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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?
Steve Sweeney huffed and he puffed and in the end Chris Christie blew his house down. Because Christie said raising taxes was a non-starter, which apparently is a newsflash to Sweeney, and our liberal media.
It's The End Of The World according to the class warriors at the Star-Ledger
Gov. Chris Christie signed a $32.5 billion state budget today that all but abandons a first-term plan to repair New Jersey's derelict pension system, slicing $1.57 billion from a payment required by law for public workers' retirement funds.
With his new budget — which makes modest funding increases to schools and hospitals and is 1.2 percent smaller than the one he signed last year — Christie held firm on a promise to block major tax increases in New Jersey. He vetoed a pair of Democratic bills that would have hiked rates on millionaires and businesses and reaped an extra $1.1 billion for the pension funds.
Christie's move to short the pension system — a reversal for a governor who once pledged to rescue it from collapse — could spark downgrades of New Jersey's credit rating and a difficult court battle against public-sector unions. With unfunded liabilities of nearly $50 billion for state and local workers. plans, the growing pension mess could hurt Christie's chances if he decides to run for president.
This is what passes for "objective" reporting in the Garden State. Christie "abandons" the pension system! It's a "reversal" of his "pledge!" Except, the money simply isn't there. Sweeney's millionaire's tax is a chimera; a ploy that's already been tried, and failed. Maybe the Ledger should read their own op-eds.
The big spenders at the Bergen Record are no better.
Governor Christie signed a $32.5 billion budget into law Monday evening, using his line-item veto to slash more than $1 billion in spending from the appropriations bill that lawmakers had approved knowing he would cut that funding and reject their tax increases.
Christie cut funding for women's health care, a tax credit for low-wage workers and legal services for the poor, all from the budget bill approved by Democrats on Thursday. The governor also delayed property tax relief to next year, overriding Democratic attempts to provide it next month.
The spin, it makes me dizzy. All those "cuts" are in actuality additional spending tacked onto the budget by the Democrats and nixed by Christie. Presumably because spending more money on extra stuff is how they "save" the pension system. The amounts Christie left appropriated to "women's health care," "low-wage workers," and "legal services for the poor" remain unchanged from last year. And the property tax relief game is one played by every governor since William Paterson, which makes it hardly newsworthy, unless you're out to paint Chris Christie as evil incarnate.
Chris Christie hasn't stood up for much. I'll be the first guy to say he's
been a tremendous disappointment to us Conservatives. But once a year at
budget time he's our guy. The taxpayers of New Jersey will take whatever
victories we can get, whenever we can get them. Until Christie came along
the public employee unions held all the cards around here. It's about time
they felt some of our pain.
They huffed and they puffed and Chris Christie will line-item-veto them into irrelevance anyway.
The Democratic-controlled New Jersey Legislature followed the script as expected Thursday, sending Gov. Chris Christie a new $34.1 billion state budget that would make a full payment to the public-worker pension fund and increase taxes on businesses and millionaires to plug a major revenue shortfall.
They did so even though Christie, a Republican, is expected to veto the tax hikes and reduce the pension payment to cover the shortfall before signing the spending plan.
But in the midst of a day of prepared speeches and pre-determined votes, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) could not contain his anger. He thundered at Republicans that pension reforms he and Christie enacted three years ago "came with an obligation, damn it! ... What about damn fairness?"
Fairness? What is this "fairness" of which He Would Be Governor speaks? We've had a succession of Democrat governors and legislatures, all espousing "fairness," and all failing miserably to honor their obligation to the pension fund. Because buying votes always trumps "fairness." Now Sweeney is peeved because Chris Christie plans to do the same thing every Democrat governor before him has done?
I think the word for that is "chutzpah," not fairness.
Besides, when do the taxpayers get our chance at this "fairness" thing? We're pretty damn tired of paying through the nose for bloated, inefficient, duplicative government. Revenue shortfall my ass! The budget Christie originally proposed is bigger than last year's. Sweeney's plan outspends him by another 3.3%. We have plenty of revenue, what we don't have is anyone willing to rein in spending.
Oh, and looky here, geriatric loon Loretta Weinberg (D-Abortion, Inc.) snuck in her state subsidy for the charnel houses of Planned Parenthood, again. Christie's vetoed that nonsense at least 5 times already, but hey, why not showboat for the merchants of death in one more blast of futility?
Under the guise of "fairness" the Democrats are up to their same old tricks
— tax and spend, wealth redistribution, and pandering for votes. They
haven't had a new idea in more than 50 years. Meanwhile the rest of us have
figured out that yes, you eventually do run out of other people's money.
Steve Sweeney, NJ State Senate President and The Man Who Would Be Governor, wants to tax New Jersey into prosperity. That is, if you define prosperity as gold-plated public employee pensions and benefits.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney said today that Democrats in the upper house will not go along with Gov. Chris Christie's plan to cut funding meant for public-workers' pensions, rolling out a competing budget proposal that raises a series of taxes on wealthy earners and businesses to raise an extra $1.57 billion in the coming fiscal year.
At a Statehouse news conference, Sweeney (D-Gloucester) had tough words for Christie and drew a line in the sand: If the governor vetoes the tax increases, Democrats would consider putting them before voters in a referendum, he said.
Sweeney said shorting the pension fund next year — Christie is proposing to scale back a $2.25 billion pension payment to $681 million — was no way to solve New Jersey's "budget crisis." He and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) said Christie's policies have failed to spur enough job creation and state revenue, requiring at least temporary tax hikes to get the state's finances in order.
The Takers are declaring war on the Makers.
And really, the idea that imposing more costs on businesses will spur "job creation" is laughable on its face. Unless Sweeney means government job creation, because putting more money into the state budget always results in the hiring of more public employees.
Hey, public employees overwhelmningly vote Democrat! I'm sure that's just a coincidence.
Let me ask, would you stay in New Jersey and create jobs when faced with these new taxes?
· The tax rate on income above $1 million would rise from 8.97 percent to 10.75 percent, netting $565 million.
· The tax rate on income between $500,000 and $1 million would rise from 8.97 percent to 10.25 percent, netting $155 milion.
· A new, 15 percent surcharge on the corporate business tax would bring in $375 million.
· Suspending grants from the Business Employment Incentive Program (BEIP) for a year would free up $175 million.
That's a 20% tax increase on "millionaires," and a 14% increase on incomes above $500,000. Plus a 15% corporate penalty. So the owner of a typical S Corp (small business) would see a thirty-five percent increase in his taxes.
All so guys like Lodi Police Chief Vincent Caruso can retire at age 55 with a $342,000 lump sum on top of a $125,000 annual pension. (Notice how Sweeney's tax increases kick in at $500k, just above Chief Caruso's total payout for this year. Hmmm.)
Please, tell me how any of this idiocy makes sense.
Because it doesn't.
You want to know how screwed-up the Democrats are? Take Loretta Weinberg. (Please!) She's "retired" and collecting a state pension, but she's also earning a government salary as a state senator. We call that Double Dipping and it's rampant among the politicians and unionistas who regularly complain the public pension system is under-funded.
Hypocrisy, on steroids. They're all takers, and they have no shame.
Sometimes, if you build it, they don't come.
A small but vocal group of advocates pressured NJ into legalizing "medical" marijuana. But so far, the program has been a total bust. The promised flocks of patients clammoring for this miracle drug haven't materialized, and the state-sanctioned dope dealers are hopelessly in the red.
After predictions that New Jersey's medical marijuana program could serve tens of thousands of patients with severe and painful illnesses, only 2,342 have signed up — a participation rate so small some worry the very future of the program could be at stake.
"We are hearing more and more anecdotal evidence that dispensaries are not sustaining themselves, the quality (of the marijuana) is not always there, and it's difficult for doctors and patients to get into the program," [Assemblyman Reed] Gusciora (D-Mercer) said.
Enrollment in the program has more than doubled in the last year as two of the state's three medical marijuana dispensaries opened their doors. But it's nowhere near the 5,000 to 30,000 medical marijuana patients advocates anticipated when the law was passed. Dispensary owners looked at disease statistics in New Jersey and expected at least 50,000 patients. The state's first dispensary opened in December 2012.
"We thought we would have 10,000 patients by now," said Yale Galanter, attorney and spokesman for Garden State Dispensary in Woodbridge, which has served 1,700 since opening six months ago.
The Compassionate Care Foundation center in Egg Harbor Township, which opened with great fanfare in October after securing a state-backed loan, says it needs 2,000 patients to break even and has served 600. The owners report bagfuls of cannabis are going to waste, and expansion plans are on hold.
Chief operating officer Bill Thomas quit last week, saying he could no longer work without getting paid.
"It's failing," Thomas said in an interview days before he resigned Monday. "From a business standpoint and from a patient standpoint, it's not successful. The governor says why change anything if (patients) haven't shown up. Is there really no demand, or is it so hard to get access that it is easier to buy it from the high school kid down the street? It's not like the people don't get it another way."
As it turns out, doctors are reluctant to prescribe marijuana, perhaps for the same reasons they no longer recommend medicinal alcohol. (A therapy which, by the way, I personally have found to be quite effective!)
Patients must be referred by a doctor in order to participate. Just 296 of New Jersey's 21,000 licensed physicians have signed up.
Many doctors don't want their name on the state's website, according to Gusciora, and dispensary officials from Woodbridge and Egg Harbor Township. They said doctors who are in the program report that they get calls from people diagnosed with illnesses they don't treat, as well as others who don't qualify for the program. As that word spreads, other doctors are wary about joining the program, the officials say.
And given the stigma surrounding marijuana, which is still illegal under federal law, some doctors fear they will lose patients or alienate their practice partners.
Because what New Jersey's doctors need is more liability, right?
Larry Downs, executive director for the Medical Society of New Jersey, said he found the lack of doctor involvement a "convenient excuse" for the program's struggles.
"If dispensary owners have overestimated the market, then that is not the concern of the medical field," Downs said.
"If doctors believe it is a legitimate therapy, being published on a website is not going to stop them," he added. "A lot of doctors do not believe it is a good therapy and that it does not meet standards of efficacy and safety."
Medical marijuana has always been a fig leaf, merely a pretense for aging
stoners with "back trouble" to keep getting high without the hassle of driving
to Irvington or Camden to score weed. The number of folks who might
legitimately benefit from the drug's dubious effects is, and always will be,
As if we needed another opinion poll to discover the obvious!
New Jersey's high cost of living — including its high taxes — could drive seniors out of the state, according to a poll released today.
The Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind poll found that 52 percent of the state's non-retirees said they plan to spend their golden years in another state, while just 32 percent said they want to stay in New Jersey.
"People are living longer and need their retirement savings to last beyond what previous generations expected," said poll director Krista Jenkins. "Future retirees are obviously looking for places where they can stretch their dollars, and New Jersey isn't looking too affordable these days."
Of those who want to leave, 57 percent said it's the state's high cost of living, including taxes.
In other news, water is wet.
And sooner or later you run out of other people's money.
"Economies thrive with a diversity of taxpayers, all of whose contributions and needs provide some degree of equilibrium," said Jenkins. "If broad swaths of retirees leave the state, things like school districts will suffer as the demand begins to exceed tax revenue."
No one's gonna accuse New Jersey's economy of "thriving." Not lately, anyway. And yet the Democrats who control our state legislature are hell-bent on raising taxes. Why? To transfer even more of our wealth to the public employee unions, of course.
It's the Blue State death spiral. Because liberals never learn from their
So much for Chris Christie pretending he hasn't raised taxes. He's nixing the annual Homestead Rebate program, which of course is the same as a tax increase for about one million NJ residents.
Senior citizens, disabled residents and other homeowners who are among the more than a million people enrolled in New Jersey's Homestead program will not get their property tax relief this year.
That relief — in the form of a credit on annual property tax bills — is again being delayed by Governor Christie and his administration, who blame another bad budget year.
The latest delay means people won't see this benefit until May 2015 — nearly two years since the last time the tax-relief credit was available.
"When you're running out of money, you've got to manage your cash carefully," Christie said on Wednesday, defending the decision to delay the credit as part of a plan to reduce his proposed budget by $1.7 billion. "You've got to prioritize your bills and decide which ones you absolutely must pay."
I love how he uses Democrat-speak — returning our money is a "bill" he "must pay." Wrong! It's revenue he never should have collected in the first place! When government gets to decide how big our allowance should be each week that's not Liberty, it's tyranny.
If Chris Christie doesn't understand that, he's not fit to run for president.
Here's a thought. Last year public employees siphoned an additional $360 million dollars out of our wallets and Chris Christie added 1409 workers to the state's payroll. I don't know about you, but from where I sit New Jersey government was working pretty well before 1409 new parasites latched on to the public teat.
Their $360 million dollar cost is almost equal to the $375 million dollar tax
increase Christie is dumping on us. Take the additional $15 million out of
Global Warming Climate Change slush fund or the UN Agenda
21 bike lane boondoggle. That's how you cut real spending.
New Jersey has the second highest tax burden in the nation. We shouldn't be
striving for #1.
So much for "remaking" our activist state supreme court.
Chris Christie plans to re-nominate the biggest lefty of them all, activist Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, to a lifetime term. He'll continue legislating from the bench until the year 2030.
Gov. Chris Christie today will re-nominate Stuart Rabner as chief justice of the state Supreme Court, The Star-Ledger has learned.
The development is a breakthrough in negotiations between Christie and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), who had been locked in a battle over New Jersey's highest court for years, and a victory for Sweeney.
According to three sources with knowledge of the agreement, Rabner — who has been chief justice since 2007 — will be nominated by Christie for tenure, and serve until he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 2030.
Christie, in turn, will get to nominate with Sweeney's support a close ally to one of two vacant seats on the court: Superior Court Judge Lee Solomon, a Republican who previously served as president of the Board of Public Utilities.
The remaining court vacancy would remain unfilled, the sources said, with Judge Mary Catherine Cuff, a Democrat, continuing to serve on a temporary basis.
Lee Solomon is ostensibly a Republican, but he's no Conservative. Meanwhile Sweeney gets two hard-core liberals, which keeps the court firmly in the activist camp. Rabner led the charge for homosexual "marriage," dictated to the legislature on so-called "affordable" housing and school funding formulas, and set the stage for deadbeats to walk away from their mortgages in the name of "social justice."
I shudder to imagine what kind of progressive idiocy he'll foist upon us over the next 16 years.
For me, and many others, this seals Chris Christie's RINO status. Political strategist Rick Shaftan agrees:
Chris Christie talked the talk.
He hasn't walked the walk.
For the sixth time in four years, New Jersey's credit rating took a hit yesterday.
Only a few days after news broke that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may punt on a $1.58 billion pension payment, the GOP star and presidential hopeful incurred his state's sixth credit downgrade in four years. Moody's has lowered New Jersey's rating to A1, matching downgrades by two other rating agencies and sticking it with the third-lowest rating among states.
And another downgrade is right around the corner.
"The downgrade to A1 reflects the weakened financial position resulting from recurring revenue shortfalls and ongoing reliance on non-recurring resources that have deferred structural imbalances into future years," Moody's analyst Baye Larsen said in the report. She said the state's outlook was negative, meaning it may face a further downgrade.
It's easy to blame Christie, but he's working with an openly hostile and partisan state legislature which has shown no willingness to make tough choices. Still, his latest budget proposal is larded up with spending and his economic team's ability to forecast revenue has been spotty at best. He ought to be reining in the gravy train because he's running out of time to get New Jersey's finances under control.
Waiting in the wings for 2017 is the Steve and Steve clown show, as South Jersey Democrat Steve Sweeney faces off against North Jersey Democrat Steven Fulop in a race to see who can most effectively pander to their liberal base. Whichever one gets the nod the song will be the same — raise taxes, soak "the rich," and throw money at the public employee unions.
Because under Chris Christie we're only the 3rd-least tax-friendly state in the nation. The Democrats want us to be Number 1!
No wonder our long-term outlook is "negative."
When he first ran for Governor, Chris Christie promised us a tax cut.
When he ran for re-election, he promised us a tax cut.
When he submitted this year's state budget, he promised "no new taxes on the people of New Jersey."
We never got our tax cut.
And his budget contains 23 new and increaed "fees," which of course are merely taxes by another name.
Two months ago, Governor Christie proposed a $34.4 billion budget, promising "no new taxes on the people of New Jersey."
Now his administration is detailing nearly two dozen fees and fines that he wants increased — none of which was made public at the time.
The tax policy changes would increase revenue for five different state departments.
They include boosting the $2 fee added to motor vehicle fines to fund the state's forensic DNA lab by 75 cents. The fingerprint fees for non-criminal background checks would go from $30 to $45.
Home improvement contractors would be forced to pay $110 instead of $90 to register with the state, and $90 instead of $75 to renew their registration.
The state's Division Alcoholic Beverage Control, which regulates the sale of alcohol in New Jersey, would also increase fees across the board, according to Christie's proposal.
Assemblyman Joe Cryan, D-Union, walked the treasurer through each proposed fee and fine hike during the Assembly Budget Committee meeting held Wednesday.
"These increases touch on everything from boarding homes to job-creating urban businesses to motor vehicle services to cemeteries to home improvements," Cryan said. "Not much is left untouched, which is unfortunate for New Jersey residents and businesses."
All this to fund the largest budget in state history, with a whopping 3.5% increase in spending over last year. Oh, and by the way, there's an $807 million dollar hole in the current budget, something Christie intends to paper over in the hope none of us will actually notice it.
All told, Chris Christie has increased the budget by over 18% since he took office in 2010 and declared a "fiscal emergency" due to, wait for it, excessive spending.
Time to look in the mirror Chief. We have met the Excessive Spender, and he's