PARAMUS - Up for re-election this year as freeholder in what promises to be a countywide donnybrook here in Bergen, Demarest Mayor James Carroll stakes out his positon as an antagonist to Gov. Chris Christie's budget and a proponent of renewing the millionaire's tax to help the state through its present fiscal crisis.
"The governor wants the $2,000 a year I make as mayor? Tell him to give me a call - it's his," said Carroll, who makes an additional $29,000 and change as chairman of the freeholder board.
"We don't do this because we want to make money," he added. "We do this because we want to serve our communites."
As for Christie's budget proposal - which would eliminate $1.5 million from the Demarest school system and regional high school and $142,000 in municipal aid - "it puts us on life support," said the mayor, moments after testifying before the Senate Budget Committee at Bergen Community College.
"I know times are tough," he said. "I know we're in a crisis that is beyond Democrat and Republican at this point. But we shouldn't be cutting aid to a community life preserver like this college while allowing the millionaire's tax to sunset."Read More >
PARAMUS - Gov. Chris Christie's budget proposal to scrap Blue Laws in Paramus to bring in more tax revenue from shopping isn't the only thing that brings Mayor James Tedesco to the front of the room here at Bergen Community College, where he bashes the FY 2011 proposal from all angles.
"It's an unfortunate decision," he says, referring to what he descries as disproportionate school aid cuts. "These cuts will increase class sizes and reduce teaching staff."
Then there's the $1 million reduction in municipal aid, which the mayor says would put constraints on staff even as the governor simultaneously wants to repeal the Blue Laws to allow Sunday shopping.
"That will mean more police, more ambulances, more services," says Tedesco, his voice rising. "Ladies and gentlemen, the governor needs to relook at this budget."Read More >
PARAMUS - The theater shifts from the front line in Trenton to the front line in Bergen today, where state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) presides as appropriations chairman for a statewide hearing on Gov. Chris Chris Christie's proposed 2011 budget.
"A total coincidence," says Sarlo, when asked about the symbolic import of kicking off these budget hearings in his home county, which happens to be the crucible for a contentious county executive's race, where Democrats are trying to hold onto power in the face of a Christie-infused GOP.
Dems say Christie's state funding cuts - including $821 million statewide to schools and $445 million to muncipal aid - have brought their party off the cold slab just in time to fight off County Clerk Kathleen Donovan, a Republican intent on taking the seat of County Executive Dennis McNerney.
"We scheduled this a while ago, and it's just a coincidence that the governor's budget hit Bergen the hardest, in terms of cuts to municipal and school aid and then the Blue Laws," says Sarlo as he heads to the front of the room here at Bergen Community College.
The senators take their seats and Sarlo begins the hearing.
"We'll have an opportunity at some point today hopefully to talk about just Bergen issues with a group separately," says the budget chairman.Read More >
TRENTON - The Senate Judiciary Committee has Labor Commissioner nominee Hal Wirths under the interrogation lamps here at the Statehouse Annex, and state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) immediately goes after the Bergen County Blue Law issue.
"I was open Sundays," banker and former small business owner Wirths tells Sarlo when asked if he favors Gov. Chris Christie's budget proposal to repeal Blue Laws for Sunday shopping in Bergen.
"You would support repeal of Blue Laws in Bergen County?" Sarlo asks.
"I'm a home rule guy so I would have to give it some thought," says Wirths. "I haven't given much thought to the Bergen County Blue Law. I don't want to give a shoot from the hip answer.
"I'm not a legislator or a senator... but I think it makes sense," he adds.
Sarlo sits up in his chair.Read More >
State Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest) says the Bergen County Democratic Organization (BCDO) is in the decaying stages of an often troubled and sometimes tortured tenure that makes its members' sudden racing pulses in the wake of Gov. Chris Christie's budget address but a faint and misplaced stir of energy that will hardly catapult Bergen Executive Dennis McNerney's past Republican challenger Kathleen Donovan.
Assessing the aftermath of Christie's budget rollout, which would ax $21,120,868 in state aid out of suburban Bergen County, Cardinale said the taxpayers he encounters "are pleased as punch."
"If the (BCDO) thinks this budget is unpopular, they're whistling past the graveyard," said the veteran GOP senator. "This budget is unpoplar only with a small segment of the Democratic Party. Rank and file Democrats - they like it. They would favor it because they're sick of the taxes. Christie has done a remarkable job."
Cardinale said what he expected would have been former Gov. Jon Corzine's plan - raising the sales tax by two cents and imposing an across -the-board income tax increase - would have simply perpetuated New Jersey's fiscal crisis. And he doesn't think Christie's just staking out an extreme position with a declaration of deep cuts, that he could walk back in negotiations with the Democratic Party-controlled legislature.
"I don't think the governor will give ground on a tax," he said, specifically referring to the millionaire's tax, which Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange) wants to reinstate before signing onto many of the governor's proposed cuts.Read More >
Sarlo: 'Devastated' Bergen County Perfect Host For Budget Committee's First Public Hearing
TRENTON - Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen) today said that while the committee chose Bergen Community College to host its first public hearing prior to Governor Christie's Tuesday budget address, the selection was made even more appropriate given the county's dire prospects under the proposed plan.
The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee is scheduled to hold its public hearing 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 23, in the Moses Training Room, Bergen Community College, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus.Read More >
The latest issue in Bergen County: Gov. Christopher Christie’s plan to end Blue Laws. Christie says Sunday retail shopping in Bergen County would bring the state an additional $65 million in annual revenue. Expect legislators from both sides of the aisle to oppose the plan – this is one issue where Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), who will run the budget hearings, and conservative State Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest) are in agreement. Polling has showed the repeal of Blue Laws to be politically toxic among Bergen County voters.
The plan may not be entirely within the control of the governor and the Legislature. County Clerk Kathleen Donovan, the likely GOP candidate for County Executive, says that any repeal of Blue Laws would have to be approved by voters in a countywide referendum – and approved by voters in any municipality where the Sunday prohibition would be set aside.
“Clearly, this is an issue that should and will be left to the voters,” said Donovan, who has said she would vote against the repeal. Donovan has also noted that the courts have upheld a local Paramus ordinance prohibiting work of any kind on Sundays.
SARLO: GOVERNOR GIVES SENATE BUDGET PANEL 'PLENTY TO CHEW ON' AS FY11 REVIEW BEGINS
TRENTON - Senator Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, today released the following statement on Governor Chris Christie's proposed Fiscal Year 2011 state budget:
"The Governor has certainly given the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee plenty to chew on over the next eight weeks.Read More >
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-ridge) doesn’t know what Gov. Chris Christie’s budget for next year is going to look like, but he’s it’s going to be tough and that Republicans are going to have to vote for it.
“I think what’s going to be unique about this year… is our colleagues and friends on the Republican side of the aisle have been able to sit back, criticize and not put up any difficult votes in difficult budget years,” he said. “That most likely will change this year, and they’re going to have to be prepared to provide sufficient votes on.”
Sarlo said that since budget details have not yet been released, it’s far too early to tell whether it would win any Democratic votes. The budget will need at least four Democratic votes to pass, even if Christie has all seventeen Republicans present and firmly behind it.
“We really have to look at the whole budget and the impact and pain it spreads across the state,” said Sarlo.
TRENTON - Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo today announced an aggressive 8 1/2-week schedule for the panel's hearings on the Governor's proposed FY2011 state budget.
"The Governor's budget address will come at a critical point for the state and it only follows that this committee not waste time in getting down to business," said Sarlo (D-Bergen/Essex/Passaic). "While we will be aggressive in our timetable, we will not skimp one bit in giving the Governor's budget the careful review it demands and deserves."Read More >
Dismissed by Republican Governors' Association (RGA) Chairman Chris Christie, New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino plans to confront his tormentor tonight at a GOP fundraiser in Aspen.Read More >
Between RGA gigs, Christie doesn't skip a beat bashing Trenton Dems at seaside LGI town hall LONG BEACH ISLAND – Gov. Chris Christie squeezed LBI between trips to IowaNew HampshireConnecticut and – tomorrow – Colorado – just long enough to puncture his favorite Trenton-based targets in front of a...
By JEFF BRINDLE Much has been written about the magnitude of campaign spending by independent special interest groups. But until now, there has been little discussion about the impact. During the 2012 Presidential and Congressional contests,... Read More >
“We lived up to our end of the bargain. He didn’t live up to his end of the deal.” - Ed Connolly, president of the New Jersey Firemen’s Benevolent Association.- The Bergen Record
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