because public property was used for political purposes.
Public property used for political purposes? You mean like when
Obama Valerie Jarrett closed national parks and barricaded the World
War II Memorial to spite Congressional Republicans? Their road closures
cut off an entire town, and the media yawned.
"If it becomes known that the governor was involved and he knew about it and he knew about the cover-up, and he was approving the actions taken by his senior staff, that raises serious questions that the assembly ought to look at," Wisniewski said. "And that ought to be considered in light of what our responsibility is. The Assembly has the ability to do articles of impeachment."
Get off your high horse Wiz. Why don't you "consider" Steve Sweeney's blatant partisan hackery in blocking Christie's state supreme court nominations? Wanna tell me with a straight face that Sweeney isn't playing "payback?"
This is bare-knuckle politics, Jersey style.
And it's no better (or worse) than the Chicago politics of your president.
Impeach Chris Christe? Fine. Impeach Barack Obama first. Because
people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
This just in: Chris Christie is a bully!
Not A Scandal: Your petty and vindictive president padlocks the World War II Memorial and removes the handles from drinking fountains in National Parks. After he gets re-elected by using the IRS and the NSA to harass and hogtie his political enemies.
Scandal: New Jersey's petty and vindictive governor arranges a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge. Again, after he gets re-elected in a landslide by convincing a plethora of leading Democrats to cross the aisle and endorse him.
Both are examples of supposed leaders abusing their power. Both are products of rabidly partisan political machinations. Curiously, only one of them is newsworthy.
But hey, since the media has rediscovered their investigative journalism skills, perhaps they could finally get incensed about a few other Non-Scandals like Fast and Furious or Benghazi. You know, before hanging Christie out to dry and proclaiming his presidential ambitions DOA.
Because nobody is writing editorials hanging Benghazi around Hillary's neck. Which is where it belongs, of course. She left 4 Americans to die, and lied about it while standing in front of their caskets.
The media can't wait for her to succeed Barack Obama as president. So they won't dare do anything to hinder her ambitions. And since Christie is slightly ahead of her in the polls, it's time for the long knives to get pointed in his direction.
I'm no Christie for President fan. But c'mon, Bridge-Gate is small beer. And really, at this point, what difference does it make?
Unlike, say, a certain president some of you around here continue to worship.
Last year our knee-jerk liberal fascists reacted predictably to the Newtown, CT school shooting by enacting some of the strictest gun control legislation in the nation.
Also last year the murder rate in our fine state soared to a seven-year high.
Coincidence? I mean really, how can criminals so easily acquire guns when New Jersey makes it so hard to buy and own them?
Oh, right, criminals don't follow the law.
So naturally the solution is more gun control legislation!
[Newark Police Director Samuel] DeMaio said .45-caliber handguns — far more powerful than the 9 mm weapons once common in Newark — and the proliferation of assault weapons led to the city's increased number of killings.
"If the federal government is really serious about gun control and the violence that's taking place, not just in Newark, but in every city throughout this country, they will get strict and do the right thing with the gun laws," he said. "Make them consistent. … Take the guns out of the criminals' hands."
What he really means, of course, is confiscate guns from the law-abiding citizenry. Because once again, this time with feeling, criminals don't follow the law.
It's like when you geniuses banned drugs. Everything from opium to marijuana to oxycontin is illegal. How's that workin' out for ya?
So what makes you believe banning guns is gonna be any different?
Cory Booker sometimes hung out with Newark's drug dealers.
One of the guys vying to replace him goes one better. South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka is tight with Al-Tariq Gumbs, aka "Killer Reek," founder of the notoriously violent Brick City Brims street gang. How tight? Baraka wrote letters requesting leniency for Gumbs.
A councilman vying to replace Cory Booker as mayor of New Jersey's largest city has written letters used in motions requesting leniency for one of Newark's most notorious gang leaders, The Star-Ledger has learned.
South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka wrote the letters on behalf of convicted gang lord Al-Tariq Gumbs at his sentencing in 2010, the same year Gumbs was accused of plotting murders from a federal prison cell in Arizona, court papers obtained by the newspaper show.
That first letter was dated Nov. 10, 2010 — 10 months after Gumbs was indicted on the murder conspiracy charges. Baraka's letter was filed in support of a motion to reduce Gumbs' bail.
The second letter was used two years later in an effort to get Gumbs' sentence reduced after he pleaded guilty to some of the conspiracy charges from 2010, according to copies of the letters and court transcripts obtained by the newspaper.
Gumbs' attorney, Thomas Ambrosio, said the second letter was a plea for leniency.
"It was a general, 'Hey, please be lenient on him and I think he's turned his life around' kind of letter," Ambrosio said.
In the first letter, Baraka said he believed Gumbs could be integral to resolving some of the gang disputes that often lead to shootings and homicides in the Brick City.
"Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to communicate with (Gumbs) through mail and have been personally impressed by his writing and passion to self correct and be an asset to our community," Baraka wrote.
Why is Baraka trying to get Gumbs out of prison? To broker a "truce" between the gangs that have turned Newark into the murder capital of the universe.
"All the kids in this city know the legend of 'Killer Reek' in the community," Baraka said, referring to Gumbs' street name. "When you walk into a neighborhood and you say we're trying to put together a truce, and Killer Reek is a part of this truce, that holds a whole hell of a lot of damn weight."
It's the "pretty please stop killing each other" approach to crime fighting.
An interesting idea, until you think about it for more than 10 seconds. Brokering a truce implies tacit endorsement of the gangs' existence and raison d'etre, which of course is crime. Drugs. Prostitution. Robbery. Protection. Carjacking. All that stuff which makes Newark such a fun place to live and work.
It elevates criminal scum to equals of the city's elected officials, inflating their egos and emboldening their nefarious activities. Killer Reek is rubbin' elbows with the mayor man, so he's got juice.
"All the kids in this city know the legend of 'Killer Reek." That's gotta be the saddest commentary on life in Newark that I've ever heard. A murderous thug is a "legend?" In what sane universe?
But in Ras Baraka's universe, coddling gang bangers will be Job 1.
If elected, Baraka said, he would not shy away from writing similar letters. Newark will see its annual homicide total increase for the fourth straight year in 2013, and Baraka said it's long past time to take a different approach to crime-fighting, even if that means working closely with the criminal community.
Part of Baraka's public safety plan, dubbed "Project Chill," involves improved communication with gang members to stymie street disputes. The councilman has been touting his gang intervention plan all week, in the wake of a series of shootings that left several teenagers dead, including a 13-year-old girl who was killed by a stray bullet while taking out the trash on Christmas night.
I'd be beating the bushes trying to catch the killers. But apparently that's so last century, or something. Ras Baraka's kinder, gentler approach involves chillin' while drinking tea and singing Kumbaya and hoping the killers will mend their ways and take jobs delivering pizza.
Which I'm sure will work out just great.
Is it any surprise that Baraka is the front-runner for Booker's job? A guy
in the pocket of the street gangs could soon be mayor of Newark. My advice
to any decent people still living there is this — Get Out, get out
now, while you still can. Because Newark needs a man like Rudy
Guiliani. But they're getting another Nucky Johnson.
This year's "feel good" public question calls for enshrining a minimum wage of $8.25 per hour in the New Jersey State Constitution.
Don't fall for it.
You won't be "helping the working poor." You'll be pricing them out of the job market.
Economist Thomas Sowell explains why:
"It would be comforting to believe that the government can simply decree higher pay for low-wage workers, without having to worry about unfortunate repercussions, but the preponderance of evidence indicates that labor is not exempt from the basic economic principle that artificially high prices cause surpluses. In the case of the surplus of human beings, that can be a special tragedy when they are already from low-income, unskilled or minority backgrounds and urgently need to get on the job ladder, if they are ever to move up the ladder by acquiring experience and skills."
New Jersey already has an underclass — undocumented immigrants — working in the shadows for cash under the table. A constitutionally-mandated minimum wage won't apply to them. And setting the minimum wage artificially high will send more jobs into that limbo, where they'll still get done, just not by the folks our crusading intelligensia are pretending to help.
What good is mandating a minimum wage of $8.25 per hour if all the jobs at that pay grade require skills the entry-level job seeker doesn't have?
And, not to put too fine a point on it, but raising the minimum wage disproportionally and adversely affects low-income minority groups, especially low-skilled black teenagers.
The effects of the minimum wage have been concentrated on the groups that the
do-gooders would most like to help. The people who have been hurt most by the
minimum wage laws are the blacks. I have often said that the most anti-black
law on the books of this land is the minimum wage law."
— Milton Friedman
The current jobless rate for black teens is 37.8%. For black male teens it's 43.3%. Before you vote "yes" on Question 2 ask yourself this — will reducing the available number of entry-level jobs help change those statistics for the better?
No. It won't. Not in a million years.
If someone is eking out a living in an entry-level job the solution to her problem isn't a mandated increase in her salary with no commensurate improvement in her skill set. Heck, if that idea worked we could just set the minimum wage at $100 per hour and everyone would live happily ever after.
But if she takes it upon herself to improve her skills, either via education or on-the-job training, then employers would seek her out, and bid up the price of her labor. In effect each of us has the power to set our own minimum wage, determined solely by how hard we are willing to work.
Ergo, vote "NO" on Public Question number 2.
One self-important county judge wraps herself in a rainbow flag and she demands everyone dance to her tune? That's not the America I want to live in!
A state Superior Court judge Thursday refused to delay the Oct. 21 start date she set to begin same-sex marriages in New Jersey, rejecting the Christie administration's contention that no gay weddings should be peformed while the case is still being fought in the courts.
Judge Mary Jacobson, who last month ordered the state to allow same sex marriages because she said gay couples are being denied equal rights "every day," Thursday wrote that delaying the start date would prolong "violations of their constitutional rights."
Ye gads! By all means let's overturn 6,000 years of Judeo-Christian principle at the drop of a hat, because one judge said so!
Who needs King Barack when you've got Judge Mary Jacobson? She's god-like in her omniscience. Just ask her.
In her 17-page decision Thursday, Jacobson said allowing marriages to move forward would cause no harm to the state and the administration was unlikely to succeed on appeal.
See? She believes she's smarter than everyone else. Here's an idea — cede all government power and complete control over our lives to Mary Jacobson. We don't need elected representatives. We don't need to think for ourselves. She's omnipotent!
Er, not so fast there madam.
It's possible the Oct. 21 start date could still be put on hold. The Christie administration quickly responded Thursday by requesting the state Appellate Division grant the delay instead. The appeals court could consider the motion as soon as next week, according to filing deadlines it set for both sides to make their case.
Lost in all the rush, of course, is our First Amendment right to religious liberty. The impetus behind the same-sex "marriage" juggernaut is to demolish the tenets of Christianity. Why else would its proponents insist on garnering the explicit endorsement of devoutly religious citizens?
Demanding that a Christian photographer document their faux wedding is a direct affront to the First Amendment. Forcing a Catholic baker to supply them with a "wedding" cake forever damages his immortal soul. And when Adam and Steve clamor for the "right" to sashay down the aisle at Saint Patrick's Cathedral it's only to mock all of us who hold and teach the Catholic faith.
The supposed "right" of homosexuals to engage in sodomy cannot, must not, trump religious liberty.
If, and this is a very big if given the activist nature of our judiciary and the utter contempt which homosexuals hold for religion, but if a respectful religious carve-out could be conceived and enforced, then perhaps we could all live together in harmony.
Fat chance of that though. Homosexuals talk "love" whilst spewing hatred.
In their world "tolerance" is a one-way street. And so a nation founded on
the premise of religious liberty descends inexorably into bacchanalian
Six thousand years of Judeo-Christian tradition demolished at the stroke of a pen.
A state judge today ruled to legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey, saying gay couples would be denied federal benefits if the state kept allowing only civil unions.
Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson granted an emergency request by six gay couples, ordering state officials to begin officiating same-sex marriages on Oct. 21.
"Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey constitution," the judge wrote in a 53-page opinion.
The Christie administration is expected to appeal the ruling. Let's hope so, to protect religious liberty, which is, in case any of you forgot, an actual enumerated right.
Because no matter what all the cheerleaders say, marriage is, always has, and
always will be a sacred union between one man and one woman. No mere mortal can
change that. A fool may call a square a circle, but he can not make it round.
It's judicial activism on steroids. Today the NJ Supreme Court issued a ruling ordering the state legislature to enact a law. Three black-robed poobahs are now the de facto government of New Jersey. Nobody else matters anymore.
At issue, of course, is the Social Justice shibboleth of "affordable housing." Everybody deserves to have a nice house in the suburbs, even if he doesn't work for it. Because if there is a Constitutional Right to free health care, why not a Constitutional Right to a free house too?
And so our legislature is hereby ordered to create rules for imposing a slum on every town in New Jersey.
The state Supreme Court ruled today that New Jersey's affordable housing requirements for towns are too lenient and ordered state officials to write a new rulebook for the state's 565 municipalities.
In a 3-2 decision, the high court said the Council on Affordable Housing — a mostly dormant state agency that has not met for much of the past two years — must go back to the drawing board and issue new rules within five months.
Towns must have a specific number of minimum units to build, the court said, striking down a formula approved by COAH that allowed municipalities to refrain from building units in some cases.
They're movin' on up, to a dee-luxe apartment in the Skylands!
Well, free to them. It'll be paid for by you and me.
Remember when people had to work to get what they want? Yeah, that's not congruent with socialism. So if you can't afford to live in Short Hills, the socialists are gonna force Short Hills to build you your very own "affordable house."
Maybe the NJ Supreme Court should re-read the Declaration of Independence.
It espouses "equality of opportunity." Not "from each according to his ability,
to each according to his needs."
Woo hoo! Cory Booker's latest budget cuts Newark's property taxes by 13.6%. That's freakin' unbelievable! He's a fiscal genius!
Ayup, that's what he'd like his low-information constituency to think. And the Star-Ledger is all too glad to help him out with their breathless reporting.
So let's go to the WyFactCheck meter.
Fact: Municipal spending in Newark will rise by $51.9 million dollars to a whopping $639.5 million.
Fact: Property taxes only make up a small portion of Newark's revenue stream, most of it comes from state aid, aka "you and me" via the income tax.
Fact: "Emergency" federal aid of $50 million fell into Booker's lap.
Fact: Booker enacted a slew of alternative taxes including a new "rental car tax."
Fact: A recent property tax revaluation shifted the lion's share of the tax burden onto commercial properties.
Fact: Booker sold off a bunch of city assets, further inflating his sources of one-shot revenue.
Conclusion? Smoke and mirrors!
It's awfully convenient that Booker's buddy Obama sent him a check for almost the entire amount of his budget increase. It's pretty easy to look like a hero when you don't have to actually raise any new revenue. And next year, when the one-shot money fails to materialize, it'll be somebody else's problem to take the heat. Assuming, of course, Booker succeeds in his bid for the U.S. Senate.
And that 13.6% tax reduction only applies to residential properties. Like I noted earlier, overall tax collections are up because commercial property owners got hosed. They generally don't live (or vote) in Newark though, so eff 'em, right?
Meanwhile, the state (there's "you and me" again!) pays for Newark's schools. Essex County (me, and maybe you…) covers Newark's court system, prosecutors, judges, jails, and morgue. And the feds are always shoveling money at some boondoggle or another, while also paying "rent" for the use of Newark Airport.
A third-grader could cut taxes with a pot of money like that. What's freakin' unbelievable is that it took Booker seven years to finally figure out how to do it.
"Fiscal genius" my ass.
Last week Chris Christie took a chainsaw to the Second Amendment, signing 10 feel-good knee-jerk bills to further restrict New Jerseyans' constitutional rights. Because, you know, Newtown.
But yesterday he wrapped himself in the flag whilst pompously proclaiming his undying love for "lawful recreational pastimes" as he conditionally vetoed 3 more anti-gun measures.
After months of pressure from both sides of the gun control debate, Gov. Chris Christie today refused to sign three controversial gun control measures sitting on his desk — including a version of a weapon ban that he had called for.
Christie altered two bills, sending them back to the Legislature — a massive measure (S2723) known as state Senate President Stephen Sweeney's "centerpiece" to overhaul the way the state issues firearms ID cards, and legislation to require New Jersey law enforcement agencies to report information on lost, stolen and discarded guns to federal databases (A3797).
But the governor completely axed a bill that would ban the Barrett .50 caliber rifle(A3659), which is the most powerful weapon commonly available to civilians. Christie had called for a ban on future sales of the weapon in his own package of violent prevention measures outlined in April.
In his veto message delivered this evening, Christie said that his proposal to ban the weapon was more narrowly tailored than the bill the Legislature passed, which would have also required owners to give them up.
"Tellingly, the Legislature points to no instance of this class of firearms being used by even a single criminal in New Jersey," Christie wrote. "The wide scope of this total ban, therefore, will not further public safety, but only interfere with lawful recreational pastimes."
Now the "conditional veto" is an interesting animal. It's not a solid "no." It's more like a "definite maybe." Christie sends the bills back to the state legislature along with an itemized list of changes. If the legislature passes his changes then the whole thing becomes law.
He's trying to have his cake and eat it too. The Democrats will take the heat for restricting our rights and Christie can wave his veto messages in front of the rubes in Iowa and New Hampshire when he runs for president.
I sure hope they aren't dumb enough to fall for it.
Sheesh. I go on vacation for 5 lousy days and Chris Christie decides to take a chainsaw to the Second Amendment. Again. Just what kind of "conservative" is he? I mean, what part of "shall not be infringed" is unclear to His Rotundness?
Ten useless bills, all further tightening New Jersey's already draconian gun laws, were passed by the Democrats in our state legislature. And Christie signed every single damned one.
The most far-reaching measures Christie signed would tighten New Jersey's gun laws:
· Upgrade the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm to a first-degree crime. The unlawful possession of machine guns, handguns and assault firearms had been a second-degree crime and third-degree offense in the case of rifles and shotguns. The bill also increase mandatory minimum sentences for such offenses by six months. (S2804).
· Make the crime of firearms trafficking subject to the No Early Release Act, which requires offenders to serve at least 85 percent of their terms. The bill (S2468) also requires authorities to seize cars used to smuggle weapons into the state and increases penalties to at least 18 months in prison for dealers who knowingly sell guns to customers disqualified from possessing them.
· Allow authorities to impound cars if an occupant illegally possesses a weapon. The bill (S2468) also allows authorities to impound cars used in cases of prostitution and buying or selling illegal drugs.
· Increase penalties for those who unlawfully sell or give a gun to an underage person from a third-degree crime to second-degree offense with a minimum mandatory prison sentence of five years. (S1279).
· Disqualify people on the federal terrorist watch list from owning guns, which is the only gun-related bill (A3687) Christie has commented on.
So now you can't give your kid a gun. If you do, Christie will take away your car. Sounds reasonable!
And screwing up the paperwork on a firearms transfer now lands you in the slammer for a longer sentence than if you'd shot somebody.
But rest assured America. Those of us on the Terrorist Watch List (ie, every Tea Partyer you've ever met) are now prohibited from owning a gun. We're supposed to placidly turn in the guns we already (legally, at the time) bought. Confiscation! Here they come.
The government wants to make sure their "enemies" (we used to be called "patriots") can't resist their tyranny.
Christie also signed S2720, the lohud.com wet dream bill, making local firearms permit applications "public information." The better to prepare for statewide confiscation dontcha know. Now every gun permit will come with your picture in the paper. I can't wait for the know-nothings to start protesting outside my house, how about you?
These laws won't do Thing One to combat Actual Crime. Because the bad guys don't follow the laws we already have. But they'll make "criminals" out of plenty of our law-abiding citizens. Which'll show Chris Christie is tough on gun violence! And he'll have the arrest statistics to prove it. Even if that means the Second Amendment is null and void in the Peoples' Republic of New Jersey.
Chris Christie is a Republican only a Democrat could love. And he'll
never get my vote for president.
You know what New Jersey needs? A card-carrying unionista in the #2 executive branch spot. Because the public employee unions don't vacuum enough money out of the pockets of our state's hard-working taxpayers, right?
And yet, Democrat gubernatorial hopeful Barbara Buono, who only trails Chris Christie by something like 974 points in the polls, went and selected SEIU VP Milly Silva as her Lt. Governor running mate.
If your first reaction was, "who?", you're not alone.
Let's break this choice down, shall we?
Comment #1, who?
OK, yeah, I think I said that. Silva is vice president of SEIU local 1199, which represents 7,000 nursing home workers in 74 facilities.
Comment #2, no respectable Democrat was available? Loretta Weinberg is doing her hair on election night? Steve Sweeney couldn't find a lame-duck freeholder to take one for the team? George Norcross declined to designate a brother-in-law who needs some state-wide name exposure? Ray Lesniak hasn't got a single snarling protege itching to be unleashed?
You know what this tells me? In Democratic Party circles, Barbara Buono is radioactive. Her candidacy is a joke. She's gonna get beat so badly not even a Lifetime TV movie could rehabilitate her tattered career after Chris Christie trounces her in the biggest landslide ever recorded.
Here's my advice Ms. Silva. Don't give up your day job.
Oh, who am I kidding, she's a unionista. They learn how to milk the system while still in the womb. "Milly Silva" probably isn't even her real name, because her first priority has gotta be making sure nothing jeopardizes her public pension. A loss in November might translate into a loss in the next SEIU veep election, and then she'll have to go back to working for a living instead of spending all her time on "union business."
Right about now, Chris Christie is laughing his ass off.
Smaller government in New Jersey? Fuggedaboutit! Not content to remain lean and mean, and really, when have you seen an understaffed bureaucracy anyway, local governments all across New Jersey are hiring again.
All across New Jersey, local governments are doing something almost unheard of just a few years ago.
After losing workers to layoffs and a record number of retirements during a poor economy, local governments have added 12,100 jobs in the past 12 months — inching closer to pre-recession employment levels, state Labor Department records show.
The preliminary numbers for June show 436,400 people working in municipalities, counties and school districts, from teachers and cops to county social workers and tax collectors. That's just shy of the decade-high of 440,900 local government employees in the months before Gov. Chris Christie was elected. During his 2009 campaign, Christie vowed to shrink state government and get tough with all public employee unions.
Those who neglect the lessons of Detroit are doomed to follow in its footsteps.
The rational for all this hiring is interesting. It boils down to "hey we're a coupla bucks in the black, let's bulk up!"
Clifton Mayor James Anzaldi said Christie's moves to cap arbitration awards and shift health and pension costs onto public employees is bringing greater financial stability.
He said the city's financial position has improved after what he described as "the worst times since the Great Depression." It was just several years ago when his administration closed a fire station and required worker furloughs.
The city recently swore in a group of new officers, some poached from the unemployment line. Anzaldi said it's easier to hire someone who was laid off in another town because less training is required.
Gee, I guess taking pity on Clifton's beleaguered taxpayers isn't in Mayor Anzaldi'sgame plan. Nevermind that the municipal pension system is still broke; let's add more beneficiaries anyway! It's like these guys learned nothing from the last downturn. As soon as there's a glimmer of financial solvency they go right back to their profligate ways.
Laissez les bon temps roulez!
Which of course is
French bureaucratese for
"Detroit, we like your style."
Ronald Reagan once said, "A government agency is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth."
He was never more right than when it comes to COAH, the dreaded and draconian Council on Affordable Housing. Created by the NJ legislature in response to a state supreme court ruling that mandated a slum in every town, COAH's mission is to stifle development by imposing onerous "affordable housing" requirements and "developer impact fees" on any new construction. These fees then subsidize rents for low-income families, or go toward building housing to be sold below market rate.
COAH even taxes people who rebuild their homes after a fire. That's right; in addition to putting your own life back together after a disaster, COAH demands that you subsidize a local layabout too. That's their idea of "fairness."
Governor Chris Christie tried to abolish COAH, rightly believing that equality of outcome isn't guaranteed by the Constitution. COAH is a Bolshie's wet dream, supposedly eliminating socio-economic disparities at the stroke of a pen. Presto!, anyone can live in Beverly Hills, all we gotta do is tax the rich folks to pay for it.
Sadly our activist state supreme court agreed with that "logic" today; they ruled Christie can't shut COAH down. Bureaucracy is forever.
Municipalities have a constitutional duty to provide some affordable housing for their residents. Real estate values [have] grown so much in some communities that poor residents would be priced out if not for the state's help.
And so the heavy hand of government will maintain its stranglehold on the
housing market. COAH won't be happy until every single one of New Jersey's
566 municipalities has its very own ghetto.