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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
With the election only 2 months away a new poll puts Cory Booker's support at only 42%, albeit 13 points higher than GOP challenger Jeff Bell.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker leads Republican opponent Jeff Bell by 13 points, according to a poll released this morning.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind survey of 721 registered voters shows Booker with 42 percent support to Bell's 29 percent.
More than a quarter of voters — 27 percent — are undecided.
More than a quarter of NJ is still undecided? Wow.
One potential drag for Democrats is President Obama, who the poll shows with a 36 percent approval rating, compared to 49 percent of voters who disapprove.
Senator Booker is 100% behind his president.
"I believe Barack Obama has the right ideas to move this nation forward."
— U.S. Senator Cory Booker
Really Senator? What ideas?
His uber-excellent foreign policy?
Obamacare? With the moveable mandates, missing doctors, and burgeoning costs?
Executive orders on illegal immigration, that demand "immediate" action, right after this election?
Or perhaps you're in favor of his weaponized IRS? Yeah, you probably are 110% behind that one.
Maybe you mean his economic ideas? You know, the ones which have put more Americans out of work than any other president? The ones that raised the unemployment rate in majority-Black cities like Newark to the highest in history?
How about his poverty-inducing energy policies, where electricity rates have "necessarily" skyrocketed?
You can have 'em. And the capital "F" Failure they represent.
Because you, and Obama's progressive policies, have indeed failed America.
It's time for new leadership. One without slogans and platitudes masquerading as strategy.
Jeff Bell for United States Senate. He's no Obamabot. And that's a good
There's a law against wagering on professional sports. Chris Christie just told everyone in New Jersey to ignore it.
After a more than four-year battle to legalize sports betting, the Christie administration today cleared the way for wagering at the state's casinos and racetracks by telling them they will not be held civilly or criminally liable by state law enforcement agencies.
Seizing on a loophole in a federal ban on sports betting, acting state Attorney General John Hoffman issued a directive to law enforcement telling them that casinos and racetracks continued to be exempt from prosecution under the 2012 law authorizing such wagering.
The move sent a clear message to those facilities that they can begin offering wagering without fear of state reprisal, so long as no betting occurs on college sports or athletic events in New Jersey, or on any of the state's college teams, regardless of where they play.
The legal maneuver would allow betting to begin without specific, state-sanctioned regulations, licensing or authorization, which are banned under the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act and a federal court injunction issued against the state.
Along with the law enforcement directive, the state Attorney General's Office also filed a motion with U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp to make clear that the state's action is in line with his injunction, issued last year, as well as a subsequent federal appellate court ruling.
Both actions come as Gov. Chris Christie holds a closed-door summit in struggling Atlantic City, which stands to benefit the most should sports betting begin later this year.
So the casinos can take the bets, on the qt, and the state won't stop them.
But Christie'll still go after the guy in the corner deli who's offering better odds.
I think that's what we call "eliminating the competition."
And there's no guarantee Eric Holder won't take a sudden interest in what NJ's casinos are doing. Especially since the state won't be regulating the action.
This looks like a Hail Mary pass to keep Atlantic City afloat on the backs of the mathematically challenged. If it works, great. If it gets torpedoed by the feds, hey, Christie can blame them for killing AC. Politically it's brilliant.
But I have my doubts as to whether or not it's a sound revitilization
strategy. Online poker was supposed to "save" Atlantic City. And the
racetracks too. Except,
it hasn't. There's a lot less money coming in than the so-called experts
predicted. Who's to say sports betting will be the panacea they're claiming
While Chris Christie focuses on New Jersey's underfunded and overly generous public employee pension system there is another boondoggle dragging down our state's beleaguered taxpayers. Public employee health insurance. Not only is it a Cadillac Plan, it's a fully-loaded Escalade with artificially low monthly payments subsidized by those of us with Real Jobs.
New Jersey offers one of the most expensive health benefits plans in the nation to its state workers, with average monthly premium costs running nearly 1-1/2 times more than that of the rest of the country, according to the first-ever analysis of how much state governments pay to insure their employees.
A study released this afternoon by Pew Charitable Trusts and the MacArthur Foundation, both nonpartisan research organizations, found premium costs were highest in Alaska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont and Wisconsin, and lowest in Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Carolina and South Dakota.
The national average monthly premium — the cost borne by the state and its employees — was $963, compared to $1,334 in New Jersey, according to the report.
New Jersey covered 95 percent of the tab, employees 5 percent, compared to the 84 -to-16 percent state and employee split nationally.
At $65 per month this isn't in the same league as your Obamacare Bronze plan. Even if you get a whopping subsidy, it's not 95% of your premium.
But while Chris Christie might tell us how "unsustainable" this situation is, he's not doing much to rein in the growth of NJ's public employee ranks. He's all talk and no action.
And the Democrats who run this state like it that way. Because the recipients
of taxpayer largesse always vote their way.
Cory Booker's Newark — worse than Detroit.
Of the 150 largest cities in the country, only three have done a poorer job than Newark in recovering from the 2008 downturn in the economy, according to a new study.
The state's largest city finished 147th overall after WalletHub compiled numbers of the cities most and least-recovered.
The study used 18 key metrics — from the inflow of college-educated workers and number of new businesses to unemployment rates and home price appreciation.
Detroit beat Newark by 2 slots, at #145.
Meanwhile, the idiot voters of NJ promoted Booker to the U.S. Senate, despite his legacy of failure as mayor of Newark. Because posting pithy sayings on Twitter is like way better than solving his city's problems.
Remember David Dinkins? Yeah, Cory Booker makes him look good.
Which is why, maybe, Republican Jeff Bell is within striking distance of Booker according to the latest polling data.
On the other hand, the citizens of Newark just elected as mayor the son of the primary instigator behind the 1967 riots. Because who better to rebuild Newark than the guy whose father burned it to the ground?
Me? I'd burn it again. Check out these photos taken by my FB friend Peter Carroll. Because he captured Newark, to a T. It's where murder is commonplace. And carjacking is what passes for recreation among the "youths" of Brick City.
Remember Booker's Deputy Mayor Ronald Salahuddin? Booker would rather that you forgot, since Salahuddin is serving time for corruption. And they were such good friends, until, you know, they weren't. Because he has other friends, who may or may not have dealt drugs from inside his bachelor pad.
And here you thought T-Bone was a kind of steak.
Cory Booker failed Newark. He did nothing as mayor, except coddle criminals and pretend to be hip. The schools still suck. The crime rate is escalating. Sane people don't dare set foot in his urban paradise.
So why in the world would we re-elect him to the Senate?
Our activist state supreme court is at it again. Legislating from the bench. Penning actual legislation, and ordering that it be enacted, forthwith.
The New Jersey Supreme Court said Tuesday that the traditional privacy rights reserved for married couples — shielding their intimate conversations from public view — should no longer apply to spouses who are hatching or executing a crime together.
In a 7-0 ruling, the justices said it was time to update the state's law on criminal evidence so prosecutors can use at trial any smoking-gun communications they find between married partners. However, their ruling did not overturn the existing law.
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner wrote in his opinion that unless the change is made by lawmakers, current law could prompt criminals to team up with their spouses to avoid scrutiny by the police — a scenario that would "thwart law enforcement, and increase the risk to the public."
The justices felt so strongly about the issue they took the rare step of drafting an amendment to New Jersey's evidence law and sent it to the Legislature and Gov. Chris Christie for approval.
Well sure! Let's compel wives to testify against their husbands, just because these black-robed poobahs want to make it easier to convict drug dealers. Who needs to respect centuries of precedent, anyway? Not when spouses might decide to commit a crime together. It's almost as if they've never heard of Bonnie and Clyde…
Spousal Privilege is a time-honored tradition, going all the way back to English Common Law. It preserves the sanctity of marriage by legally recognizing the unique bond between husband and wife. They truly are inseparable in the eyes of the law, and their intimate conversations are quite rightly protected from any intrusion. The state cannot compel you to convict yourself. And likewise, it must not coerce a wife into giving evidence against her husband.
Ah, but we live now in the Age of Expediency, the Ends Justify The Means, and the state is busily chipping away at the foundation of marriage already, so what's really wrong with treating spouses as disinterested parties?
And if it takes 7 unelected judges to Show Us The Way, that's what puts the
Progress into Progressive, right?