"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Friday, June 30, 2006

New Jersey Lawmakers Call For Cuts In State Government Jobs

Yesterday, New Jersey State Senator, John Adler (D-Cherry Hill), called for reducing the state’s workforce by 2,000 jobs to save about $100 million in the 2007 budget.

"The time has come for a dramatic reduction in the state's work force," said Adler, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said the state already has asked taxpayers and local governments to bear a greater burden through higher taxes and reduced aid.
State Senator, Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford) and members of the Assembly, have called for a 15 percent reduction in personnel costs as an alternative to the sales-tax increase.

"One week after the governor attended a rally of state workers and kind of led them in cheers to support the sales tax, we have another powerful state senator in his own party, saying, "Guess what? Taxpayers come first.'"
Corzine responded to Adler's proposal with a terse statement.

"It is curious that Mr. Adler decided to send this letter on the 98th day of budget negotiations, but we will throw it into the pile," the governor said in a statement
This call for a reduction in the state’s workforce is not new and it is widely known the tremendous growth in public sector jobs is a key driver in the state’s financial crisis.

"From Day One, it's been a concern for State House observers that the governor did not recommend more layoffs in a work force of 82,000 people," Rebovich added. "I think this strikes the average New Jerseyan as bizarre that there wouldn't be layoffs. If this were their own company, surely there'd be layoffs."

Rebovich also noted Corzine's opponents face the risk of payback. "The governor has the line-item veto," he said. "He can really screw people."
Those were probably the truest words that ever came out of David Rebovich’s mouth. Corzine can really screw people and he is, with demands for huge state spending and tax increases. Corzine has made no attempt to improve state government efficiency; instead he threatens other lawmakers and taxpayers.

Seventeen months ago we wrote these words:

Senator Corzine would have you believe his wealth puts him beyond the reach of special interest groups. But Jon Corzine can’t afford to alienate state workers if he hopes to become the next Governor of New Jersey. Corzine will buy the votes of government employees, not with his money, but with yours. A candidate in the pocket of teachers and other state workers can not bring real reform and fiscal sanity to Trenton.

Now with New Jersey more than $4 billion dollars in debt, the Democrats fall back on their tried and true answer to all fiscal problems - raise taxes. They never consider the other side of the equation – cut spending. The citizens of New Jersey are the most heavily taxed in the country and still the Democrats don’t think we are taxed enough.
Our analysis was spot on. It's clear that unless the people of this state demand change, we’ll be writing about New Jersey's fiscal crisis in 2007.

Solving New Jersey’s Budget Stalemate

There’s a simple answer to New Jersey’s budget stand-off. There’s no need to shut New Jersey government, especially when you learn state workers will be paid retroactively whether on not they work for the days the government is shut down.

Just because New Jersey’s legislature passes a budget authorization bill it doesn’t mean the Governor has to spend every last dime approved. It simply lays out the maximum the Governor is authorized to spend. So why not pass last year’s budget and allow state government to keep chugging along?

Jon Corzine’s budget plan for 2007 doesn’t need to be completely scrapped. He claims he cut spending by $2.6 billion, so he can use last year’s budget along with his spending cut blueprint throughout this year to run the state. Corzine’s new spending initiatives would
be deferred to future years.

Next June Corzine can prove he actually cut that $2.6 billion by posting a year-end budget surplus of at least that amount. With $2.6+ billion in savings safely in the state’s coffers, the legislature could then authorize a hefty contribution to the state worker pension funds and throw some property tax relief our way. Everybody’s happy, no tax increases, pensions funded, rebate checks larger and no government shut down. Of course if Governor Corzine hadn’t actually cut $2.6 billion in spending, we’d know that too.

Either way, we’d start the budget process off next year knowing whether or not Corzine had made a good faith effort to run the state with spending equal to reoccurring revenues. We would also know whether or not the Governor had made “hard choices” in cutting state spending or if he had used the pension fund contribution as a fig leaf to increse spending and ram though tax increases.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Jon Corzine’s PR Stunts Continue

Last week New Jersey’s Governor Jon Corzine was selling used cars from the 9,995-vehicle state motor pool. He was hoping to raise up to $750,000 from the sales and save $1 million in gas and maintenance.

"This is both symbolic and demonstrative. We're trying with every effort to save taxpayers money. We're leaving no stone unturned," Corzine, surrounded by state cars ready for sale, said at a news conference held at the state's central vehicle facility.
This week Corzine had a cot delivered to his office so he can remain in the State House 24 hours a day in the event a budget agreement is not reached with the state’s legislature.

"In the event we have not resolved this budget crisis, the governor will be spending a lot of time in his office," Corzine spokesman Anthony Coley said. Corzine paid $183 - plus tip - for the twin-sized folding cot from Sleepy's, Coley said. It will be adorned with blue sheets from Target. Corzine paid for both with his own money, Coley said.
Thank God, he didn’t buy the sheets at Wal-mart. The New York Times says:

”The maneuver could be viewed as another bit of gamesmanship in the protracted standoff between Mr. Corzine and the fellow Democrats, led by Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr., who oppose his tax plan.”
No kidding, only Corzine’s gamesmanship began long before he was elected Governor.

Jersey Beat To Host Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers

Jersey Beat will host the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers #58 this Sunday.

All New Jersey bloggers and blog readers are invited to participate. Please send links to njcarnival@gmail.com for posts you would like featured in this week's Carnival.

After The Hootin' and Hollerin' Corzine Blinks

"I don't think a lot of hootin' and hollerin' is going to get us the right response," Governor Jon Corzine said.

Funny, the Governor didn’t seem to feel that way when he was hootin' and hollerin' with state workers, whipping them into frenzy. "I hear you, and it's time for other people in the State House to hear you," Corzine yelled at a rally in support of increasing state taxes. "I'll stand with you. I'll fight with you,'' Corzine hollered in support of state government workers.

Well, maybe the hootin' and hollerin' in the Assembly yesterday has paid off, at leat temporarily. Corzine is the first to blink in the New Jersey budget battle, indicating today he is willing to wait until after the July Fourth holiday before closing down state government.

Why not do a little hootin' and hollerin' of your own. Contact your representatives and tell them what you think about Corzine’s new $2.6 billion spending and $1.8 billion tax increases.

Here’s the contact information:

Governor Jon S. Corzine:
Telephone: 609-292-6000
Email: Link to email submission form
Address: Office of the Governor - PO Box 001- Trenton, NJ 08625

New Jersey Legislature (Assembly and Senate):
Telephone and Address: Lookup for legislators' address and phone number
Email: Lookup for legislators’ email form

Linda Stender and The “Troots”

Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union) still hasn’t announced her position on Governor Jon Corzine’s tax increases yet, but she is begging for contributions for her congressional campaign.

Similar to the state of New Jersey, Stender is strapped for cash, having raised $469,054 and spent $157,819 in campaign contributions for her congressional race.

Desperate for cash, Stender has enlisted the “troots” to “bleg” for contributions and to “swiftboat” her opponent. PoliticsNJ.com continues trying its best to help the cause

The Progressive Ideology In Practice

Chris Bowers on My DD:

The longstanding practice of progressive organizations to exploit their most dedicated workers by forcing them to live ascetic lives in order to help "the cause" is being repeated with the way many progressive organizations and campaigns are now treating the blogosphere and the netroots. We are not supposed to actually make a living helping out the progressive movement, but we are supposed to be happy eating rice and gruel as we struggle to find a way to either blog full-time, or to maintain a good blog while we hold down a full-time job.

[D]espite this, we are often asked by Democrats and progressives with real influence to help flog their latest campaign.

It also reminds me of why there is such a sharp divide within the progressive activist world that almost breaks down along class lines. As the lower rung ground soldiers for organizations like PIRG and the Sierra Club struggle to make a living, they watch as well-heeled insiders run campaigns that keep losing and losing and losing.

We have done all of this in an attempt to stop replicating the same mistakes the progressive movement has been making for decades: exploiting its hardest workers.

But now, as our success is starting to show, many progressives want to get back to the business of exploiting us and telling us what to write, as they have done to their ground troops for decades.
There’s a lesson here and Bowers has missed it. Chris Bowers is experiencing the progressive ideology in practice and he doesn’t like it. The entire “progressive movement” has always been about the exploitation of society’s hardest workers.

The well-healed, liberal elites- Kennedy, Rockefeller, Kerry, Corzine, Boxer, Pelosi, etc. – demanding ever more work and taxes from our most productive people to fuel their “progressive cause”. They have theirs and could care less how their demands affect others. This continues as we witness the failure of progressive polices time and time again. It doesn’t matter, the elite know best - shut up and think (write) what we tell you and be happy.

Guess what Chris, they don’t care how hard you work and they don’t give a damn about your struggles. You are a means to an end, power. Wake-up and stop flogging their ideas and candidates. Why help their attempt to exploit an entire nation as they have exploited you?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Why Bother The Middleman In New Jersey's Budget Crisis

Democrats in New Jersey’s state Assembly demanded Treasurer Bradley Abelow appear before the Budget Committee today to discuss the state’s financial crisis. The committee chairman Assemblyman Louis Greenwald angrily said, "The administration has some explaining to do."

Greenwald was responding to Governor Jon Corzine’s threat to close down the state’s government unless his proposed 16 percent increase to the sales tax is enacted by lawmakers.
"Members of both sides of the aisle have worked too hard on this committee to engage in a worthless academic exercise," said Greenwald, D-Camden.

"This committee will not adjourn, we will not recess, and we will not take up other bills for consideration until we've had the opportunity to discuss this crisis," said Greenwald.

He ordered an Assembly sergeant at arms to summon Abelow to the committee room. That official delivered a message to the treasurer's office and left.
An hour later state Treasurer Abelow still had not shown up, apparently explaining he was too busy bailing out the office basement from rising flood waters to discuss the budget. New Jersey state government employs more than 80,000 workers; wouldn’t you think another employee could take his place on the bailing line for an hour or so?

But, here’s an idea, why not ask Jon Corzine to appear before the Budget Committee? Corzine is the financial genius that proposed the billions in new spending and tax increases. Corzine’s the man who refuses to compromise and he’s the man making the treats, why bother the middleman?

Bob Menendez And The Minimum Wage

Bob Menendez says we wants to be elected to the U.S. so that he can increase the minimum wage. He cites his recent vote for a bill in the Senate that would have increased the federal minimum wage to $5.85 beginning 60 days after enactment, to $6.55 a year later and to $7.25 a year after that.

Put aside the negative impact an increase in the minimum wage would have on employment and ask Menendez this question. How would his position on the minimum wage help the people of New Jersey? If Menendez answered the question truthfully he would have to say that it wouldn’t help anyone in our state. The current minimum in New Jersey is $6.15 and on Oct. 1 2006, before the election, it will be $7.15.

So why would Menendez tout a position that not only won’t amount to an increase for New Jersey’s workers, but dictates economic policy to other states? As Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker has said, "Hike the minimum wage, and you put people out of work” and 90 percent of economist agree that a higher minimum wage reduces jobs for low-skilled workers.

Cornell economists Richard V. Burkhauser and Joseph J. Sabia, in a 2004 study, estimated that just a 10 percent hike in the federal minimum wage would cause an 8.5 percent decrease in the employment of young African-Americans, a 5.7 percent decrease in the employment of teenagers and an 8.5 percent drop in the employment of workers without a high school diploma.

So again, ask yourself why is Bob Menendez running on a promise to increase the federal minimum wage? It won’t boost income for New Jersey’s workers and it will cost job opportunities for the most vulnerable in other states. The obvious answer is because Menendez thinks it sounds good in TV commercials and during debates. In other words, he’s trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

Cryan: New Jersey Democrats Are The Banana

From the New York Times:

"You know how to make a banana split — you cut it and put ice cream in the middle? We're the banana," said Assemblyman Joseph Cryan of Union County, who is also the chairman of the Democratic State Committee.
The ingredient that comes to mind is nuts

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Assembly Democrats To Introduce Budget Without Corzine Sales Tax Increase

Assembly Democrats plan to introduce budget proposals on Wednesday in an attempt to avoid Gov. Jon S. Corzine's plan to increase the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent.

But don't get excited, the Democrats’ plan includes no spending cuts, just plans to tax other stuff instead. They just don’t get it, do they?

Update: "Elevating the already high stakes with a state government shutdown looming, Gov. Jon S. Corzine on Tuesday vowed to veto any state budget plan that doesn't include a sales tax increase." Boy, does that guy love incresing taxes, or what?

Update: More taxing ideas from Democrats. Still no spending reductions from Corzine's $2.6 billion in new spending.

The Second Debate Between Kean and Menendez

Reading articles about last night’s debate between Bob Menendez and Tom Kean, this exchange caught our attention.

NJN's Jim Hooker asked Menendez how he could be a man of the people when he's been living a privileged life since he got to Congress and his children have attended private school.

"My kids had the benefit of both public — they went to a public day care, they went to public elementary school and then they had the opportunity to go to private high school."
First off, why are New Jersey’s taxpayers footing the tab for “public day care”, especially for families earning a good income as was the case for Menendez family? It just seems ridiculous that taxpayers have to pay other people’s babysitting costs. It’s just one of many reasons taxes are so high in New Jersey.

As for Menendez and his wife sending their two children to a private high school, that’s their business. Most people want to give their children the best possible education and in this respect the Menendez family is no different than one else. Their children were just fortunate to have parents that could afford to send their children to a private school. There’s no shame in that.

The couple obviously decided it would be in the best interest of their children not to send them to the local public highs school, despite the fact Union City spends far more per pupil than the average New Jersey school district. Jane Jacobsen-Menendez, the Senator’s ex-wife (divorced in 2005), is a teacher and works for the Union City Board of education, so they certainly based their decision with inside knowledge. They know first hand that greater taxpayer cost per student often does not translate into a better education.

Plus look at it this way, while Menendez and his ex-wife have earned their living from taxpayer funded jobs, they could have spent their money on any number of things. But instead they paid for private school tuition, actually saving taxpayers money. Good for them, we’re very glad they did.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Menendez: Good For Me But Not For Thee

Tom Kean and Bob Menendez have both received campaign contributions from casino interests, according to their campaign filings with the Federal Election Commission. So has Linda Stender (D-Union) who sits on the Tourism and Gaming committee in the New Jersey Assembly and who is currently running for Congress.

Several Democratic state legislators have done the same. West New York Assemblyman Albio Sires, until recently the top Democrat in the lower house, has taken casino money to fund his run for Menendez's former congressional seat. Other Democratic legislators who have accepted casino money for federal campaigns include state Sen. John Adler of Camden County, who is exploring a later U.S. Senate run, and Assemblywoman Linda Stender of Union County, who is seeking a congressional seat.
So why is Menendez running an attack ad implying Kean has flouted the law by accepting contributions from the gaming industry for his U.S. Senate campaign?

"It may be technically legal, but it's certainly unethical," Menendez spokesman Matt Miller said of Kean's casino contributions. When asked whether the principle applies to Democrats, Miller said, "That's the principle we believe in, but we're in a campaign against Tom Kean Jr."
Tom Kean must be squeaky clean if Menendez had to resort to a bogus attack that paints Linda Stender and other members of his party as unethical.

Where Does Linda Stender Stand On Tax Increases?

A reader brings to our attention that Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-22) has refused to make public her position on Governor Jon Corzine’s plans to increase state spending by $2.6 billion and taxes by $1.8 billion.

Recent polls have shown the number one issue for New Jersey voters is taxes. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know where Assemblywoman Linda Stender stands on state spending and tax increases? For some reason the Assemblywoman doesn’t want her constituents to know where she stands. That can’t be a good sign, especially when you consider she’s looking for a promotion.

For more than six months Stender has been the presumptive Democrat nominee for Congress against the incumbent Mike Ferguson in the in 7th congressional district. Taxes should be a hot topic in this year’s election, but Stender’s campaign strategy apparently is to keep voters in the dark.

Not only is Stender keeping her position on state tax increases a secret, she’s keeping all of her positions close to the vest. Linda Stender’s congressional campaign website states her position on “issues will be coming soon”. Soon it will be evident Linda Stender is out of touch with the 22nd legislative distinct and the 7th congressional district.

Contact New Jersey Lawmakers In Trenton

Have you called or emailed your representatives in the New Jersey State Senate and Assembly about Governor Jon Corzine’s proposed $2.6 billion spending and $1.8 billion tax increases?

Several readers have written to let us know that Democrats in the legislature are not answering or even acknowledging emails and phone inquiries are met with pat answers explaining the lawmaker has no position on budget issues at this time. With five days to go before the budget deadline, isn’t rather pathetic they haven’t formed a position or are too afraid to tell their constituents where they stand? Don’t be afraid to tell them know where you stand.

Here’s the contact information:

Governor Jon S. Corzine:
Telephone: 609-292-6000
Email: Link to email submission form
Address: Office of the Governor - PO Box 001- Trenton, NJ 08625

New Jersey Legislature (Assembly and Senate):
Telephone and Address: Lookup for legislators' address and phone number
Email: Lookup for legislators’ email form

What are The Chances?

What are the chances that two reporters would come up such similar descriptions without either one paraphrasing the other or both paraphrasing a Bob Menendez “talking points” memo?

Written by Donna De La Cruz from the Associated Press and posted on NJ.Com – dateline: 6/25/2006, 3:39 p.m. ET

Two newspaper reports published Sunday by The Star-Ledger of Newark and The New York Times- written by reporters who covered Hudson County during the Musto administration and directly contradicting Kean's allegations — featured prominently in the hour-long debate.
Written by David Chen from the New York Times and posted on the paper’s website – dateline: June 26, 2006

On Sunday, articles in The New York Times and The Sunday Star-Ledger of Newark, each written by a reporter who covered Mr. Menendez's hometown of Union City, in Hudson County, in the late 1970's and early 1980's, found no basis in Mr. Kean's accusations, citing court documents, public records and interviews with former prosecutors.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 57

Click the Graphic for More Information

Stock Market Beat is this week's host of the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers #57.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Republican Lawmakers Offer Taxpayers An Alternative To Corzine’s Tax Hikes

Ken Adams has put together an excellent analysis of the staggering growth in workers employed by the State of New Jersey. His analysis shows that since Democrats gained control of the Governor’s seat, starting with the election of Jim McGreevey, the number of state employees has increased 26%. This increase has far out-paced the state’s population growth and has occurred despite the hundreds of millions the state has spent for technology.

Clearly, state government is becoming less productive and more costly every year. The Governor’s budget plan does nothing to address this problem that leads directly to Corzine’s estimate that “even with the sales tax increase, the state will have to close a gap of at least $2 billion next year". As Paul from NJ Fiscal Folly points out, these budget gaps and the need for ever higher taxes will continue forever unless action is taken now to curb the cost of the state’s payroll.

Assembly Republicans have proposed $2.2 billion in reductions to Corzine’s budget that, if adopted, will help stop the never ending cycle of budget gaps and tax increases. The following are just a small sample of reductions Republicans have proposed, but demonstrate Corzine’s failure to take a serious approach to controlling state spending.

Republicans recommend saving $71 million by reducing the number of political appointees on the state’s payroll:

A 2/3 reduction in the 1,300 nonessential, non-unionized personnel in the following titles would produce a salary savings of slightly more than $61,000,000. It would also save the health care, pension, and prescription costs associated with the reduction of 850 employees for an additional savings exceeding $10 million for a total savings of at least $71,000,000.

Titles: State Supervising Photographer, Government Representative, Confidential Aide, Aide to the Governor, Senior Executive Service, Legislative Liaison, Confidential Secretary, Confidential Assistant, and Administrative Assistant.
Republicans recommend reducing state employee overtime by 7% for a savings of $15 million. From the description provided this is a very modest proposal. It also demonstrates Jon Corzine’s failure to take a business approach to the budget. Would any chief executive officer facing bankruptcy approve a budget with overtime pay exceeding $210 million, $10 million more than the previous year? No, a business executive would require productivity improvements and cut overtime requirements to the bone.

Overtime for each of the past three years has averaged in excess of $200 million, with the FY 2006 figure exceeding $210 million. The Departments needs to re-evaluate their decisions regarding staffing and overtime.

For example, the Department of Human Services estimates that it will incur overtime costs of $70 million to cover 2.7 million hours of overtime. The overtime estimate is based on FY 2006 overtime expenditures/hours worked at these facilities. This amount of overtime equates to 112,500 days or 308 years of overtime. Assuming a work year equals 5 days per each of 52 weeks, minus 15 vacation days and 13 state holidays (no sick time) this amount of overtime equates to 484 years.
Investment in technology should lead to greater productivity and a corresponding reduction in employees. With the exception of the period when Christie Whitman was Governor and Republicans controlled New Jersey’s legislature, the number of state employees has soared, despite hundreds of millions spent by the New Jersey Office of Information Technology. Assembly Republicans are calling for productivity improvements and a reform the Office of Information Technology to save $20,000,000.

Weak managerial oversight has led to the individual departments establishing their own technology offices. Spending can be reduced through the elimination of the duplicative services.
The above are a small sample of cost reductions Republicans have proposed to rein in spending and place the state on a path to fiscal responsibility. While Corzine is threatening taxpayers and demanding tax increases, Republicans are working to reduce costs. The Governor continues to set the example for government waste and unproductive use of time on the state’s payroll. Yes, we know Corzine is only taking $1 per year in salary, but even at that he’s being overpaid based upon his performance.

Taxpayers, Lawmakers Should Stand United Against Corzine’s Threats

Governor Jon Corzine continues to ratchet up his threat against New Jersey taxpayers to gain support for his $1.8 billion in state tax increases.

A memo from state Treasurer Bradley Abelow appears to detail how the administration would handle a budget that does not include a sales tax increase. Abelow has ordered three department heads to prepare for cuts of $500 million in school aid, $300 million in municipal aid, $60 million in charity care to hospitals and an unspecified amount of reductions in grants to higher education. Such cuts would undoubtedly lead to a combination of property tax increases and cuts to local services.
As we have previously explained, municipal and school aid are flat-funded in the Governor’s 2007 budget plan and therefore do not add one red cent to Corzine’s $2.6 billion in spending increases. With the exception of the Abbott school districts, school aid has not been increased in the previous four years.

"It is disappointing that an administration with so much credibility would issue a threat that is so incredulous," said Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr., a Democrat of Camden County. "This is a curious approach to building consensus."
Of course Corzine is not trying to build consensus, he’s trying to threaten and intimidate lawmakers into accepting his spending priorities. Corzine is not acting in good faith, because if he were he would have asked his cabinet to cut programs slated to receive increased funding next year.

Notice Corzine didn’t suggest eliminating the proposed $530 million increase in property tax rebates. Which would you rather have, a $35 increase from his much ballyhooed property tax rebate plan or a 16% increase in your sales taxes?

Meanwhile, Republicans have provided Corzine with a plan of their own to cut $2.2 billion from the Governor's budget plan.

Assembly Republicans offered their own budget plan Friday and said they could get a deal done without raising taxes by cutting more than $2.2 billion from state operations and grants. The Republicans said they found savings by targeting programs they contend are rife with waste, corruption and pork-barrel spending.

"The culture of corruption in New Jersey has grown and it's everywhere, and it's got to stop," Assemblywoman Alison McHose, R-Sussex, said at a press conference in the State House.
Which budget would you prefer to see adopted? A budget with greater spending and higher taxes or one funded with existing taxes and higher property tax rebates? In other words, would you prefer the budget Republicans are proposing or the budget Corzine is proposing?

Call, write or email the Governor and your representatives in Trenton and tell them to say no to tax increases and yes to cutting waste and pork barrel spending. Let them know that threatening taxpayers will not be tolerated.

Contact information

Governor Jon S. Corzine:
Telephone: 609-292-6000
Email: Link to email submission form
Address: Office of the Governor - PO Box 001- Trenton, NJ 08625

New Jersey Legislature (Assembly and Senate):
Telephone and Address: Lookup for legislators' address and phone number
Email: Lookup for legislators’ email form

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Menendez – Kean Debates In June

We agree with Roberto’s take on the U.S. Senate race between Bob Menendez and Tom Kean:

Frankly, I think Kean's best chance is to focus on (4), make the election a referendum on Corzine's tax and spend budget and focus on the fact that Menendez has never met a tax hike that he didn't like. Let surrogates bring up the Menendez dirty laundry. Also, my feeling is the more voters see the two, the more they will dislike Menendez. He is nasty and unlikable, a younger Cuban version of Frank Lautenberg. Debates will help Kean, but not when they're in June which is the current plan.
Menendez’ positions and record should be enough to turn nearly everyone off, but too few voters are familiar with the facts. On the other hand, we hadn’t realized Mendez has a personality to match his record- nasty and unlikable. Roberto has been following New Jersey politics far longer than we have and we are inclined to believe him when he says Menendez is a JUNIOR version of Frank Lautenberg.

Reading Roberto's post reminds us of a Fred Snowflack blog post, Why now? of June 22:

Tom Kean and Bob Menendez are scheduled to debate Monday night. A debate in late June for a race that is going to be decided in November? Why?
A commenter wrote:
Fred, you are right. This is a joke to have a debate so early. Menendez apparently feels he needs to do something because Jr. is only 4 points down.
SnowFlack responded with:

As always, people sound a bit looney when they are too partisan. The above poster is far off-base. The debate scheduling has nothing to do Menendez needing to do something. He didn't schedule the debate.
You’d think Fred Snowflack, the editorial page editor of the Daily Record, would follow politics a bit more closely and refrain from calling people names. Because you see, it was Menendez that specifically called for a June debate. The Hall Institute of Public Policy contacted Menendez and Kean about participating in a virtual debate on its web site. This led Menendez to challenge Kean to a live debate on TV before the end of June.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

The Kean and Menendez campaigns have agreed to participate, but Menendez campaign director Steve Dimicco issued a caveat.

"An online forum is no substitute for live, televised, real-time debates between the two major-party candidates," he said. "We issue a challenge today for Tom Kean Jr., should he become his party's nominee, to meet Sen. Menendez in a one-hour debate before a statewide television audience."
And from the Atlantic City Press:
The Menendez campaign also has accepted the institute's invitation, but a spokesman challenged Kean to engage before the end of June in a live, one-hour television debate — if both Menendez and Kean win the June 6 primary election.

Democrats Looking For Fact-Based Ideas

Some Democrats have decided to join us in the 21 century and are forming new groups with “the goal of generating fact-based, empirically tested theories that might help Democrats resolve their policy differences and win more elections”. The groups share a belief “that Democrats have ridden for too long on what are the fumes of the New Deal and the Great Society, which sustained Democrats for half a century”.

Doug Hattaway, a Democratic communications consultant who worked for Al Gore's presidential campaign in 2000, recalled a moment of epiphany during a focus group of Democratic operatives and marketing professionals he attended last year. The participants were asked to say what Democratic accomplishments they were most proud of. Their responses filled several pages on a flip chart set up in the focus group facility. "We all realized there was nothing there within the past 30 years," Hattaway said.
Betsy Newmark writes, “I'd love to see that flip chart and try to match up their list of accomplishments with what those programs had actually accomplished and whether the unintended consequences of some of those solutions had actually created more problems than the solutions.”

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Corzine Threatens Taxpayers

Governor Jon Corzine repeats over and over again that “we need to have an honest matching of revenues and expenses" as if the obvious justified his intransigence on increasing state taxes. There are two ways to bring about a balanced budget – cut spending or increase taxes. The people of New Jersey would prefer state spending be cut and Corzine prefers, no demands taxes be raised.

As the July 1 deadline approaches, Corzine is threatening that if he doesn’t get his tax hikes we will “use his line item veto to cut municipal aid or higher education, which could lead to tuition hikes or property tax hikes”. Those are curious expenses to single out for reduction considering the Governor’s budget plan increases spending by 9.2%.

Under Corzine’s budget municipal aid is “flat-funded” (Budget in Brief – P.3) and higher education is the only category slated to receive less money than last year (Budget in Brief – P.28). So why did Corzine threaten to cut two budget areas that don’t add one dime to his proposed $2.6 billion spending increase? Because he wants to inflict pain on the people that pay the bills in this state and those are the cuts he thinks will hurt taxpayers the most. “Threaten to jack up property taxes and college tuition and the fools will be begging for a sales tax increase.”

In other words, Jon Corzine is a bully. He wants tax increases and he doesn’t care what he has to do to get them. Joanne Corzine warned New Jersey before the election that Corzine was very Machiavellian and that “he'll probably let New Jersey down, too”. It should be clear by now Mrs. Corzine knew what she was talking about. Now it’s up the New Jersey Assembly to send the bully home with a bloody nose. Let Corzine sit outside the statehouse sulking in his limo while he signs a budget the people prefer.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

New Jersey Democrats Squabbling Their Way To Higher Taxes

Democrats are “squabbling“in Trenton over Governor Jon Corzine’s spending and tax plan for next year. The Governor and his staff are making plans to shut down state government, keeping only essential services going, in the event a budget agreement is not reached by July 1. State taxes will continue to pour into Trenton no matter what happens by the deadline.

Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden) says Democrats are opposed to increasing the sales tax for fear it might anger voters and because “increasing the tax would lessen property tax reform options”.

That’s what the Democrats are “squabbling“ about - which taxes can they raise and what else can they begin taxing to increase state spending by 9.2%. And as Roberts has made clear, the Democrats' idea of property tax reform is jacking up state taxes to temporarily reduce property taxes.

New Jersey imposed an income tax in 1976 under the guise of property tax reform. How’d that work out for you? You’ll contribute your share of the $11.6 billion for state income taxes next year and pay the highest property taxes in the nation.

The amount you pay in combined state and local taxes can never be reduced until government becomes more efficient and spends less. Paul at NJ Fiscal Folly found this link to the NJ State Government Workforce Profile, which includes current and historical headcounts for state and local government. As shown in the report, the increase in government workers far exceeds the increase in the state’s population. Which means government is becoming less productive and more costly with each passing year.

Corzine said he “doesn't like to talk about these negotiations in public, but has decided to do so now because the state risks bankruptcy if it doesn't change course soon”. "We're setting ourselves up for the kind of crisis New York City had in the 1970s," he says.

Corzine’s right about the prognosis for the state’s future if we don’t change. Only he has failed to take the actions necessary to reduce costs and make the state run more efficiently. He’d rather increase spending and taxes this year and put everyone through the same crisis and hand wringing next year.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Jon Corzine Bought and Bossed

Jon Corzine is already bored with being Governor of New Jersey after only five months on the job. He now wants to be a union president and auditioned for the job yesterday at a state worker rally.
Corzine himself was one of the cheerleaders who took to the podium and helped whip the union members into a cheering, noise-making frenzy.
"I hear you, and it's time for other people in the State House to hear you," Corzine yelled.
The last line obviously a rip-off of President Bush’s famous words at ground zero after 9/11, only in this case taxpayers and lawmakers are the enemy. Can you imagine any executive carrying on at a union rally as Corzine did yesterday? So much for being an executive that is “un-bossed and un-bought”.

And so now we are treated to the spectacle of our Governor being used as union spokesman in an attempt to intimidate Democrat lawmakers into adopting a bloated budget and imposing more than $1.8 billion in new taxes.

When Corzine was running for Governor he stressed his business background as one reason he should be elected governor, saying he could pull the state out of its financial mire. Did anyone bother to check his references? Goldman Sachs fired Jon Corzine for a reason.

Don’t Let The Demagogues Fool You: New Taxes Are No Bargain For New Jersey

Wal-Mart, the company Democrats love to hate, unless they happen to be sitting on the firm’s board of directors. The Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran has written a column “Don't let the prices fool you: Wal-Mart is no bargain for N.J” that is the template for the Democrat Party’s campaign against the company.

The problem is the company is also a welfare freeloader.

It offers such paltry health benefits, at such a high cost, that most employees don't take any coverage at all. And many of them land in state programs designed for the poor.

Wal-Mart is also the leader in that category, dumping nearly 600 employees and their children into New Jersey's Medicaid and Family Care programs at last count. That perverts these anti-poverty programs, turning them into another form of corporate welfare.

Which does not sit well with Sen. Joe Vitale, chairman of the health committee. Last year, Vitale managed to shepherd a bill through the Legislature that squeezed more families into the state's overburdened health programs. Now he's finding that many of those subsidies are being soaked up by employees of the state's largest companies, led by Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Pathmark.

Vitale wants Wal-Mart off the dole. A bill he co-sponsored would impose a fine on big companies that shortchange employees on health care, turning the money back into the state programs.
So, the government creates programs to provide low–income people with health insurance and now Moran and Vitale complain when people sign up for the programs. What kind of sense does that make? Retail and fast food chains are the largest employers of those entering the job market for the first time and those with low-skills. As one would expect, these are also the lowest paying jobs. Who were the Medicaid and Family Care programs designed to help, if not for people in this category?

New Jersey has over one million people enrolled in Medicaid and Family Care programs, which means “the nearly 600 Wal-Mart employees and their children” represent 0.0006 of the people enrolled. What about the employers of the 99.94% of people enrolled in the taxpayer funded programs, are they not also “welfare freeloaders” according to Moran’s definition?

In any case, individuals are beneficiaries of the state’s health insurance programs, not employers. Employers are not responsible for their employees’ expenses whether it be for health insurance, food, clothing, housing, telephone bills or anything else you can name. Employers offer positions for which jobseekers are free to accept or reject work based upon the total compensation offered and that includes benefits.

There is a limit to what any employer can afford to pay per worker and still remain profitable. In 2005 Wal-Mart made a 3.6 percent profit, or as “progressives” like to say about 3 ½ pennies. The State of New Jersey with its 6% sales tax makes more on each sale than Wal-Mart. Throw in all the other federal, state and local taxes Wal-Mart pays and it becomes clear government is the biggest money winner in the Wal-Mart success story.

Additional taxes and fines on Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Pathmark would hurt low-income people the most. Higher prices for goods and fewer jobs would probably “not sit well with” the people of New Jersey. Perhaps it is Moran and Vitale who really don’t care.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Corzine Vows To Fight For Public Employees

While you were at work today, about six thousand public workers rallied in Trenton in support Governor Jon Corzine's 2007 budge plan. Corzine’s “hard choices” budget proposal would increase New Jersey State spending by $2.6 billion and impose new and increased taxes of more than $1.8 billion.

Pubic workers enthusiastically support Corzine’s budget because it contains no layoffs or cuts to state worker salary increases and fringe benefits. With growing concerns over the disparity between public and private sector pay packages, some lawmakers have suggested Corzine take action this year to rein in the cost of public employees.

Corzine refuses to compromise on his new spending and taxing plans, standing firm in his support for the state’s public employees, now making about 40% more than the average New Jersey worker in the private sector.

Corzine, appearing at the rally, said he stood with the unions. "I'll stand with you. I'll fight with you,'' he said.
Corzine has only begun his fight to protect his backers. By failing to rein in state spending this year, the Governor has set up a financial crisis for next year. Treasurer Bradley Abelow has said “even with the sales tax increase, the state will have to close a gap of at least $2 billion next year”.

Robbing Peter To Pay Paul Finally Catches Up With NJ Democrats

David Rebovich finally gets it:

“But, the most basic reason the Democrats have a crisis about the next budget is that they have for too long told their constituents that extensive government spending is possible because someone else, e.g., the rich, the business community, people in the next town, will pick up the tab. If not, the bill can simply be covered by some painless budget maneuver. Well, those days are gone, and Democrats are bickering over what to do about it.”

"They promised you tax relief and ethics reform. But in the last six years that they have held power in Trenton, New Jersey's Democrats have given you tax hikes, cronyism, and broken promises. Property taxes have soared by over 30 percent. Rebate checks have been cut in half. And when faced with another multi-billion dollar budget deficit of their own creation, what did the Democrats do? They raised the sales tax instead of cutting wasteful spending and jobs for their political allies. No wonder businesses are leaving the state and more people find it harder and harder to make ends meet. The only way to end this mess? Vote for Republicans for Assembly and Senate and say 'no' to the Democrats' destructive policies."

Governor Corzine’s Budget Increases State Spending By $2.6 Billion

Governor Jon Corzine maintains that he has cut $2.6 billion from New Jersey’s budget and yet the only cut you ever hear about is a $169 million cut to higher education and that includes $46 million in “one-time funding” for projects in last year’s budget.

If Corzine actually cut several billion dollars from the budget don’t you think we would have heard about substantial cuts in specific state programs or services? We haven’t heard about a big cut in this or that because there aren’t any.

Next year, the state expects to collect $28.851 billion, $586 million more than last year without any new or increased taxes. (Budget in Brief page 77)

If Corzine cut $2.6 billion in spending and anticipates existing taxes to bring in $586 million more than last year, that’s $3.186 billion available for new state spending without any tax increases.

The Governor has proposed a $1.3 billion contribution to the state worker pension fund and $530 million more for property tax rebates, for a total of $1.83 billion. That still leaves $1.356 billion for increased debt service and other new spending if Corzine had cut $2.6 billion from lat year’s budget. But Corzine also wants new and increased taxes of $1.801 billion and to dip into the state’s “rainy day fund” for another $223 million.

The following is Corzine’s proposed state budget for 2007 from the revenue side:

$28.265 billion – 2006 New Jersey State Budget (2006 Revenue)
+ $586 million - 2007 Additional Revenue from Existing Taxes
+ $223 million – 2007 “Rainy Day Fund” (Surplus Reduction)
+ $1.801 billion – 2007 Revenue from Proposed Tax increases
$30.875 billion – 2007 Proposed Budget

The following is Corzine’s proposed state budget for 2007 from the spending side:

$28.265 billion – 2006 New Jersey State Budget (2006 Spending)
- $169 million – 2007 Reduction in Funding for Higher Education
+ $1.3 billion – 2007 Proposed Contribution to State Worker Pension Funds
+ $530 million – 2007 Proposed Increase in Property Tax Rebates
+ $949 million – 2007 Proposed Other New Spending
$30.875 billion – 2007 Proposed Budget

Had Governor Corzine actually cut $2.6 billion in spending, the 2007 budget would look like this:

$28.265 billion – 2006 New Jersey State Budget (2006 Spending)
- $2.6 billion – 2007 Corzine Spending Cuts
+ $1.3 billion – 2007 Proposed Contribution to State Worker Pension Funds
+ $530 million – 2007 Proposed Increase in Property Tax Rebates
+ $949 million – 2007 Proposed Other New Spending
$28.444 billion – 2007 Budget with Cuts

The revenue side of the budget for 2007 would then look like this:

$28.265 billion – 2006 New Jersey State Budget (2006 Revenue)
+ $586 million - 2007 Additional Revenue from Existing Taxes
+ $0 - 2007 Reduction in “Rainy Day Fund” (Surplus)
+ $0 - 2007 New or Increased Taxes
$28.851 Billion – 2007 Revenue Exceeds Budget by $431 million

Obviously, Governor Jon Corzine has not cut state spending by $2.6 billion. Rather the Governor has increased spending by $2.6 billion. When will the media stop repeating Corzine’s spin when it’s clearly false? Jon Corzine’s budget increases state spending by 9.2 percent and that's the bottom line.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Our Condolences To The Lassiter Family

We wish to extend our sympathies to Jay Lassiter and his family on the passing of his Grandmother. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Lassiter family and friends on this most sad occasion.

Obviously, Lassiter Space will not host this week’s Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers.

Friday, June 16, 2006

House Rejects Capitulation In the Global War On Terror

H. RES. 861 - Declaring that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror and in the struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary passed by a vote of 256 to 153.

New Jersey’s Republican congressional delegation all voted in favor of the resolution and rejected capitulation in the Global War on Terror. Sadly, all Democrats representing New Jersey in the House expressed their lack of confidence in our country’s ability to prevail in the struggle.


Here’s the entire text of the resolution:


June 12, 2006

Mr. HYDE submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations, and in addition to the Committee on Armed Services, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


Declaring that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary.

Whereas the United States and its allies are engaged in a Global War on Terror, a long and demanding struggle against an adversary that is driven by hatred of American values and that is committed to imposing, by the use of terror, its repressive ideology throughout the world;

Whereas for the past two decades, terrorists have used violence in a futile attempt to intimidate the United States;

Whereas it is essential to the security of the American people and to world security that the United States, together with its allies, take the battle to the terrorists and to those who provide them assistance;

Whereas the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other terrorists failed to stop free elections in Afghanistan and the first popularly-elected President in that nation's history has taken office;

Whereas the continued determination of Afghanistan, the United States, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will be required to sustain a sovereign, free, and secure Afghanistan;

Whereas the steadfast resolve of the United States and its partners since September 11, 2001, helped persuade the government of Libya to surrender its weapons of mass destruction;

Whereas by early 2003 Saddam Hussein and his criminal, Ba'athist regime in Iraq, which had supported terrorists, constituted a threat against global peace and security and was in violation of mandatory United Nations Security Council Resolutions;

Whereas the mission of the United States and its Coalition partners, having removed Saddam Hussein and his regime from power, is to establish a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq at peace with its neighbors;

Whereas the terrorists have declared Iraq to be the central front in their war against all who oppose their ideology;

Whereas the Iraqi people, with the help of the United States and other Coalition partners, have formed a permanent, representative government under a newly ratified constitution;

Whereas the terrorists seek to destroy the new unity government because it threatens the terrorists' aspirations for Iraq and the broader Middle East;

Whereas United States Armed Forces, in coordination with Iraqi security forces and Coalition and other friendly forces, have scored impressive victories in Iraq including finding and killing the terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi;

Whereas Iraqi security forces are, over time, taking over from United States and Coalition forces a growing proportion of independent operations and increasingly lead the fight to secure Iraq;

Whereas the United States and Coalition servicemembers and civilians and the members of the Iraqi security forces and those assisting them who have made the ultimate sacrifice or been wounded in Iraq have done so nobly, in the cause of freedom; and

Whereas the United States and its Coalition partners will continue to support Iraq as part of the Global War on Terror: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

      (1) honors all those Americans who have taken an active part in the Global War on Terror, whether as first responders protecting the homeland, as servicemembers overseas, as diplomats and intelligence officers, or in other roles;

      (2) honors the sacrifices of the United States Armed Forces and of partners in the Coalition, and of the Iraqis and Afghans who fight alongside them, especially those who have fallen or been wounded in the struggle, and honors as well the sacrifices of their families and of others who risk their lives to help defend freedom;

      (3) declares that it is not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq;

      (4) declares that the United States is committed to the completion of the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq;

      (5) congratulates Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and the Iraqi people on the courage they have shown by participating, in increasing millions, in the elections of 2005 and on the formation of the first government under Iraq's new constitution;

      (6) calls upon the nations of the world to promote global peace and security by standing with the United States and other Coalition partners to support the efforts of the Iraqi and Afghan people to live in freedom; and

      (7) declares that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the noble struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Are New Jersey Democrats Trying To Hide Another Scandal?

Ah-oh, the headline reads - State agency hid slush fund

According to the Daily Record, Democrats in Trenton are trying to hide another scandal by refusing to release an audit that shows the state's utility regulators use a renewable energy fund financed through customer's electric bills as a slush fund.

"Who are they hiding? Who are they protecting? Money was given to friends and cronies," said Sen. Peter Inverso, R-Mercer, who has been pressing to see the audit of the state Board of Public Utilities' Clean Energy Program.
The Public Utilities Board regulates power companies' rates and its Clean Energy Program is paid for with a $10 to $20 charge to customers' power bills. The money is supposed to be used for "education, information and financial incentives for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency measures."

News reports have said the top people at the BPU opened a private bank account with clean-energy money and that money from the account ended up in projects fostered by friends or relatives of the clique that had access to the account.

State Sen. Thomas Kean Jr., R-Union, pressed Attorney General Zulima Farber on making the audit public. Farber said it was incomplete, a point Republicans argued.
Tomorrow's Daily Record will have more on the story.

Debating Iraq

Read Don Surber’s “If Kerry were sorry, he would resign”, it goes right to the heart of the debate about the war in Iraq. It's a must read.

And don’t miss Dan Riehl’s post “Iraq War Vet Fighting The Good Fight At Home” about Vince Micco an “Iraq War veteran still fighting for the troops by taking on five-term Liberal Democrat opponent, Steve Rothman, in New Jersey's 9th District.”

Debating Iraq and the Global War on Terror

We’ve noticed the bloggers over on Blue Jersey are sounding more hysterical than usual in their blog posts, “Republican Disgraceful Attack Hits New Jersey”, "Boehner's Cynicism Moves Holt" and “Bob Menendez Could Lose My Vote In November”, come to mind.

This news ought to really send them over the edge:

The Senate endorsed President Bush's diplomatic approach to the problem of Iran's nuclear program by a vote of 99-0.

The Senate soundly rejected a call to withdraw combat troops in Iraq by year's end by a vote of 93-6.

Consider how a simple memo outlining Republican versus Democrat positions on Iraq and the global war on terror upsets Thurman Hart. In his post, Boehner's Cynicism Moves Holt, Thurman the Xpat says a confidential memo written by the Republican Majority Leader, John Boehmer, is "offensive". Thurman doesn't explain how Democrats got a hold of the memo, but it couldn't be so bad if they wanted everyone to be able to read it by posting it on the web. Thurman "paraphrases" the memo for his readers; we'll just reprint the memo here and let you reach your own conclusions.

To: House Republican Members
From: House Majority Leader John A. Boehner
Date: June 13, 2006
Re: Confidential Messaging Memo – Floor Debate on Iraq and the Global War on Terror

This week, the House of Representatives will engage in a debate about the war in Iraq, the Global War on Terror and our efforts to strengthen our national security in a post-9/11 world.

The past week has brought news of several important, positive developments in Iraq and the Global War on Terror:

– U.S. military forces eliminated the terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda’s top commander in Iraq and a cold-blooded killer.

– The Iraqi government named new interior, defense and security ministers as part of the new government’s continued progress.

– Just this morning, President George W. Bush traveled to Baghdad to meet the newly appointed Prime Minster of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki and to discuss our growing partnership with the new democratic ally.

Clearly, these positive developments are the result of steadfast support of both our military and diplomatic efforts in Iraq and across the globe. We should not refrain from touting such progress

During this debate, our Republican Conference should be focused on delivering these key points:

The Importance of Our Actions

It is imperative during this debate that we re-examine the conditions that required the United States to take military action in Afghanistan and Iraq in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The attacks we witnessed that day serve as a reminder of the dangers we face as a nation in a post-9/11 world. We can no longer expect oceans between us and our enemies to keep us safe. The plotting and planning taking place in terror camps protected by rogue regimes could no longer go unchecked or unchallenged. In a post-9/11 world, we could no longer allow despots and dictators like the Taliban and Saddam Hussein to ignore international sanctions and resolutions passed by the United Nations Security Council.

So, during this debate we must make clear to the American people that the United States had to take action in the best interests of the security of our nation and the world community. As Republicans who supported military action against Saddam Hussein and terrorists around the globe, the United States had to show our resolve as the world’s premier defender of freedom and liberty before such ideals were preyed upon, rather than after standing witness to their demise at the hands of our enemies.

As President John F. Kennedy once stated so eloquently:

“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.”

A Portrait of Contrasts

This debate in the House of Representatives gives our Republican Conference the opportunity to present the American people our case for strong national security policies whose purpose is to protect the nation against another attack on our own soil.

Similarly, we must conduct this debate as a portrait of contrasts between Republicans and Democrats with regard to one of the most important political issues of our era. Articulating and advocating our core principles will allow the American public to witness Members of Congress debate a fundamental question facing America’s leaders:

In a post-9/11 world, do we confront dangerous regimes and the threat of terrorism with strength and resolve, or do we instead abandon our efforts against these threats in the hopes that they will just fade away on their own?

Republicans believe victory in Iraq will be an important blow to terrorism and the threat it poses around the world. Democrats, on the other hand, are prone to waver endlessly about the use of force to protect American ideals. Capitol Hill Democrats’ only specific policy proposals are to concede defeat on the battlefield and instead, merely manage the threat of terrorism and the danger it poses.

These are troubling policies to embrace in a post-9/11 world. During this debate, we need to clarify just how wrong the Democrats’ weak approach is and just how dangerous their implementation would be to both the short-term and long-term national security interests of the United States.

Resolve Will Triumph Over Retreat

As a result of our efforts during this debate, Americans will recognize that on the issue of national security, they have a clear choice between a Republican Party aware of the stakes and dedicated to victory, versus a Democrat Party without a coherent national security policy that sheepishly dismisses the challenges America faces in a post- 9/11 world.

Let there be no doubt that America and its allies in the war in Iraq and the Global War on Terrorism face difficult challenges. The American people are understandably concerned about our mission in a post-Saddam Iraq. There have been many tough days since Iraq’s liberation and transition to a sovereign democracy.

Democrats are all too eager to seize upon the challenges we face as their rationale or motivation for retreat. As Republicans, we understand the diplomatic and national security hazards of such a move. We must echo the American public’s understanding of just how great the stakes are in Iraq and our long-term efforts to win the War on Terrorism.

Building democracies in a part of the world that has known nothing but tyranny and despotism is a difficult task. But achieving victory there and gaining democratic allies in the region will be the best gift of security we can give to future generations of Americans.

Corzine Plans To Tax Prescription Drugs

Do you know that Governor Jon Corzine’s budget plan not only calls for a $1,400 tax on hospital beds, but it also calls for a $2 month tax on prescription drugs?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Jersey Democrats Distance Themselves From Florio II

From today's OpinionJournal's Political Diary:

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine has never had much use for Republicans since he entered politics. But now that his budget plan is under assault from his fellow Democrats, he is belatedly reaching out to GOP state legislators asking for their help. The reaction to his appeals has been underwhelming, to put it mildly.

Mr. Corzine surprised fellow Democrats by proposing nearly $2 billion in tax increases almost immediately upon taking office in January. Democrats believe the tax hikes, which include an increase in the state sales tax to 7% from 6%, are premature and could damage the party's chances of keeping the legislature in 2007. They are also increasingly irritated by what they view as Mr. Corzine's hamhanded style of governance, especially his ill-fated attempt to end New Jersey's status as one of two states that still bans self-service gasoline stations. "Regardless of the merits, the move was sprung on people and all I heard for days was complaints," one Democratic legislator told me. "I had one grandmother call me several times to say she didn't want to have to deal with gasoline spilling on her." It didn't help that many voters instinctively suspect that Mr. Corzine, a multimillionaire former president of Goldman Sachs, hasn't pumped his own gas in years.

Mr. Corzine's tax proposals are encountering similar trouble. Wayne Bryant, a key Democratic state senator, says that rather than raise taxes, "We have to keep looking at ways to cut spending." Republicans who met this week with Mr. Corzine were similarly unenthusiastic about his tax plans. "We indicated politely that we don't support increasing the sales tax," said State Senator Leonard Lance, citing concerns it would hit businesses that compete with those in lower-taxed Pennsylvania and Delaware.

The clock is ticking towards a July 1 deadline for passing a budget. Mr. Corzine remains adamant that he can't make enough budget cuts to eliminate the need for higher taxes, but right now not enough legislators of his own party believe the political risk in voting for more taxes is worth it. Everyone remembers what happened to Governor James Florio, a Democrat who sprang higher taxes on the state upon taking office in 1989 and saw his party lose control of both houses of the legislature two years later. In 1993, voters finished the job by tossing out Mr. Florio and replacing him with Republican Christie Whitman.

-- John Fund

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bob “The Wimp” Menendez

An amendment to the U.S. Constitution would read:

The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.
Since Congress began considering this amendment in 1990, in response to Supreme Court rulings that struck down flag desecration laws on free-speech grounds, the amendment has repeatedly passed the House and then failed or died without a vote in the Senate.

No senator from New Jersey has voted for it, with Bill Bradley, Robert G. Torricelli and Frank R. Lautenberg all voting "no." Governor Corzine also opposed it, but no vote was taken during the five years he was a senator.

In the House, a steadily increasing number of New Jersey representatives supported the measure, with the delegation breaking 11-2 in favor of it in the most recent vote, in June 2005. Only Democratic Reps. Donald Payne of Newark and Rush Holt of Pennington opposed it.
But how will Senator Bob Menendez vote on the proposed amendment when it comes before the Senate later this month? Will he vote in favor of the amendment as he did in the House on five previous occasions?

It was all so simple then. Now that he’s a Senator the issue has become complicated.

Menendez said he has a different responsibility representing the entire state than he had representing one House district based in Hudson County.

Bill Kane president of the state Industrial Union Council said, "If that amendment passes in Washington, then that makes flag burning the issue to be debated in the election in November, and I don't think that's good for the Democratic Party,"
Joseph Gugliuzza, a former state commander of the American Legion said “he tried calling Menendez four times to confirm his support and ask him to sign on as a Senate co-sponsor.”

He said he was told by an aide that Menendez could not because "he was under a lot of pressure from within not to vote for it, but at this time he is going to vote for the amendment," Gugliuzza said.
Menendez, who claims he’s going to “Stand Up for New Jersey”, can’t even stand up for something he has supported for years because of the “pressure”. What a wimp.

Monday, June 12, 2006

New Jersey Democrats Not Satisfied With $16,667 Per Person In Taxes

New Jersey Democrats just don’t get it, do they? Unhappy with Governor Jon Corzine’s plan to raise $1.1 billion in additional tax revenue by increasing the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, Democrats in Trenton are now developing a plan to extend the sales tax to services to raise $2 billion.

"I think that's a possibility," Sen. Wayne Bryant told The Associated Press. Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman confirmed the Assembly also is considering the idea. "Given our situation, we're not eliminating the discussion of any option," Coleman said. "I haven't seen all the numbers, but I think it might raise enough money," Bryant said.

Completely clueless. Taxpayers want Trenton to cut state spending, not come up with new ways to extract money out of their wallets. Shifting taxes around and identifying new things to tax does not solve the problem.

The people of New Jersey already pay more than their fair of taxes, no matter what Governor Jon Corzine, Senator Bob Menendez and all the other state Democrats might have you believe. These numbers don’t lie. New Jersey’s per capita tax of $16,667 is the second highest in the nation. And that's before Corzine’s new hospital, sales and other proposed taxes.

Enough is enough.

Total Taxes per Capita

In A Dream World

Get a load of this from Politics NJ.com:

The NJN chatter drifted to another topic, but my thoughts lingered on Stender, and it hit me: her candidacy explains everything you need to know about New Jersey politics. Yesterday, the good old boys of Greater Linden deemed her unfit for a state Senate seat she was perfectly qualified for. Today, she wants to run for Congress, and they're fine with it. And it makes perfect sense.

It's a conversation I've had dozens of times with D.C. people. A seat in the House or the U.S. Senate, I'll say, can be fool's gold for a politician, and invariably, I'll borrow from the bible of Nick Acocella and point out that in New Jersey, the two most powerful jobs are Governor and Freeholder – because that's where the jobs and contracts are.

But isn't it funny: a House seat is one hell of a springboard. Maybe the Big Boys thought they were tossing scraps to Linda Stender with a nomination that looked worthless six months ago, but this is feeling more and more like the kind of year when a lot of Democrats will hit the lottery. So even though the bosses wouldn't let her within sniffing distance of the state Senate, what's to say that somewhere down the line Congresswoman Stender doesn't suit up for a campaign that will make her New Jersey's first female Democratic governor?

And it was around then, as I toyed with which musical act might headline the 2014 gubernatorial inauguration, that I looked up at the sign for Exit 11 and the Parkway and snapped out of it. Linda Stender was still in the Assembly and still facing long odds – very long odds – against Fergie. And I was two exits past where I was supposed to get off.

Corzine Offers No Consideration For Taxpayers

New Jersey State Treasurer Bradley Abelow has said that even with Governor Corzine’s $1.9 billion in tax increases this year, the state will have to close a budget gap of at least $2 billion next year.

This bad news should not come as a surprise. Corzine is not making the “hard choices” this year that are required to rein in the out of control spending in Trenton next year and into the future.

The Governor said if legislators didn’t like his spending and taxing plan they should come up with one of their own. Now that Republicans have come up with ideas to cut spending and three Democrats, led by state Senator Steve Sweeney, have proposed a plan to reduce spending on state workers by $700 million, Corzine rejects them.

Michael Barone provides an excellent reason for Corzine’s refusal to reduce the size of the state’s public workforce or to make state worker benefits comparable to those earned by workers in the private sector.

Liberal Democrats like to believe that government programs can improve people's lives and that it's a good idea to redistribute through taxes money from the rich to the presumably less well off. But in practice the redistribution they support turns out to be from the pockets of taxpayers generally to public employee unions and thence to the Democratic Party.

The big institutional force behind the demand for increased spending is the public employee unions, which combine a huge appetite for pay increases and generous pension and other benefits with a determination that their members should never be held accountable for results. This tends to produce overexpensive and undercompetent government: not what principled liberals should want.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Paul Mulshine Vs. Glenn Reynolds


“The sad thing about guys like Mulshine isn't that this sort of dishonesty is new. It's that they keep doing it even when it's easy to catch them. But "old media" isn't necessarily "bright media," as we've seen.”
As they say, read the whole post. The funny thing is, more people will now read a Mulshine column because widely read blogger, Glenn Reynolds, linked to his piece. It looks like Ann Coulter isn’t the only one stirring up controversy for the sake of publicity.

Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 56

Click the Graphic for More Information

The Citizen Watchdogs of Government in Union County, NJ is reporting a Freeholder threatened residents with arrest at a public meeting.

Everything Jay knows about the death penalty he learned from Pope John Paul II.

New Jersey Justice has the case of Princeton Venture Research’s John Torkelsen.

Janet says New Jersey sees your frustration level and they raise you.

Stop smiling, evil has a skinny bleach-blond face.

Tiger Hawk says, “If we make your feelings my responsibility, then you will not learn to control your emotions”.

dBreakfast’s neural net model predictions of the S&P500's close were amazingly accurate.

Stock Market Beat has a ‘top pick’ in IT services.

The Boomer Chronicles offers Nostalgic for New Jersey, Not Just any Hamburger Joint and My State Capital, My Backwater.

Chanice says chill out over global warming.

Next week the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 57 will be at Lassiter Space

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Linda Stender’s Priorities

We see Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union) has been busy. No, not joining with fellow Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Plainfield) representing the 22nd Legislative District in the Stop Spending My Money campaign. Stender is calling for retailers in the state to stop selling Anne Coulter’s new book and for New Jerseyans to stop buying the book.

While it’s good to know where Stender stands on the freedom of speech issue, we wonder where she stands on the financial crisis facing New Jersey. Will she join lawmakers in Trenton working to rein in the cost of New Jersey state government? Does Stender support Corzine’s 9.2 percent increase in state spending? Does she support the nearly $2 billion increase in state taxes? Does anyone know where Stender stands on any of the major issues facing the State of New Jersey?

If you live in the 22nd Legislative Distinct, why not contact Assemblywoman Stender and ask her where she stands. You might also want to contact Assemblyman Jerry Green and thank him for standing up for taxpayers. Email forms for the 22nd Legislative Distinct can be found here.

Stender, by the way, is running to represent New Jersey's 7th Congressional District against Congressman Mike Ferguson.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Stop Spending My Money

It’s great to see some Democrats finally coming around to our position and standing up for New Jersey’s taxpayers. As we have pointed out many times, public employees in New Jersey receive salaries and benefits that exceed those earned by private sector employees. The unsustainable cost of public employees is a major cause of the state’s financial crisis. Governor Jon Corzine has proposed nothing in his budget that addresses this crisis and now three Democrats in the New Jersey legislature have called him on it.

State Senator Stephen M. Sweeney (D-3 rd LD), State Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22nd LD) and State Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-4th LD) have proposed a plan to cut state compensation costs by 15 percent. They have also launched a website – Stop Spending My Money.

"After reading the spin by those in Trenton who want to protect the institution of government and the culture of entitlement, we found contradictions between their rhetoric and the hard facts that need to be pointed out to the taxpaying public," said Sweeney, who also serves as Business Agent and Treasurer of Ironworkers Local 399, in Westville, NJ.

"Our plan calls for a 15% cut in state employee compensation deals. This could mean ending lifetime health benefits for dependents of state employees…it could mean an end to 100% taxpayer funded workers compensation for up to a year at full salary…it could mean more employee contributions for healthcare coverage and its increasing costs…it could even mean layoffs. But we need to start somewhere. It's just not fair for government bureaucrats to say that everyone else needs to feel the pain of higher taxes without sharing that pain as well," said Sweeney.
The Stop Spending My Money has the facts and busts the myths.

"State employee leaders claim that the contract they bargained with the state should be honored. We couldn't agree more…Perhaps these state employees ought to take a hard look at their own contract, because it spells out in plain English that the buck stops ultimately with the Legislature when it comes to continuing their entitlements each year through the appropriation process. Our reform plan and the underlying premise of their contract is consistent because it states clearly that state employees need to cooperate fully in the interest of the state during times of fiscal constraint," said Sweeney.
It’s about time lawmakers began to represent the taxpayers in New Jersey. Join the campaign to make New Jersey more affordable. Contact your State Legislators and tell them to Stop Spending Your Money.

More from Dynamobuzz and New Jersey Fiscal Folly.


Who’s Sliming Who?

Here’s Politics NJ Quote of the Day (screen capture to the left):
"If he intended to smear Menendez, he missed his mark. It'll be a while before he can wash off the slime from his own hands." -- Star-Ledger editorial slamming GOP State Chairman Tom Wilson for saying that Sen. Bob Menendez would have preferred for terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to be alive. (06/09/06)

Here is the exact quote from the Stat-Ledger:
Statesmen worldwide yesterday commented on the death of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, expressing the hope that his campaign of violence and destruction had been lessened. Where others remembered the victims of Zarqawi, in New Jersey, Tom Wilson, the Republican state chairman, declared that if Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat, "had his way, Mr. Zarqawi would be alive and plotting the next attack on America." It's difficult to imagine what Wilson was thinking. If he intended to smear Menendez, he missed his mark. It'll be a while before he can wash off the slime from his own hands.

There’s a big difference between saying if Sen. Bob Menendez,“had his way, Zarqawi would be alive and plotting the next attack on America” as the Star-Ledger quotes Wilson versus Politics NJ’s misquote “Sen. Bob Menendez would have preferred for terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to be alive.”

It’s obvious what Wilson meant by his remark If Bob Menendez’ point of view had prevailed in both the House and the Senate, the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq would not have been authorized. Thus, Saddam Hussein would still be in power and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi most likely would still be alive and well in Iraq.

Apparently this obvious fact stuck a nerve with the Star-Ledger and Politics NJ has taken this as an opportunity to misquote and distort what Wilson actually said. Who’s sliming who?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

New Jersey Seventh Congressional District Primary

For the past six months or so, voters in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District have been bombarded with recorded messages blaming Congressman Mike Ferguson for every conceivable real or contrived problem in the country. The “netroots” have been working overtime to Dump Mike since February of 2005. All of this work for the benefit of the Democrat candidate, Linda Stender.

So what are we to make of these primary results?

2006 Primary – New Jersey 7th Congressional District
Mike Ferguson (R) – 16,230
Linda Stender (D) – 8,407

2004 Primary – New Jersey 7th Congressional District
Mike Ferguson (R) – 13,262
Steve Brozak (D) – 8,906

You might expect to see an increase in support for the Democrat, Stender and a drop off in support for the Republican, Ferguson. Yet, we find Stender with 5% fewer votes and Ferguson with 22% more in the 2006 primary.

Not that we think Ferguson should become complacent about the race, but it’s hard to see where all the enthusiasm for Stender is coming from.

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