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I spent most of today in Trenton, because my daughter won an award for Catholic Schools Week and it was presented to her at the State House by a member of Governor Christie's staff. Yes, it was pretty cool.
But that's not why I'm writing this post.
As part of the festivities we were given a tour of the State House. While seated in the Senate chamber, the tour guide pointed out the beautiful paintings of Liberty and Prosperity adorning the window alcoves. And she took particular note of one which showed Lady Liberty holding a musket, saying it represented our state's role in fighting for freedom during the Revolutionary War.
That's Lady Liberty in red, and she is indeed holding a gun.
She's also perched directly above the Senate President's desk. The desk at which Steve Sweeney sits as he works tirelessly to eradicate the Second Amendment rights of New Jersey's citizens.
And who said irony is dead?
Maybe instead of looking down at the latest polls Senator Sweeney (and his evil henchwoman Loretta Weinberg) should look up. Because then he'll see Lady Liberty reminding him that Prosperity is nothing without the right to protect our basic freedoms.
If Sweeney and the Democrats had had their way in 1776, we'd still be a colony of Great Britain. Because muskets would have been as scarce back then as respect for Liberty seems to be now.
The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
I think I'll suggest they mention that on the tour.
The mere act of running for president makes Chris Christie more conservative. It won't last, but I'll take what I can get.
So, on the last day of the legislative session, he pocket-vetoed a bunch of Democrat-sponsored impositions on our liberty.
First to go down — "Smart" Guns.
Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday quashed a Democrat-backed roll back of a personalized handgun law the sponsor hoped would shake loose investment in smart gun technology.
The pocket veto, in which governors can allow legislation to die if it was passed at the end of the two-year session, was offered without commentary. The Legislature does not have an opportunity to override pocket vetoes.
Loretta Weinberg has The Sads. She desperately wants everyone, except her security detail of course, to use these inaptly named "smart guns." The technology is unproven, unreliable, and unavailable. But that doesn't stop her from demanding that the gun control fairies deliver one to every gun shop in New Jersey.
Not today Loretta.
Next he nixed mandatory recess for elementary school kids.
Most (almost all?) kids get recess already. For the few that don't, the decision should be made at the local level, not mandated by Trenton busybodies. If parents want their kids to have recess, the parents can exert pressure on the principal, or the school board.
And in his 3rd blow to the overarching Nanny State, Christie vetoed a bill that would have raised the smoking age from 19 to 21.
Amazingly, NJ Republicans sponsored this bill. Because you're old enough to vote, and old enough to die for their right to be wrong, but you're not old enough to buy beer or cigarettes. C'mon already; lower the drinking age and the smoking age back to 18. Treat adults like adults.
Finally, it's not a veto per se, but in a move that'll certainly help him impress my teenage daughter and her friends, Christie took a swipe at Michelle Obama's meddlesome school lunch requirements.
Siding with a boy who bemoaned the absence of "square pizza" and other favorite lunch foods since Michelle Obama became first lady, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said at an Iowa pancake house Monday that if he becomes president, students will eat "whatevever you want."
"The first lady has no business being involved in this," Christie said during a town-hall meeting at the Village Inn in Council Bluffs. "This intervention into our school system is just another example of how the Obamas believe they have a better answer for everything than you do."
Parents should decide what their children eat, Christie said. "I want people to eat more healthy - I've been trying to eat more healthy - but in the end it's your choice," he said.
Christie was responding to a boy who asked what he was "going to do about the lunches," declaring that "now that Mrs. Obama's the first lady, they've gone down." Michelle Obama had backed new nutrition standards for the federal school lunch program.
"I don't care what you're eating for lunch every day, I really don't," Christie said. "If I'm president, back to whatever you want to eat, OK?"
Because, really, it isn't the government's job to micromanage your life.
Because nothing says "freedom" quite like a mandatory retirement contribution automatically deducted from your paycheck, and invested by the same bozos who can't keep the public employee pension system solvent.
The state Senate budget committee has approved a bill creating a retirement program for private-sector workers without employer-sponsored plans.
The bill (S2831) would require companies with at least 25 employees that don't already offer retirement accounts to offer the "Secure Choice" retirement plan. Smaller companies with fewer than 25 employees can opt in.
The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on Monday cleared the bill with a 9-3-1 vote Monday. The legislation has already passed the state Assembly.
Like a 401(k), employers would set up a payroll deduction for employees, who automatically contribute 3 percent of their salaries, though they can adjust their contribution or opt out altogether, to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Employers do not have to match contributions.
A name that would make Orwell proud — Secure "Choice" — for a plan that is mandatory.
Thanks John Roberts. Now that the government can force us at gunpoint to buy health insurance, mandating a retirement savings plan is the next logical step for the perpetual nanny state. Why let people decide what's best for themselves when there are omnipotent bureaucrats ready to do our thinking for us?
The program, which would take effect within two years of its passage, would be administered by a seven-member board of officials from the governor's administration and appointees by the Senate president and Assembly speaker. Total investment and administrative fees could not exceed 0.6 percent of the fund balance, under the bill.
Anybody wanna lay odds on George Norcross being appointed by our esteemed Senate president?
Hello slush fund!
Although the fund would be state-administered, the money would not be guaranteed by the state. There would be no state contribution or employee match.
"The state shall have no duty to any party for the payment of any retirement savings benefits accrued by any individual under the program," according to the bill.
Translation? We're going to "invest" your money, and if we lose it all, tough.
The cynic in me says it's a backdoor way to funnel cash into the depleted public worker pension system. Steve Sweeney is desperate to make his unionista buddies whole and the allure of a 3% tax on every working resident seems too good to pass up.
All we'll need to seal the deal is Vinny Prieto saying, "If you like your 401(k) you can keep your 401(k)."
Because really, what employer is going to stick with the hassle of administering his own 401(k) plan when the state will do it for him? Fill out a form, check a box, and presto!, it's somebody else's problem. They'll be lining up to dump their employees into this thing.
Then as the cash rolls in, our bureaucratic betters will be sorely tempted to tap it for the "benefit" of all. And what recourse would we have when it gets sunk into Transportation Trust Fund bonds earmarked for light rail and a new Hudson River tunnel?
That's right, none. All your retirement money are belong to Steve
Sweeney. What could go wrong?
The farther they look ahead, the more bleak they think things will be.
The New Jersey Business & Industry Association's annual business outlook survey found about half of respondents anticipate increasing sales and profits in 2016. But more than 60 percent of respondents said they would not open another location in New Jersey if they were planning on expanding their business and two-thirds of those surveyed said they don't plan on living in New Jersey in retirement.
Michele Siekerka, president and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, said the farther into the future the group's members look "the more caution they have and their caution significantly increases."
Well, sure. Short-term, Chris Christie is still governor. He's a putz, but, as the saying goes, he's our putz. Once one of The Steves takes over in Drumthwacket, it'll be All Tax And Regulate All The Time. And business will be Public Enemy #1 in Trenton.
Respondents named health benefit costs, the overall cost of doing business and property taxes as the main challenges for New Jersey businesses, according to the survey.
Can you imagine Steve Sweeney or Steve Fulop doing anything about any of those 3 things? Yeah, me neither.
Take Health benefits. Steve Fulop is the guy pushing mandatory sick time, which of course increases health benefit costs. What about property taxes? Steve Sweeney is the guy looking to pad the pension funds with ever higher municipal contributions, that will come directly out of our pockets. And as for the cost of doing business, both of 'em are on record proclaiming that business taxes are "too low."
So who are those 40% who aren't seeing the writing on the wall?
Probably lobbyists! (<Insert sarcasm emoticon here>)
Because unless by some miracle the NJ GOP gets its shit together and manages to put up a candidate who can capitalize on Chris Christie's electoral legacy, the "makers" in our fair state are in for a bumpy ride come January 2018. The "takers" are lining up, and they've got us in their sights.
There's only one thing left to do. Get out while the getting is good.
Second only to New York, the Garden State's tax burden almost reigns supreme.
New Jerseyans already know it to be true, but a Forbes analysis of state-by-state tax burdens places the Garden State near the top of its "Worst States for Taxes" list.
New Jersey lands in second place, behind New York, in the comparison of state and local taxes.
Connecticut, California, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont and Pennsylvania round out the top 10, according to the Forbes report.
Notice anything remarkable about that Top Ten list?
Yup, they're "blue" states. Run by progressive Democrats. Imagine that!
The analysis compares local taxes and the effective tax rate for single people with $50,000 in reportable income, a figure Forbes said it based on the $53,046 median U.S. Household income from 2009 to 2013.
In New Jersey, which has one of the most progressive tax structures in the country, that income tax rate is 2.54 percent, which Forbes combined with local taxes to establish a 12.3 percent state and local tax burden.
So, how do we do it?
Crushing property taxes! We are the 0.2 percent!!!
While the report doesn't specify which local taxes are included (some states have local income taxes or local sales taxes), presumably New Jersey's steep property taxes had a hand in the state's ranking. Last year, the average property tax bill here was $8,161, while nationally only 0.2 percent of U.S. homeowners paid more than $8,000.
C'mon NJ Democrats, you know you want us to be Number 1. Raise that gas tax! We can't let New York have all the fun, can we?
Oh, and if anyone wants to know why Chris Christie's presidential campaign is
languishing in the doldrums, well this, this is why. Remember when he promised
to "do something" about NJ's onerous tax burden? Yeah, me neither.
The verdict on New Jersey is in, and it's time to get out while the getting is good.
The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce's biannual Baker Tilly Spring Economic Outlook Survey brings grim news for the state's lagging employment prospects: Fourteen percent of those surveyed said they were currently considering moving their businesses out of New Jersey.
Ten of the 14 business leaders considering relocating their businesses blamed high taxes or high cost of living as their reason. Just four cited opportunities elsewhere.
Yay Chris Christie.
Old and busted: The Jersey Comeback.
New Hotness: Jersey says "come back!"
Of course, given it's a foregone conclusion that one of the two tax-hiking Steves (Sweeney or Fulop) will be governor in 2017, the stampede down the Turnpike is only going to get bigger, fast.
Will the last guy to leave please turn off the lights?
Usually the quid pro quo isn't so blatant.
But Jamie Dimon doesn't do subtle.
Hot on the heels of his generous donation of $1 million dollars to Jersey City schools for "job training" he's in line to reap an $18 million dollar annual windfall in economic development tax breaks.
JPMorgan Chase is looking to move 2,150 jobs to Jersey City from New York, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The state Economic Development Authority is expected Thursday to consider granting the firm $18.8 million in tax credits annually over 10 years. JPMorgan received $225 million in tax credits last year to create 1,000 jobs in Jersey City and retain 2,612 existing jobs.
$18.8 million annually for 10 years makes for a total of $188 million bucks.
How's a nice tidy $187 million dollar profit on the backs of New Jersey's taxpayers sound to you?
Yeah, I'm pretty excited about it too.
The one thing everyone can agree on is, New Jersey's public employee pension system is broke. Dead, flat, broke.
And for the past 4 years the public employee unions have implored Governor Chris Christie to plug the shortfall by raising taxes. He's wisely refused to do that, one of the few things he's done right lately. So with that avenue closed, the unionistas sought relief from NJ's notoriously activist State Supreme Court.
But in a ruling yesterday that quite frankly left me speechless, the court uncharacteristically refused to legislate from the bench in support of the unions.
"That the state must get its financial house in order is plain. The need is compelling in respect of the state's ability to honor its compensation commitment to retired employees," Justice Jaynee LaVecchia, an independent who was appointed by Gov. Christie Whitman, a Republican, wrote for the majority. "But this court cannot resolve that need in place of the political branches. They will have to deal with one another to forge a solution to the tenuous financial status of New Jersey's pension funding in a way that comports with the strictures of our constitution."
My jaw hit the floor when I read that. Because dictating legislative outcomes is what this court does best, and with alarming regularity. From education funding to affordable housing to gun control to redefining marriage, NJ's State Supreme Court has earned its distinction as the most activist court in the nation.
What prompted them to pull back from the brink? Beats me. But I'm damn glad they did.
Alas, the joy is not being felt in the union halls. Nosirree. They're hopping mad. Spitting fire. Ready to go to the mattresses. And who's their designated savior? State Senate Presidend Steve Sweeney.
State Senate President Stephen Sweeney joined a group of union leaders Tuesday to bash the state Supreme Court's ruling that Gov. Chris Christie has the legal right to slash billions in public worker pension payments, calling it an "outrageous" decision that hurts hundreds of thousands of government employees.
"We're not done fighting this," Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said at a news conference at the Statehouse in Trenton hours after the ruling was released. "The court gave us a lousy decision. I respect the courts, but they are so dead wrong on this thing."
No Mr. Sweeney, it is you who is "dead wrong."
Government does not exist for the benefit of its employees. And it's politicians like you who created this monster by promising those employees gold-plated benefits packages in exchange for their votes. You knew all along that the pension system was unsustainable. There isn't enough money in the world to fund the lavish benefits you promised to deliver.
But a Democrat's gotta pander, and Sweeney panders with the best of them.
Sweeney vowed once again Tuesday that the Democratic-controlled state Legislature will introduce its own budget proposal that includes the full pension payment.
He introduced a measure last month to pump more money into the pension system by raising taxes on New Jersey households with income of more than $1 million. If passed, the proposal would generate $675 million in the coming year, Sweeney said.
Do the math. The pension shortfall is $1.57 trillion this year, and $1.8 billion for next year. Sweeney's millionaire's tax, a tired old retread of a failed bad idea if there ever was one, might bring in $675 million. Leaving him $2.7 billion short.
Ah but bad math is what's driven this pension fiasco from the get-go. The Democrats throw around a few big numbers, they raise some taxes, and promptly spend 4 times what they brought in, leaving the bill for our grandchildren.
And come 2017 it's gonna be deja vu all over again with a unionista feeding frenzy following the ascension of either Sweeney or his tax-and-spend liberal buddy Steve Fulop to the governorship. The unions want "what's theirs" and both Steves are gonna be fighting to be annointed their messiah. The promises will get more outrageous by the week, and what's sad is the greedy unionistas will eat it all up, and expect a cherry on top too.
Government of the unions, by the unions, and for the unions won't be pretty.
But with any luck, it will soon vanish from the face of this earth, in a
calamitous burst of bankruptcy that'll damn 'em all to hell.
The partisan Democrats at
Eric Holder's Loretta Lynch's
Justice Department have landed their first punch against presumptive GOP
presidential candidate Chris Christie. They convinced David Wildstein, a
long-time Christie ally and friend,
to admit he conspired to close lanes of traffic leading to the George
Washington Bridge as "punishment" to Fort Lee mayor Mark Sokolich.
Former Port Authority official David Wildstein today pleaded guilty to a two count information, admitting to a federal judge that he conspired with Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni to close lanes of traffic leading to the George Washington Bridge as punishment to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich.
Wildstein affirmed that he and Kelly — then the deputy chief of staff to Gov. Chris Christie and Baroni, then the deputy chief of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — came up with the scheme as a response to Sokolich's decision not to endorse Christie's 2013 reelection.
The former director of capital projects for the Port and chief of staff to Baroni did not implicate the governor in his appearance today.
Governor Christie maintains he knew nothing about the lane closures until he read about them in the newspapers. Since this is the same lame excuse Barack Obama uses to dodge his administration's myriad scandals, you'd think the media would buy it this time too.
Nope. Christie is a Republican. The rules are different for Republicans.
And the media smells blood in the water.
So what was basically a frat-boy prank, and certainly not the worst dirty trick ever played by a New Jersey politician, is now a federal crime.
By pleading guilty to the two counts — one detailing interference with Fort Lee residents and the second focusing on his misuse of Port resources — [Wildstein] waived an indictment.
Wildstein admitted to the judge that he had a September 2013 discussion with Kelly and Baroni in which Kelly acknowledged disappointment with Sokolich's decision not to back Christie. Wildstein said he agreed with Baroni and Kelly to cause traffic problems in Fort Lee by reducing local traffic lanes to the upper toll booth on the bridge from three to one.
Wildstein said he, Baroni and Kelly timed the closure to coincide with the first day of school in Fort Lee — for maximum negative impact. The three agreed to ignore Sokolich's pleas, he said. He also acknowledged that the trio later misled the public with its "traffic study" story, which Baroni presented to the Assembly Transportation Committee headed by Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19), who was in the courtroom today.
Childish and stupid? Yes. Pointless, too, given all the blowback that immediately started heading Christie's way. If the goal was to hurt Mark Sokolich, these 3 stooges missed their mark, by a mile.
But c'mon already. With all the corruption rampant in our government, this is what's important? This is what deserves a multi-year investigation costing untold millions of dollars?
Chris Christie already punished Baroni, Kelly, and Wildstein. They're done in NJ politics. Prosecuting them has only one aim, to get one of them to "flip" on the Big Guy himself.
Like the "John Doe" investigations into Scott Walker's Wisconsin allies, this prosecution reeks of political undertones. Chris Christie isn't my first (or 100th) choice for president, but he's apparently enough of a threat to Her Royal Highness Hillary to warrant special investigative attention.
Now don't get me wrong. People who break the law should be punished accordingly. But it would help the "optics" if punishments were handed out a little more even-handedly. Lois Lerner is still walking around free even though the dirty tricks she and her IRS cronies perpetrated were far worse than a lane closure.
And speaking of the IRS, Al Sharpton owes them millions of dollars in back taxes. Yet he's free as a bird too. I supposed it's just a coincidence that they only have time to crack down on Tea Party groups.
So go ahead. Applaud Chris Christie's downfall. Just don't act surprised
when the spotlight turns toward Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Our government
has been weaponized by rabid partisan Democrats. And they will leave no
stone unturned in their quest to maintain a stranglehold on power.
Like a famous man once said, everybody is "guilty" of something,
Anybody here remember a fellow named Chris Christie? He ran for governor, promising to "do something" about New Jersey's perennially high property taxes.
Boy oh boy, I sure do wish we'd elected that guy.
Because according to a recent study, 7 of the 10 counties in America with the highest property taxes are right here in the Garden State. Where, rumor has it, Chris Christie is actually the governor.
It's no secret that New Jersey homeowners are hit with some of the highest property taxes in the nation. But just how high, relative to other parts of the country, might be a bit of a shock.
A typical homeowner in Bibb County, Ala., paid just $228 in property taxes in 2013, according to an analysis by Zillow, the real estate website. Compare that to someone paying the median in Paramus or Ridgewood in Bergen, who shelled out $9,546 — about 45 times as much.
Bergen and Bibb lie on opposite ends of a list of median property tax rates nationally. Bergen was third-highest in the country, and the highest in New Jersey, while Bibb joined several other Alabama counties boasting some of the very lowest property tax bills for single-family homes.
Sigh. I'd be ecstatic if my property taxes were only $9,546. Alas, I'm paying closer to $16,000, and Essex County is supposedly way down the list at Number 4.
1. Westchester, N.Y., $13,842
2. Rockland, N.Y., $10,550
3. Bergen, NJ, $9,546
4. Essex, N.J., $9,288
5. Nassau, N.Y., $9,091
6. Passaic, N.J., $8,978
7. Union, N.J., $8,926
8. Morris, N.J., $8,549
9. Hudson, N.J., $8,407
10. Hunterdon, N.J., $8,392
Yay New Jersey.
The Grand Poobahs of New Jersey's state supreme court fancy themselves as agents of Social Justice — separation of powers be damned! — and today they once again have deigned to promulgate legislation from the bench, overriding both the governor and our state legislature in the process.
Because They Are The Law.
This time it's their old bugaboo "Affordable Housing." Otherwise known as "Every Town Gets A Slum." The fomenters of class envy object to the idea that some towns have nicer houses than other towns. So they sued the "rich" towns, arguing that every person is entitled to live wherever he or she wants, regardless of their income or ability to pay for said residence. Because hey, if a bunch of folks worked hard all their lives and bought fancy houses in Short Hills or Alpine or Rumson, it's not fair that poor people aren't given similar houses merely because they want them too.
A few lawfare iterations ago the court decreed that the state legislature must create an agency, the Council On Affordable Housing, tasked with devising regulations which would force every town to construct its "fair share" of low-income housing. Towns naturally fought this at every turn, and they gained an ally in Governor Chris Christie. He effectively disbanded COAH, which angered the Social Justice Warriors, and they went back to court.
Today the SJWs found favor with our state supreme court, who hath decreed that they are now COAH. Henceforth, the court will issue Affordable Housing regulations, while Chris Christie and the peoples' elected representatives can go to Hell.
The state Supreme Court today put judges in charge of regulating affordable housing in New Jersey after Gov. Chris Christie's administration repeatedly failed to obey an order for the state to establish new guidelines.
New Jersey's highest court voted 6-0 to task trial courts with deciding on a case-by-case basis how many homes should make available to low- and moderate-income residents in towns across the state.
Did you catch the hubris there? "… after Gov. Chris Christie's administration repeatedly failed to obey an order …". An order! They ordered the governor to bend to their will. And he said "no." Because in a constitutional republic, a governor is equal to the judiciary.
Well golly folks, we can't have that! The judiciary must reign supreme! They don't call themselves the supreme court for nothing! They. Will. Be. Obeyed.
And so, instead of expecting people to work hard to get ahead, our betters in the judiciary will tell those of us who busted our butts, "sorry guys, but everybody is entitled to the same thing you have." And of course, they'll get it for "free." I'll let you guess who pays for that.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Welcome to the New and Improved Declaration of Dependence:
We hold these shibboleths to be universal, that all beings are equal, that they are guaranteed by their Government to have equality in all things, that among these are Free Stuff, Respect for their Precious Feelings, and the Attainment of Happiness.
Or, as I learned it:
From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.
"Affordable Housing" is the epitome of communist agitprop. When my grandfather came here from Poland he lived in a cold-water flat Down Neck with a dozen other guys. They all worked. They didn't complain. They saved their pennies. They rode the bus. Then one day my grandfather bought himself a little house in North Arlington. Nothing fancy, but it was his. He married. Sired 8 kids. Raised 'em right. Taught 'em to work hard. And that ethic was bred into me, my siblings, and all my cousins.
No one in my family ever expected the government to hand him a free house.
The very concept, to coin a phrase, doesn't compute. In fact, it's anathema to everything we grew up believing in.
But wait, the argument goes, people need to live near their jobs!
Tell that to the guy who walks 21 miles to work. Each way. Every day.
Oh, right, you can't. Because the entitlement mentality forced him to go into hiding.
Think about that.
There are people, Obama voters all I'm sure, who would take from this man what he worked for. They deserve it. Or something.
Equality of Outcome is their birthright dontcha know.
Except that one day, and this is something the panjandrums of our "supreme"
court have yet to learn, sooner or later they're gonna run out of Other
New Jersey is broke. That fact is not in dispute.
But greedy public employee unionistas sued to force Governor Chris Christie into fully funding their gold-plated pension system. And an activist judge said "yes."
In a significant blow to Gov. Chris Christie, a judge ruled today that the governor broke a law he signed by cutting $1.57 billion from a pension payment this year, and must now work with state lawmakers to restore the money.
Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson sided with a group of public worker unions who sued to stop Christie from slashing the payment to New Jersey's retirement fund for hundreds of thousands of government workers after his administration's revenue projections fell far short and left a gaping hole in the spending plan that began last July 1.
The decision could blow a massive hole in the current state budget, sending the Republican governor and the Democratic-controlled state Legislature scrambling to come up with the funds by June 30, when the fiscal year ends.
State Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald said today he doesn't know where they would find $1.57 billion in this year's $32.5 billion budget and warned it would take "draconian" cuts to accomplish.
"The impact on programs at the end of the year would be devastating," Greenwald (D-Camden) said.
Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.
The only way to fully fund the bloated pension system's overly generous benefits is to cut discretionary spending.
So Governor Christie, cut. And then cut some more.
Decimate every sacred cow near and dear to New Jersey's libtards; cut state aid to education, slash municipal assistance, refuse to spare Medicare, and layoff legions of unnecessary unionistas.
Hit 'em where it hurts.
The retirees get their bloated pensions, but everybody under 40 gets screwed. Let's see how long that equation remains viable.
I give it 15 minutes.
Then the folks who still have jobs will decide to cut their losses and let the "biological solution" take care of the grumpy grifters.
Or not. In the end it doesn't matter who gets screwed, so long as it's not us taxpayers.
Chris Christie wants to be president. Ergo, he won't raise taxes to satiate
the pension behemoth. So whatever constituency does get hosed, I'll be the
guy over there laughing in the corner.
The exodus from New Jersey is becoming a stampede.
People are moving out of state at twice the rate they're coming in.
Nearly two of every three families making an interstate move involving New Jersey last year were leaving the Garden State, the highest rate in the country.
New Jersey had the greatest percentage of outbound moves of any state nationally last year with almost 65 percent departing, according to a company which bills itself as the largest transporter of household goods in the country.
The Garden State has led the nation in outward migration for the fourth time in five years.
Where are they going? To states with lower taxes, lower cost of living, and more freedom. Texas. The Carolinas. Florida. Red states primarily, because socialism sucks.
And another 1,000 folks are headed to Atlanta, because the cost-savings for Mercedes-Benz are too good to turn down.
The lure of lower taxes, a cheaper cost of living, more access to critical transportation networks, key manufacturing plants and about $50 million in incentives has sealed it — German automaker Mercedes-Benz is departing Bergen County for Atlanta. And with it, potentially close to 1,000 jobs.
In an interview with NJ Advance Media following the announcement, Mercedes-Benz CEO Stephen Cannon, a Wyckoff native, said Atlanta won out because of the high quality of life, proximity to universities like the Georgia Institute of Technology and the business climate.
They're voting with their feet. They're voting against the two Steves (Fulop and Sweeney) who both covet the allure of Drumthwacket, and who both promise to enact a ruinous "millionaires' tax" immediately after succeeding Chris Christie.
Because we don't pay enough taxes already in this state.
Alas, the takers are never satiated. And we sure do have a lot of takers; consumers of government, who always vote for Democrats and their fatuous promises of more free stuff.
Things are only going to get worse. Which is why so many makers
are fleeing from New Jersey.
Gov. Chris Christie's latest trip to Dallas to root for the Cowboys in the box of team owner Jerry Jones didn't just grab the attention of Cowboys fans and enemies, it drew the ire of a Washington D.C.-based super PAC with ties to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
American Bridge, a pro-Democratic group that conducts opposition research on Republicans, wants to know the cost of Christie's latest trip.
American Bridge is the brainchild of David Brock, founder of the radical lefty website Media Matters. Totally impartial dontcha know!
Brock is outraged that Christie would use taxpayer dollars for his security entourage. But all the taxpayer dollars wasted on Dear Leader's Hawaiian vacations? Not on his radar. Doesn't matter.
Hypocrisy. The lefties don't want you to notice it. And the clowns at the
Star-Ledger shamelessly exploit this non-story, because in Jersey
there's no sin greater than rooting for the Cowboys, except, of course,
for voting Republican.
They dug, and they dug, and they dug. And they found nothing.
A report summarizing a yearlong investigation by the legislative panel examining the George Washington Bridge lane closures found no evidence of Governor Christie's involvement but concluded that two of his allies acted "with perceived impunity" when they gridlocked Fort Lee's streets apparently for political reasons.
The committee's 136-page report, drawing off sworn testimony, private interviews and thousands of subpoenaed documents, also highlights the unsuccessful efforts by a now-shuttered arm of Christie's office to court the Fort Lee mayor's endorsement, finding that the closures were "motivated in part by political considerations."
The report states there is "no conclusive evidence" as to whether the governor "was or was not" aware of the lane closures or involved in directing them.
Two knuckleheads did something stupid. Chris Christie fired them. Those are the facts. Everything else is politically-motivated posturing.
The governor's office released a statement late Thursday in response to the report from the attorney it hired to conduct its own investigation.
"The committee has finally acknowledged what we reported nine months ago — namely, that there is not a shred of evidence Governor Christie knew anything about the GWB lane realignment beforehand or that any current member of his staff was involved in that decision," attorney Randy Mastro said. "Thus, the committee's work has simply corroborated our comprehensive investigation. And with this inquiry behind it, the governor and his office can now focus on doing what they do best — serving the public interest."
Alas, the Ready For Hillary crowd isn't giving up.
The "interim report" also leaves open the possibility of continuing the inquiry. In the summer, federal prosecutors asked the panel not to call central figures in the scandal so as to avoid interfering with the criminal investigation. "The report will be supplemented should additional material information be obtained," it concludes.
Translation? "We'll continue this witch hunt until Hillary is safely ensconced at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." The gang accusing Christie of orchestrating a partisan stunt is itself engaging in blatantly partisan demagoguery. They've invested too much in their preferred narative to back down now. And a compliant press will gleefully flog this dead horse for the next 23 months. Because the point of their charade never was to find the truth, it's always been about embarrassing Chris Christie's presidential ambitions.
Mission not accomplished. Like I said, oops.
Why does a New Jersey game warden need an M-14?
The M-14 is an assault rifle capable of firing hundreds of rounds per minute.
New Jersey's Division of Fish and Wildlife, whose conservation officers enforce the state's wildlife laws and regulations, now has 16 of the military rifles — all acquired from the Department of Defense.
Because, shut up.
"This is a fully engaged police agency that patrols more than 800,000 acres in all 21 counties, plus our waterways, and faces a wide-ranging variety of policing issues," said DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese. "There are a variety of tactical considerations as to why these rifles are issued, and for their potential use. But we will not engage in a public dialogue in the media to detail our operational procedures."
I can smell the arrogance from here. Fishing without a license is a serious offense, and don't you dare forget that, punk.
Besides, that kid on a quad needs to feel the fear. And the fusilade from an M-14 is just the thing to keep him in line, unless, you know, you're sane.
Sadly though the militarization of our police will never end. The cops like their shiny toys. And they especially like being able to lord them over us peons, who aren't even allowed to own an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle any more. The Pentagon is happy to oblige, since they're got warehouses full of esoteric weaponry in search of a home.
Old and busted: To protect, and serve.
New hotness: Gun control for thee, but not for me!
Gee, I feel safer already.
No NJ farmers use pig gestation crates. But that didn't stop our state's grandstanding Democrats from passing a bill to ban them here, and then daring Chris Christie to veto it.
Your move, poseurs.
Decrying what he called "partisan politicians" seeking "a political cudgel" with which to beat him, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation banning the use of pig gestation crates in New Jersey today.
In a statement released to the media, Christie urged legislators "to turn their attention to actual problems facing New Jersey" noting he rejected nearly identical legislation last year sponsored by the same legislators. At that time, both the N.J. State Board of Agriculture and Department of Agriculture found the bill to be unnecessary.
"I will rely on our in-state experts rather than the partisan politicians who sponsor this bill. These facts are no less true today," Christie said.
The bill, which Christie called "a solution in search of a problem," gained national notoriety not so much for the effect it would have on New Jersey's actual swine — there are only 9,000 in the state, according to USDA statistics — but on Christie's political fortunes: Iowa is not only home to the first-in-the-nation political caucuses for the 2016 presidential election, but to 20 million pigs. Nearly one-third of the nation's hogs are raised in Iowa, where hog farming alone represents $7.5 billion in total economic activity for the state, according to the Iowa Pork Producers Association.
Hillary's minions want to embarrass Christie. So they ginned up a bill that was more popular in Hollywood than in the Garden State.
Still, the vetoed bill had attracted the attention of Hollywood celebrities. The Humane Society organized a campaign with letters from stars like Danny DeVito, Bob Barker and Bill Maher; Jon Stewart mocked Christie's planned veto from his perch on "The Daily Show."
Imagine a universe where anyone with a brain cared about what Bill Maher or Jon Stewart said. Then meet State Senator Ray Lesniak, the Democrats' point man on this gotcha.
This time, Lesniak said, he will wage a much harder campaign to override Christie's veto.
"It will be a campaign the likes of which has never been seen before. Supporters of this bill got 135,000 signatures asking the governor to sign it. From across the nation, but mostly from New Jersey. That army of supporters will be mobilized," Lesniak said.
If only Lesniak could "mobilize" people to solve our actual problems. You know, small things like crime, poverty, unemployment, and high taxes. Nope. Pigs. Pigs are what moves him to action. Theoretical pigs at that, given how, like I said, nobody in New Jersey actually uses gestation crates.
It's theater of the absurd, playing out to distract us from Lesniak's team's policy failures. The Democrat brand took a beating earlier this month. Chuck Schumer is breaking ranks to lambaste Obamacare. The #Ferguson "protests" have exposed the dark underbelly of Obama's race pimping friends. And the discovery of Lois Lerner's "lost" emails threatens to derail the carefully crafted narrative of the IRS supposedly targeting liberal organizations too.
People have finally figured out that the Democrats are full of, er, manure.
And Chris Christie isn't going to wallow in their slop.
It costs $2 million dollars a mile to build roads in New Jersey. That's 8 times the national average, and almost 3 times more than Massachusetts, the next most costly state.
Uh, "utilities." Because no other state has those, or something.
The Reason Foundation says New Jersey spends just over $2 million per state-controlled mile on construction, maintenance and administration, triple the roughly $675,000 spent by the next-highest state, Massachusetts, and more than eight times the national average of $162,200. Its pavement conditions nevertheless rank poorly, too, with the state's only positive ranking being the nation's fifth-lowest fatality rate.
"It's just bad deals that have been made by politicians who get political donations from unions. Project labor agreements and prevailing wage artificially inflate the costs of road work," said Daryn Iwicki, state director for Americans for Prosperity. "New Jerseyans need answers as to why we do the things that we do here."
The reasons don't lie solely with the higher costs for union labor, said Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, the chief operating officer for Joseph M. Sanzari Inc., a major North Jersey general construction company. The state's dense population, high costs for acquiring land and the expenses for relocating utilities are major factors, he said.
"That doesn't happen in many states, in open areas. When you open up a road, there's so many more utilities," Sarlo said. "Digging on a street in Union City is a lot different than digging on a street out in Sussex County. Let's be honest with one another."
Honest? Only NJ has utilities? C'mon, that's so ridiculous a reason I feel dumber for having read it. There are "utilities" everywhere, even in Wyoming. Honest.
If we were being honest with one another we'd acknowledge the union stranglehold on even the smallest project.
Sen. Gerald Cardinale, R-Bergen, says costs are pushed higher by requirements such as the state's prevailing wage law. That's been on the books for more than a century and sets standards, such as salaries, benefits and overtime, for public construction projects.
"What actually happens with prevailing wage is you get a number of work rules and other factors coming into the process which raise the cost," he said. "There are studies which have shown that those raise the cost about 40 percent. That's not a small amount of money, and that causes us to get less bang for our buck."
And, if we were being honest with one another we'd definitely mention the econut-inspired hoops all construction jobs have to jump through.
The Sierra Club sues every time somebody tries to fix up a doghouse. Their lawyers are first on the scene whenever a road is built, gumming up the works with inane injunctions on behalf of turtles, pigeons, or worms. Try to cut down a tree and they'll complain about the loss of termite habitat. Think about paving over part of a swamp and they're out there advocating for the mosquitoes.
All that litigation, and the paperwork required to overcome it, is what really drives up construction costs. For example, even after the state obtained all the necessary permits for raising the Bayonne Bridge, environmental activists sued to invalidate them.
Time is money, and nobody wastes our time quite like the econuts.
And of course, while they're standing around waiting for the latest set of redundant environmental studies to be approved, the all-union construction crew is earning top dollar day after non-productive day.
It's almost as if the unions and the environmentalists are in cahoots, along with the politicians they've bought and paid for, to drag out every project for as long as possible, because then everybody's fees can really ramp up. You really couldn't envision a more perfect confluence of corruption if you tried, and we all know that corruption and New Jersey are practically synonymous.
There, now we're being honest with one another.
Being a member of our state Assembly is already a part-time job. Now it's a no-show job too.
A resolution (AR166) that was hastily introduced and immediately passed by a vote of 72-0 on Monday will allow members to use phones, email and possibly other devices to give their consent to be marked as present in order to form a quorum — or a majority of members — so they can conduct routine businessT like introducing bills or laying constitutional amendment resolutions on members' desks.
Prior to this innovation, legislators' aides were surreptitiously sneaking onto the floor of the Assembly to push the "present" button on their boss's desk, usually at the behest of a Party Boss who wanted something done now.
And of course, now that they've been caught red-handed, the "solution" is to formalize that process.
The Assembly has changed its attendance rules, a few months after several lawmakers found out from The Star-Ledger that they were marked as present at the Statehouse on a Friday evening in July when they were nowhere near it.
They're on the beach, enjoying a pina colada, and they're still working hard for you! Honest!
Because expecting our legislature to actually show up is "an anachronism."
"When you have a citizen Legislature and need to do routine things like introduce bills so committees can hear them and debate them, it just seems like an anachronism to bring everybody down there and have a quorum," [Assemblyman Jay] Webber [R-Morris] said. "Let's all just consent, either in person or by telephone, and they can go about their routine business."
Amending our State Constitution is "routine business?" Wow.
The quorum was necessary to get the clock ticking on a constitutionally-mandated 20-day waiting period for a proposed constitutional amendment to allow judges to deny bail to some defendants.
I wonder if the folks affected by this amendment can "phone it in" too?
Tele-legislating. It's like telecommuting, with fundraising. Because what our
government needs is less accountability to the people.
Oops, the Big Guy wasn't in the loop after all.
The U.S. Justice Department investigation into Gov. Chris Christie's role in the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal has thus far uncovered no evidence indicating that he either knew in advance or directed the closure of traffic lanes on the span, federal officials tell NBC 4 New York.
The September 2013 closures -- where several entrance lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee were shut down, causing a traffic nightmare for commuters -- has been the subject of several federal and state investigations.
Federal officials caution that the investigation that began nine months ago is ongoing and that no final determination has been made, but say that authorities haven't uncovered anything that indicates that Christie knew in advance or ordered the closure of traffic lanes.
According to one former federal prosecutor who had no involvement in any of the probes into the lane closures investigations of this kind will often turn up a solid connection early in the inquiry.
"My experience with federal law enforcement is that once you reach critical mass if you don't have it within nine months or so, you're not likely to ever get it," former federal prosecutor Robert W. Ray said.
Will Assemblyman John Wisniewski and the Democrats give up now and put this nonsense to rest?
Don't hold your breath.
"This is not a Chris Christie investigation," he said in a statement. "It's an investigation as to why this happened and who authorized it. As a consequence, this does not change our position."
It's not clear when federal authorities will conclude their investigation or if criminal charges will be handed down to Christie's aides. There are still other angles to the investigation, including how Port Authority funds were used. It is unclear where that part of the investigation might be going.
I'll tell you where it's going. Nowhere. There's no "there" there, no matter how much Wisniewski's band of Hillary surrogates might wish for a smoking gun to magically appear.
But, they're gonna keep slinging this mud for all it's worth until their girl
is firmly ensconced in the White House, or Christie drops out of contention for
2016, whichever comes first. That's been the point of this phony scandal since
Day 1. And if the taxpayers have to shell out millions more for lawyers and
investigators and hearings, well so be it. It's merely the price we pay for
electing an ostensibly Repubican governor in a deep blue state. Just ask