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Legislation sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) to prevent wasting $12 million in taxpayer money on a special election was passed today by the New Jersey Senate with a vote of 22-15-1. The bill, S2858, would temporarily move the regularly scheduled November 5 General election to the date of the October 16 special election scheduled by Governor Christie to fill the vacancy in the U.S. Senate after the passing of Senator Lautenberg.
Senator Turner has criticized the Governor for using his authority to schedule two special elections that will cost taxpayers approximately $24 million.
“Governor Christie’s October surprise election on Wednesday, less than three weeks before the General election where his name is at the top of the ballot, is all about naked political ambition for national office,” said Senator Turner. “Having three elections every other month and a fourth less than three weeks apart will also cause voter fatigue, suppress voter participation, and cost millions of dollars.”
“Today’s vote shows that Republicans embrace bipartisanship and fiscal conservative principles in theory but not in practice,” said Senator Turner. “Fiscal conservatives failed the taxpayers and didn’t have the courage to put their money savings where their mouths are.”
“The Governor stated several years ago that he would not waste taxpayer money by having a special election to fill a U.S. Senate seat, but now when asked how much it would cost, he said ‘I don’t know, and frankly I don’t care,” said Senator Turner. “Senior citizens waiting for homestead rebates and residents still waiting for their income tax refunds care a whole lot. The Governor should run for higher office on his own dime and time, and not burden our taxpayers with an unnecessary $24 million expense.”
According to a recent Monmouth University poll, New Jersey voters are saying that they do not support spending $24 million for the special election, with a resounding 75 percent saying they disapprove.
The Governor has promised to veto the bill now headed to his desk. Senator Turner said that fiscal conservatives will have the opportunity to redeem themselves to the taxpayers when the bill is returned to the Legislature for an override.
Senator Shirley K. Turner
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