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Category: Economics

The History of New Jersey’s Transportation (Mis)trust Fund

Parkway congestion traffic

Major congestion on the Garden State Parkway near mile 96.6 in Wall Township.

By Joe Sinagra | The Save Jersey Blog

Did you know that New Jersey has $900 million a year going to pay off interest and principal on bonds issued years ago? The issuance of new bonds, not tax revenue, is funding the Trust Fund’s contribution to the Transportation Capital Plan.

Every year, the Transportation Trust Fund spends almost three times as much as it raises in taxes. Every time that the Trust Fund borrows $1.6 billion, it commits to paying $100 million a year for 30 years in debt payments (assuming a 5% interest rate).

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Bringing Jobs to South Jersey: Cruise Ship Port

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

cruise shipAtlantic, Cumberland and Cape May Counties have, historically, had the highest unemployment in the state. And now things are likely going from bad to worse with casino closures in Atlantic City. That’s the situation on paper. On the ground, living here, it pains me, every time, when I hear people my age and younger refer to this area as “a black hole”, and whose plans for a prosperous future start with them moving out of the area. All this means that in South Jersey, we need to figure out how to bring jobs back to the area. By writing a series of posts full of concrete, actionable ideas for job growth in South Jersey, it is my hope to inspire and influence key decision makers, in both the public and private sectors, to turn this “black hole” into a shining beacon.

This is part six of my “Bringing Jobs to South Jersey” series, Save Jerseyans. Read parts one (cutting taxes and red tape), two (natural gas), three (wind power unit production), four (aquaculture) and five (veteran care reform) if you haven’t already.

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Assembly GOP Falls in Line as Override Attempt Fails

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

The New Jersey State HouseGovernor Chris Christie’s veto of the A-961 affordability analysis will stand, Save Jerseyans.

The final vote: 45 in favor of an override, 23 against and 5 in the meh, blech, or whatever camps, several votes short of the super-majority required for reversal.

I confirmed last week with Save Jersey sources that GOP leadership actively (and aggressively) whipped votes to avoid what was viewed as a potential embarrassment for the Administration.

What Monday’s result tells me? Among other things? While last fall’s Kean vs. Christie dust-up revealed the extent to which the Governor’s coattail-less reelection had damaged his political clout under the dome (e.g. don’t expect another breakthrough Cap 2.0 or pension reform in the near future), a majority of Assembly Republicans are still hesitant to cross the Christie front office… even if it’s to support a measure that they previously unanimously supported… 

 

10 Appropriate N.J. State Song Selections

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

New Jersey’s credit sucks as much as its tax rates, business climate and stubbornly-sluggish jobs market, Save Jerseyans, but that hasn’t stopped our legislators from wasting time debating a state song with the same obnoxiously carefree attitude that they exhibit when wasting our money, all while our family and neighbors run for the bridges.

None of their song choices are particularly appropriate. Here are ten much better suggestions from Save Jersey which, if we’re being honest (they rarely are) would make a lot more sense given the state of things in the Garden State… 

(1) Elvis Presley – I’m Movin’ On (1969)

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Christie in WI, OH; NJ Dems Attempt Veto Override

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Chris Christie stumps in Ohio back in October 2012 for Mitt Romney.

Chris Christie stumps in Ohio back in October 2012 for Mitt Romney.

October arrives this week, Save Jerseyans, and Captain Clutch may be retired but the political world is kicking into high gear.

Governor Chris Christie is heading to Wisconsin and Ohio on Monday; he’ll attend events for Governor Scott Walker and Governor John Kasich, respectively, at a time when the former is clinging to a slim lead and the latter is leading in polls by Christie ’13 margins.

That’s good news for the RGA Chairman. Less good? A potential override of an absolute veto back on the home-front.

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NJ-03: Equal Pay in a Moral Vacuum

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

macarthur belgard debate

Photo credit: MacArthur for Congress

I’ve devoted a lot of digital ink to explaining why equal pay “mythology” has no place in the mainstream political discourse. Bad statistics, manipulated statistics, and culture mores exert a larger impact on gender pay inequities – to the extent they even still exist – than any species of discrimination.

But Democrats need to campaign on something, right? They sure as hell can’t run on their President’s record. So intellectual lightweights like Amiee Belgard resurrect bad arguments and try to beat their opponents over the head with them.

Here’s one exchange from Friday’s NJ-03 debate that’s particularly telling:

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Traier Calls Out Best for Worst Behavior

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

John Traier (second from Left) - Photo Credit: PCRRO

John Traier (second from Left) – Photo Credit: PCRRO

Want to make a quick and easy buck, Save Jerseyans? Or thousands of them?

Buddy up to Paterson City schools superintendent Donnie Evans. He’s got the Midas touch.

We found out this week that he planned to elevate Passaic County Freeholder Theodore “TJ” Best to a new position: “director of climate, culture and external affairs.”

What’s that? And how much does it pay.

Good question. Apparently even Evans doesn’t know yet.

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Guardian Gets It. Why Can’t Trenton?

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Don Guardian (R-Atlantic City)

Don Guardian (R-Atlantic City)

I spend a lot of time – more than I’d like to spend, truth be told – complaining about Trenton’s dominant tax, spend and borrow culture, Save Jerseyans. ‘Robin Hood budgeting‘ is how I’ve explained it in the past. But someone needs to say something, right? Factor in the NJ Supreme Court’s interference in education funding and you’ve identified MOST of what’s wrong with our state sitting on the table right in front of you.

Few under the State House’s dome seems to understand. Or care. Probably a little bit of both in most cases.

Others have simply given up.

Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian seems to get it.

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The Gas Tax Hike Cometh

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Gas pumpAs recently as March, Save Jerseyans, Governor Chris Christie said gas tax hikes were off the table.

He strongly opposed a proposal from Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-20, Union) earlier in the year which would’ve raised the gas tax by 15 cents over 3 years.

But I warned you earlier this week how the pending confirmation of Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner-designate Jamie Fox could signal a change in thinking, or at least tactics.

I take no pleasure in being right. Trust me. I’ll be paying right along side you at the next pump. So enjoy our run of cheap gas (which is attracting drivers to NJ… when does that every happen?) while it lasts…

CONTINUE READING….

Bringing Jobs to South Jersey: Veteran Care

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

The James J. Howard Community-Based Outpatient Clinic in Brick, New Jersey

The James J. Howard Community-Based Outpatient Clinic in Brick, New Jersey

This is part five of my “Bringing Jobs to South Jersey” series, Save Jerseyans. Read parts one (cutting taxes and red tape), two (natural gas), three (wind power unit production) and four (aquaculture) if you haven’t already.

For the benefit of those of you who don’t have South Jersey’s population demographics data memorized, Southern New Jersey is home to large percentage of New Jersey’s nearly half-million veterans, significantly more than most areas of the state. This is a direct result of 1) indigenous individuals from the area who serve and decided to come back and 2) veterans from other parts of the country who retire to South Jersey, often to the Shore points.

They haven’t found a strong job market.

Currently, many of these same veterans must travel to VA facilities and hospitals in Delaware or Maryland for certain vital kinds of treatment, as much as 5 or 6 hours away. That’s ridiculous. And there’s a simple win-win solution staring us right in the face…

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Bringing Jobs to South Jersey: Aquaculture

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

aquacultureAtlantic, Cumberland and Cape May Counties have, historically, had the highest unemployment in the state. And now things are likely going from bad to worse with casino closures in Atlantic City. That’s the situation on paper. On the ground, living here, it pains me, every time, when I hear people my age and younger refer to this area as “a black hole”, and whose plans for a prosperous future start with them moving out of the area. All this means that in South Jersey, we need to figure out how to bring jobs back to the area. By writing a series of posts full of concrete, actionable ideas for job growth in South Jersey, it is my hope to inspire and influence key decision makers, in both the public and private sectors, to turn this “black hole” into a shining beacon.

This is part four of my “Bringing Jobs to South Jersey” series, Save Jerseyans. Read parts one, two and three if you haven’t already.

As part of their 1st District Economic Task Force announcement, Senator Jeff Van Drew (D-1) and Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak (D-1) mentioned only one industry they see as a potential area for growth: aquaculture.

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Bringing Jobs to South Jersey: Wind Turbine Production Plants

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

Wind TurbinesAtlantic, Cumberland and Cape May Counties have, historically, had the highest unemployment in the state. And now things are likely going from bad to worse with casino closures in Atlantic City. That’s the situation on paper. On the ground, living here, it pains me, every time, when I hear people my age and younger refer to this area as “a black hole”, and whose plans for a prosperous future start with them moving out of the area. All this means that in South Jersey, we need to figure out how to bring jobs back to the area. By writing a series of posts full of concrete, actionable ideas for job growth in South Jersey, it is my hope to inspire and influence key decision makers, in both the public and private sectors, to turn this “black hole” into a shining beacon.

This is part three of my “Bringing Jobs to South Jersey” series, Save Jerseyans. Read part one and part two if you haven’t already.

I think that South Jersey has the potential for becoming a manufacturing hub of offshore wind turbines. If we act now, that potential could result in a huge of infusion of jobs into the region.

Some background…

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Bringing Jobs to South Jersey Starts with Making Jersey Business Friendly

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

south jersey mapAtlantic, Cumberland and Cape May Counties have, historically, had the highest unemployment in the state. And now things are likely going from bad to worse with casino closures in Atlantic City. That’s the situation on paper. On the ground, living here, it pains me, every time, when I hear people my age and younger refer to this area as “a black hole,” and whose plans for a prosperous future start with them moving out of the area.  All this means that in South Jersey, we need to figure out how to bring jobs back to the area. By writing a series of posts full of concrete, actionable ideas for job growth in South Jersey, it is my hope to inspire and influence key decision makers, in both the public and private sectors, to turn this “black hole” into a shining beacon.

Here’s my first offering:

Before we can start to lobby companies to invest in South Jersey, we need to make sure the stage is set for such an endeavor. It be pointless to convince businesses to come here if we aren’t ready to accept them. So my first post will focus on New Jersey’s business environment.

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Lance Joins Estate Tax Repeal Fight

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

LanceLeonard Lance is trying to help advance the death tax repeal movement in D.C and back at home where he got started, in the N.J. State House, as members of both parties coalesce around a legislative effort.

“From state capitals to the halls of Congress, there is growing movement to bring an estate tax repeal bill up for a vote in U.S. House of Representatives,” said Lance who, at the moment, is joining 220 other cosponsors of the Death Tax Repeal Act (H.R. 2429).  “It’s been nine years since the U.S. House has passed a death tax repeal measure.  With more than a majority of the House co-sponsoring the Death Tax Repeal Act, it is time that we show our support for family business owners, employees, farmers and consumers and vote to kill the death tax.”

The text of the letter signed by Rep. Lance and twenty-nine other lawmakers, directed to the GOP leadership, is posted below the fold:

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Death Tax Repeal Supporters Rally at State House

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

death tax rallyYou don’t need me to remind you that New Jersey is one of the most heavily taxed states in the country, Save Jerseyans. It’s the primary reason why you’re a fan of this site.

And while it’s generally difficult for both sides of the aisle to come to an agreement on the all-important tax issue, at least in terms of getting anything constructive accomplished, a legislative effort was formally launched on the State House steps this Monday that’s got bipartisan sponsorship.

The cause capable of making this possible? Repealing the “death tax.”

The bipartisan legislation, sponsored by state senator Steve Oroho, (R-Sussex) and Paul Sarlo (D-Wood Ridge), would repeal the estate tax over a 5-year time span.

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