TRENTON – The Joint Committee on the Public Schools and co-chairman Sen. Ron Rice Sr. (D-28), of Newark, sat down to hear from Acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf and Schools Development Authority Executive Director Marc Larkins today, but only Larkins showed to face the upper- and lower-chamber mixed panel.
Cerf was kept from the room in executive branch deference to the Senate Majority, in particular state Sen. President Steve Sweeney (D-3), of West Deptford.Read More >
(TRENTON) - Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver released the following statements Friday on Gov. Chris Christie's vetoes of job creation and economic development bills:Read More >
SWEENEY ON CHRISTIE ENDORSEMENT OF WISCONSIN GOVERNOR'S UNION-BUSTING
TRENTON - Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney today released the following statement after learning of Governor Christie's endorsement of attempts by Wisconsin's Republican Governor to end collective bargaining for public employees:
"Perhaps the governor is just a little tired from all his travel this week and misspoke, in which case he should apologize. Or perhaps he actually let slip how he really feels, in which case he needs to explain himself.
"What Gov. Walker is trying to do in Wisconsin isn't reform, it's just plain wrong.
"Any attempt by Gov. Christie to mirror Gov. Walker will die at the doorway of his office. I have worked with the Governor on reforms to public employee pensions and benefits, and I will continue to do so. But collective bargaining is an essential right of labor, and I will not let New Jersey follow the dangerous trail being blazed in Wisconsin, where workers rights can be tossed aside in the name of right-wing, tea party politics."Read More >
SWEENEY & OLIVER: CHRISTIE SHOULD SIGN JOBS BILLS
(TRENTON) – Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver released the following statements Thursday as Gov. Chris Christie joined a Fox News Channel commentator for a discussion on the economy:
"It is telling that the panel Governor Christie is appearing with is headlined by the CEO’s of large scale corporations, even though it is small businesses that are the backbone of our economy and the state's leading employers.
“Instead of polishing his national conservative credentials by appearing with big business leaders on Fox, the Governor should head back to Trenton and sign the 30 bills on his desk that would actually do something to help businesses large and small create jobs and get the economy moving.”
“The time for sitting around and chatting about job creation and economic development is long past over.
“Democrats were way ahead of the governor in recognizing that jobs and the economy are of vital importance to the people of New Jersey. That’s why we took strong action to jumpstart our economy with a sweeping legislative package to spark job creation.
“Unfortunately, those bills languish on the governor’s desk with unemployment hovering above 9 percent and the state having lost 16,300 jobs in December.
“The governor needs to pick up his pen and sign these bills.”Read More >
GOP keeps campaign promises by forcing colleagues to expedite ban on full-time health benefits for freeholders, political appointeesRead More >
UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS SEND MESSAGE TO CHRISTIE: SIGN ‘BACK TO WORK NJ’ NOW!
TRENTON – Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver today said news on the state’s unemployment rate sends a strong message that fixing the economy must remain the top priority in Trenton, and urged the governor to enact the comprehensive “Back to Work NJ” jobs and economic growth initiative currently sitting on his desk.
According to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, New Jersey’s unemployment rate is 9.1 percent, down .1 percent from last month. But a deeper look into the data shows that the numbers were driven by a double-whammy of private-sector job losses and an increasing number of unemployed residents dropping out of the workforce entirely. With the holidays passed, seasonal employees were let go.Read More >
SWEENEY STATEMENT ON CHRISTIE'S STATE OF THE STATE
TRENTON - Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney released the following statement after listening to Governor Christie's state of the state address:
"The Governor says he wants to stay the course over the coming year. I certainly hope he doesn't mind taking an exit ramp, because New Jersey won't be able to afford to stay a course of higher property taxes and continually high unemployment.
"For his talk of 'cutting the popular to fund the necessary,' it's obvious that in Chris Christie's New Jersey working families are popular, but millionaires are necessary.
"Working families see their schools as necessary, but the Governor cut them anyway. Property tax relief is necessary, but he cut it anyway. Women's health is necessary, but he cut it anyway and refused to budge even when presented with realistic and bipartisan options.
"What is most necessary now is real action to improve our business climate and create jobs. The Governor needs to remember that small businesses, not the millionaires among whom he's very popular, create jobs.
"We have presented the Governor with 30 bills that are necessary to reposition our economy from one of stagnation and high unemployment to one of growth and opportunity. They would do exactly what the Governor said he wants to do: roll back the taxes that are strangling small business.
"Nothing else is possible unless we get New Jersey back to work. There's no time to waste. The Governor should sign these bills today so we can start tomorrow on a better course."Read More >
SWEENEY & OLIVER ON THURSDAY PASSAGE OF ‘BACK TO WORK NJ’ BILLS TO CREATE JOBS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THROUGHOUT N.J.
Measures Promote Job Creation & Retention, Improved Business Climate
(TRENTON) – Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver on Thursday hailed the passage of about 20 bills designed to create jobs and economic development throughout New Jersey.
The legislative leaders initially announced the “Back to Work NJ” initiative in November as New Jersey’s unemployment rate continued to hover above 9 percent throughout 2010. More bills to create jobs and boost the economy will be considered on Monday.
“Today we sent a strong message to residents and the business community that 2011 will not be another lost year for New Jersey’s economy,” said Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/ Salem). “This is the bold, aggressive effort we need to start the year right and to attract businesses and create good jobs.”
“This is great momentum for the new year and I’m very pleased with today’s progress, but it was just a start toward rebuilding our economy,” said Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic). “We sent a strong message to residents and businesses that we are here to help lift our economy and spark job creation and economic development, but we have much more to do. Ensuring strong and sustainable jobs for our residents and a vibrant business environment for our state will be a continued focus.”Read More >
SWEENEY INVITES DeCROCE TO SOUTH JERSEY UNION HALL TO MEET 'THESE PEOPLE'
Says Assembly Republican Leader 'Could Learn a Lot' From Unemployed
TRENTON - Still seething over Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce's comments yesterday that scapegoated the unemployed as "these people" living a supposedly comfortable lifestyle on unemployment, Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney today invited the legislator to join him at his ironworkers union hall to meet face-to-face with the jobless residents he insulted.
"Alex may not come across too many of 'these people' in his wealthy suburban district, so maybe he needs a little trip to meet with the unemployed he holds in such low regard," said Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem). "I'm at my union hall at 5:30 every morning, and I see plenty of folks who would give anything find a job and get off unemployment. I would welcome Alex to join me any day of the week to meet with 'these people' himself. I'm sure it would be quite an education."
At a New Jersey Business and Industry Association-sponsored event yesterday, DeCroce said that current unemployment benefits are "too good for these people." He went on to say that unemployment benefits - which average roughly $350 per worker - are "too generous" and that jobless residents don't have an incentive to find work.
Sweeney noted that two weeks ago, DeCroce was quoted in the Wall Street Journal admitting his party does not even have a jobs plan, and that economic growth is "on the back burner."
As a legislator, DeCroce earns $49,000 a year. His wife, Betty Lou, is deputy commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs at $130,168 annually.
"Things may be comfy in Alex's dual-government-income household with its government-provided health benefits, but the men I talk to every day have no health insurance, no savings to dip into to pay their property taxes and are losing hope of finding good work," said Sweeney, who does not take public health benefits and donates a significant part of his public salary to charity.
Sweeney said DeCroce is failing the unemployed Morris County residents he represents. According to the latest data, the county's unemployment rate is 6.6 percent.
One of the state's and nation's wealthiest counties, according to 2008 tax data, Morris County has the state's third highest average income per filer, at $114,555.
"Alex DeCroce could learn a lot if he took some time to see that 'these people' are hard-working residents who want nothing more than to get back to work so they can provide for their families," said Sweeney. "His insensitive comments have shown just how out of touch he is with the real challenges facing residents. Maybe some time spent among the union members I have to meet every morning would cure him of his radical and radically wrong right-wing idea."Read More >
SWEENEY: DeCROCE STATEMENTS ON UNEMPLOYED 'APPALLING, YET NOT SURPRISING'
TRENTON - Following a roundtable discussion hosted this morning by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney blasted Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce for his comments that the state should cut unemployment benefits for out-of-work residents.
According to media reports, DeCroce said that current unemployment benefits, which are capped at $600 per week, are "too good for these people."
Sweeney released the following statement:
"New Jersey needs to focus on improving the economy and job creation, not scapegoating the unemployed. Assemblyman DeCroce's comments and position are appalling, yet not surprising from someone who two weeks ago admitted to the Wall Street Journal that his party had no jobs plan and that an economic growth agenda was 'on the backburner.'
"While Mr. DeCroce was busy talking in Woodbridge, Democrats were in Trenton busy leading committee hearings on nearly two-dozen bills to spark our economy and help the unemployed.
"Mr. DeCroce owes an apology, if not more, to the countless jobless residents who are just trying to survive these economic times and who would gladly exchange being on unemployment for a steady job. His comments show just how out of touch he is with reality and the state he lives in."Read More >
Gov. Chris Christie took the "upper level" -- helicoptering over the George Washington Bridge -- to beat rush hour traffic from his home state to a recent GOP fundraiser with Connecticut gubernatorial contender Tom Foley, according to a Hearst Media report.Read More >
Of friends, enemies, transactions and transportation: the evolving political relationship of Bob Menendez and Steve Fulop The image yesterday in Washington D.C. of powerful U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) walking the hallways with Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop sent a signal of Menendez’s willingness to get behind...
By Michael Capelli As a 30 year union carpenter, I learned first-hand how important it was to have the right tools for the job. Now as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the 30,000 men and women of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters I... Read More >
"Gov. Chris Christie says he won’t campaign for the Republican gubernatorial candidate in New York because the cause is hopeless: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ahead by more than 30 points. But he will campaign in New Hampshire, over and over, where the Republican is also trailing by more than 30 points. What’s the reason? It may be that New Hampshire holds the nation’s first presidential primary. It may be that he doesn’t want to mess with Cuomo, who knows where the skeletons are buried at the Port Authority. But one thing is certain: Gov. Straight Talk is spinning again. And it seems to be habit-forming." - columnist Tom Moran- Star-Ledger
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