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Category: Economics

Which Came First: The Referendum Or the Egg?

By Joe Sinagra | The Save Jersey Blog

Fried egg sunny side upRecent political story lines covered right here at Save Jersey have me thinking to how we got where we are today, Save Jerseyans. 

Embryonic stem cell research played a huge role in the campaign when I ran against Congressman Rush Holt back in 2006.

My opponent had wanted government to finance research in this area. My response at the time was that adult stem cell research has shown more promise than embryonic and, moreover, that government should not be in the business of funding questionable research; why should our tax money fund a less-promising, ethically-questionable approach when there were better options? 

Rep. Holt responded that it isn’t our tax money that would be spent on the research as it would be…. federal money that would fund it. Huh? Where does that Federal money come from? 

A year later, in 2007, this question was placed on the ballot for New Jersey voters:

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Bell: Booker Peddling “Small Ideas”

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Jeff BellJeff Bell’s old boss Ronald Reagan once opined how “[t]here are no easy answers’ but there are simple answers.”

How true! But what happens when politicians prey on the electorate’s emotions (and in some cases ignorance) with small ideas? Disguising band aid solutions for actual cures? And avoiding hard choices in favor of selling “easy” answers?

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Fixing the Transportation Trust Fund Requires Getting Priorities in Order

By Daryn Iwicki | Americans for Prosperity

Americans for Prosperity agrees that we need to do something to fund infrastructure and maintain our roads. No one disputes how important this is to our economy. The problem is lawmakers refuse to get their priorities in order, practice fiscal discipline and put an end to giveaways to special interests.

Big Labor favoritism in the way of project labor agreements (PLAs) and prevailing wage are the biggest reason New Jersey has the highest costs to maintain roads of any state in the country. A terrific resource on project labor agreements—TheTruthAboutPLAs.com— explains that the vast majority (more than 85%) of the private construction workforce belong to non-union “merit shops”. PLAs force these shops to abide by a multitude of onerous rules should they earn a contract for State-funded work. Rather than abide by these terms and put their shop at risk, most refrain from even bidding for State projects. This stifles competition and drives project costs higher.

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Christie Vetoes Jobless Job-seeker Bill

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Christie Voorhees town hallClick here to read Governor Chris Christie ‘s S-1440 veto message.

Background: the Governor signed a watered-down bill on Monday that prevents an employer from inquiring into a job applicant’s criminal history prior to a first interview. This vetoed legislation would make it illegal for an employer to refuse employment on the grounds that the applicant is unemployed.

He was wrong on Monday but right today, Save Jerseyans.

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Christie Signs Bail Reform, “Ban the Box” Bills

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Prison FenceThe Governor took action on five pieces of legislation on Monday, Save Jerseyans, and only one earned his conditional veto.

Bail reform (S-946/A-1910) is solid legislation but indirectly cost the taxpayers $4 billion. #YOLO!

Watered-down A-1999/S-2124, or the “Ban the Box” bill, is better than the original version but still places an unnecessary additional burden on struggling N.J. employers at a time when they’re already getting it from angles.

A run-down:

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Hurley: No Bidders for Revel

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

You can’t have a bankruptcy auction without qualified bidders, Save Jerseyans.

Not good…

Lawyers for the casino had only recently sought a one week extension in order to review new bids, but even the promise of reduced price (and the inevitably of fat state tax abatements) doesn’t seem capable of luring big buyers back to ailing A.C.

Click here to follow along via our extensive Atlantic City blog archives. We’ll let you know if there’s an update.

 

‘Open Space’ Travesty Says It All

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

fieldEverything that drives me crazy about Trenton played out in last week’s passage of a new “Open Space” measure, Save Jerseyans, setting up a ballot question for the November election and another expenditure which we can ill-afford.

Bad logic. Reckless spending. And a little good old fashioned horse trading?

In case you’re not aware of the background information, SCR-84 results in a proposed constitutional amendment on New Jersey’s next general election ballot which, if approved by the voters, dedicates $150 million per year for open space conservation over 30 years.  That’s a roughly $4 billion investment at a time when our government just declined to make an additional, pre-planned $2.4 billion payment towards our chronically underfunded pension system.

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Cobb: LBJ “Destroyed” Black Families

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

It’s a true and awful shame that Garry Cobb isn’t getting more (defined as “any”) help from the powers-that-be, Save Jerseyans, because the former Philadelphia Eagle and current NJ-01 Republican nominee has a story to tell voters whom the GOP just can’t seem to reach. When they even try. Some candidates were just born on the wrong side of the North Jersey/South Jersey ‘Berlin Wall’ if you catch my drift.

In any event, what he shared during a recent segment with Newsmax TV is along the lines of what I said last week following Willingboro’s bizarre decision to honor Barack Obama at JFK’s expense but, for a host of patently obvious reasons, it’s more important to hear this message from an upstanding, successful and famous guy like Garry:

Willingboro Council’s Baseless Faith in Obama

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

john f kennedyYou may or may not have heard how, on Tuesday, Willingboro’s township council approved a resolution to rename its recreational hub from ‘The Kennedy Center’ to ‘The Obama Center’ going forward.

Yes, Save Jerseyans, there are still places in America where our distressingly incompetent and obnoxiously authoritarian 44th president . By way of background, Willingboro is 72.74% black and many residents were understandably proud when their country elected Barack Obama.

How they’re STILL proud is less easy to grasp.

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Police Car Cameras Are Common Sense

By Mayor Randy Brown (R-Evesham)

Randy Brown

Randy Brown

As an elected official I understand the cynicism that many residents harbor towards politicians. In many cases it is warranted and I share their frustration. Chris Rock has a classic skit where he essentially ridicules single fathers who seek credit for doing the most simplistic parental duties. His basic point is that you’re supposed to take care of your kids!

Politicians often make the same public plea for praise when they perform the routine duties they were elected to do in the first place. So it’s understandable that approval ratings for elected officials at all levels of government are at historic lows.

Two of the most fundamental obligations for an elected official are to keep residents safe and find ways to reduce taxes and spending. They are not mutually exclusive but often seem elusive. There is no logical reason why our politicians in Trenton can not get common sense legislation like bail reform, shared services and cameras in police vehicles passed.

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LD1 Jobs Report Card

How Have My Legislators Been Doing on the Jobs Front?

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

LD1From some of my previous posts, Save Jerseyans, you might have picked up that I live in the 1st Legislative District. And in the 1st District, jobs was the number 2013 campaign issue, as it still is today. As a result, I have closely been following what my three legislators have been doing to bring jobs to the region.

Why am I doing this? Because I love where I live, and it pains me whenever I hear that people are planning on moving away because they feel the area does not offer them a future. I want my home’s future to be bright. Unemployment in “deep” South Jersey remains at the highest levels of anyone in New Jersey.

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5 Ways to Get South Jersey Working Again

My Roadmap for Spurring Round #1 of New Job Growth in Atlantic, Cumberland ans Cape May Counties

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

unemployment mapFrom some of my previous posts, Save Jerseyans, you might have picked up that I live in the 1st Legislative District. And in the 1st District, jobs was the number 2013 campaign issue, as it still is today. As a result, I have closely been following what job creation is happening our region.

Why am I doing this? Because I love where I live, and it pains me whenever I hear that people are planning on moving away because they feel the area does not offer them a future. I want my home’s future to be bright. This part of New Jersey also happens to consistently suffer the state’s highest unemployment rates.

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Atlantic City: Down But Not Out

atlantic cityBy Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

Atlantic City has been generating some negative headlines recently. There’s no question about that. The Atlantic Club closed in January, Showboat and Trump Plaza will be closing at the end of the summer, and Revel may close if someone doesn’t buy the property by mid-August.

Everyone agrees: the decline in casino revenue that’s forcing these closures is catalyzed by the over saturation of casinos in the Northeast as legalized gambling in Pennsylvania and New York has siphoned away customers and dollars. With these closures, 20-25% of Atlantic City’s casino workforce will lose their jobs. Many are calling this the beginning of the end of Atlantic City.

Well let me tell you something, Save Jerseyans…

Atlantic City is down, but it is not out. (And before you accuse me of being a naïve, unrealistically-optimistic idealist for saying such a thing, let me point out to that you would be the first person to ever call me that).

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Christie: Federal Tax Code is “Wet Blanket”

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Governor Chris Christie dropped by Wall Street on Wednesday afternoon to address America’s top financial figures at an annual hedge-fund ‘Delivering Alpha’ conference.

His primary message was as obvious and straightforward as it is important:

4 Easy Ways for Trenton to Save Money

By Irwin M. Fletcher | The Save Jersey Blog

money - liberty coinFolks, the FY 2015 budget debate will conclude – or at least reach its climax – when Governor Chris Christie signs/line-item veto(es) the legislature’s work product, presumably sometime between now and the 4th of July. 

This episode has shown us one thing: we need to cut some budget fat, or we are going to be doing this dance again and again, year after year. Not one-time stuff, either; we need permanent cuts that are going to last and result in permanent savings.

Matt Rooney, Senate Republicans and even Joe Cryan have pitched cost-cutting ideas.

Here are four of my own for your kind consumption as Governor Christie weighs his options. Because, as I recently pointed out, a millionaires tax is not going to solve our woes. This isn’t a comprehensive list; I do not claim to have all the answers, but it’s my hope that, by reading this, decision-makers’ old thinking caps powered up….

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More Regulations for N.J. Businesses

By Joe Schilp | Joe’s Blog

red tapeThis past week, the New Jersey state Senate and Assembly both passed the “Opportunity to Compete Act,” which prohibits businesses with more than 14 employees from asking applicants to check a box to indicate whether they have been convicted of a crime.  Additionally, businesses would be prohibited from asking first-time interviewees if they’ve been convicted of a crime.

It has been reported that NJ Governor Chris Christie’s office worked with the legislators on the language of the bill; thus, Christie is expected to sign the bill into law.

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The Conservative Case Against This Budget

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

New Jersey’s $34.1 billion FY 2015 budget stinks for a host of different reasons, Save Jerseyans, all of which we’ve discussed here at Save Jersey including a measure that ADDS new members to the imperiled public benefits system, and we’ll continue to hope that Governor Chris Christie surprises us and uses his veto pen liberally but, for now, here’s a clip of Asm. Jay Webber (R-Morris) who did a solid job of summarizing where Democrats (and his own GOP) went astray from the floor on Thursday: