Bramnick-Rible-Rumana: Legislature Needs To Work On Issues That Matter

On the eve of Thursday’s General Assembly voting session, the first since June, Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, Conference Leader Dave Rible and RepublicanWhip Scott Rumana held a press conference to discuss the Republican Legislative Priorities, including urging the Assembly to take up the tax relief legislation commonly referred to as the “Tax Relief for New Jersey Families Act.”

The comprehensive tax relief bill, was introduced on Sept. 24, 2012, and is sponsored by Assemblywoman Donna Simon, R-Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex and Mercer, and Assemblyman Chris A. Brown, R-Atlantic. Under the bill, the average homeowner would save an estimated $775 when the legislation is fully enacted. Renters would receive an additional $250, and while wage earners participating in the Earned Income Tax Credit Program would benefit by an extra $550.

“We need to light a fire under New Jersey’s economy by delivering relief to taxpayers,” said Bramnick, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “Unfortunately, Thursday’s Assembly board list does not include any bills that address the number issue on the public’s mind. People are concerned about their tax burden and yet that doesn’t seem to be a priority for the Assembly Democrats. Republicans stand ready to work with our colleagues across the aisle to make tax relief and economic reform bipartisan priorities.”

The Republican leaders noted that the Assembly has not met all summer and, since returning to session last month, four committee hearing dates have been held. Assembly committees heard more than 130 bills and nearly 50 pieces of legislation will be voted on Thursday, none of which will return money to taxpayers or reduce the cost of government.

“Bills that encourage people to purchase more glass products are not among taxpayers’ highest priorities,” said Rible, R-Monmouth. “After returning from summer recess, the Assembly must place policies such as cutting taxes and helping small businesses and manufacturers as its top priorities. Tomorrow’s board list is silent on these issues. Increasing fines for damaging trees or shrubs won’t improve our economy – putting money back into consumers’ pockets will.”

“Democrats have been stonewalling us on unused sick leave reform and tax relief legislation all year,” said Rumana, R-Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Morris. “Yet just last month Senate President Sweeney introduced legislation calling for a business tax credit for employers who hire individuals who have been unemployed for a year or more.

“We have not yet discussed the merits of the bill and the sponsor has no information on how much it will cost, yet he said his plan is to fast track it into law by the end of the year,” continued Rumana. “In the meantime, our proposals to reform unused sick leave – which will save local governments billions of dollars – and provide tax relief to middle class families have not even received a committee hearing.” TLS.

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  1. The stonewalling in the legislature is part of an ongoing pattern. It also could be expected in light of New Jersey politcal history.

    New Jersey is not so much a state as it is a collection of countless little political fiefdoms without a united statewide interest. This was supposed to change with the 1947 constitution creating the strongest governor in the nation—empowered with the conditional and line item vetoes—but without mass media, no commercial television station to galvanize public opinion in the state, state leaders are occupied with the concerns of special interest. The political bosses still are a dominant force and the tradition of power of the land is strong as ever.

    The recent stonewalling began after Governor Christy took on some the other branches. He attacked judicial compensation in Pension and Health Care Benefits Act and the courts ruled it unconstitional. The Governor’s appointment of Kwon, a Republican, would have broken the 4/3 balance between the parties on the NJ Supreme Court that Chief Justice Vanderbilt set up in 1947. Christy refused to reappoint a sitting justice for the first time. In retaliation, all his nominees to the court have been blocked. His friction with the courts lead to the stonewalling in the legislature. Christopher Cerf is only the “acting commissioner” of education since he lives in Essex County and Senator Rice of Essex County blocked his confirmation using “senatorial courtesy.” In retaliation, Governor Christy refused to appoint judges to the Essex County Superior Court. In light of these events, vacancies on the high court and lower courts, stonewalling on legislation is nothing out of the ordinary.

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