TRENTON - Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) of West Deptford, and his bills took up much of the limelight this past week, discussing both policy and the political climate.
But his two bills calling for minimum wage hikes and sharing services between municipalities are likely to receive mixed reaction by Gov. Chris Christie.
While Christie seems to be fine with shared services bill, another showdown may take place between him and Sweeney, if the governor vetoes the minimum wage bill,S3. The bill calls for not only hiking the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50, but also calls for increases in future years to keep up with the rate of inflation.
Sweeney has warned if the governor vetoes the bill, S3, which the Senate passed largely along party lines on Thursday, the measure will be voted on by the voters through a public question seeking to amend the constitution. Christie has called the idea “stupid.”
On the purely political front, Sweeney said this past week that Gov. Christie is not a shoo-in for re-election, despite his sky-high approval ratings, saying there’s a long time between today and the date voters gets to make their decision on who they want as their state’s chief executive.
The popular governor, whose approval rating has reached as high as 77 percent, made it official Monday afternoon during a press conference in Port Monmouth he will seek re-election, a move that could help bolster his aspirations for even higher office.
Town officials gathered in two separate events to talk discuss the financial hardships in the wake of the superstorm Sandy.
At a committee hearing in Toms River, several mayors of Jersey Shore communities said the federal government needs to do as much as possible to help in the rebuilding process.
A couple days later at a League of Municipalities event , tax assessors said they residents of undamaged homes could probably expect taxes to go up as well to cover the rebuilding effort.
Christie said a few weeks ago residents living in storm-wrecked communities should expect their property taxes to go up, given that hikes to cover disasters are one of the exceptions allowed under the 2 percent property tax cap.
State assembly members and senators still tried introducing legislation to address the various needs the storm made obvious.
They include bills by Robert Singer, who like previous lawmakers, has legislation that would encourage businesses to have generators and impose fines on utilities if they don’t to do restoration work quickly enough.
While generators at gas stations may seem like a good idea, both Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean said mandating they have them would be hurt small businesses, if not be cost prohibitive. They agreed however that more needs to be done to make them generator-ready.
The department of Transportation released a study saying the red light cameras have contributed to an increase in the number of rear-end collisions at intersections, but has lead to a corresponding decrease in the number of citations issued.
The report provides ammunition to the arguments frequently posed by both proponents and opponents of the program.
As predicted, the state saw a shortfall in its revenues in the wake of superstorm Sandy, the Office of Legislative Services said earlier this week.
While there was 3.4 percent revenue growth, it badly trailed the 8.4 percent projection by the administration.
The OLS said in the report that revenues will need to grow 9/9 percent to keep pace.
We are privileged to run today an opinion piece by Jeff Brindle, executive director of the state Election Law Enforcement Commision (ELEC). In the piece, Brindle lays out a blueprint for how to make party organizations stronger in order "to stave off the ever-growing influence of outside groups."Read More >
'We believe in redemption': Roque heads into 2015 with full backing of the HCDO WEST NEW YORK – When local pain specialist Dr. Felix Roque delivered U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) from discomfort and restored him to the golf course, the congressman in return indulged the political fancies of...
By Jeff Brindle An August 15, 2014 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Chesler reaffirmed the place of political parties in the State’s electoral system. By rejecting arguments that unaffiliated voters should have a right to vote in... Read More >
"I think he was an army general, what was he?" - state Sen. Nick Sacco (D-32)- PolitickerNJ
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