The New Jersey Republican Party isn’t exactly killing it right now, Save Jerseyans, with the U.S. Attorney and U.S. Media establishment ravenously circling and pecking at its figurehead like hungry buzzards starved for a fresh carcass.
But you know what? It’s very much in Paul Fishman’s hands. The table is already set and the pieces are moving independent of externalities.
The real battle lies on the other side of the aisle at the moment, and it’s one which has the potential to become so messy, so quickly, that it could actually undermine Democrat chances of capitalizing on Bridgegate’s fallout in the coming cycle(s)…
Loretta Weinberg still can’t point to a shred of evidence indicating a lack of candor on the part of Governor Chris Christie concerning his non-involvement in Bridgegate, Save Jerseyans. That, and it’s apparently “sexist” to document an alleged personal relationship between two prime targets of the investigation.
Governor Chris Christie issued a conditional veto on Thursday night to an arbitration cap proposal initiated by Democrats that would’ve killed the law’s true intent through exemptions. The State Senate subsequently voted 33-1 to concur with the Governor’s conditional veto and extend the 2% cap and prevent a sunset provision from kicking-in on April 1.
“Without question, the reforms to New Jersey’s arbitration system enacted in 2010 have been effective in controlling spending and helping municipalities limit property tax increases,” Governor Christie stated in his conditional veto message. “Extending the successful and essential control on arbitration awards enacted in 2010 is therefore the sensible and logical course.”
New Jersey property taxes will likely resume the double digit annual growth that occurred under the McGreevey, Codey and Corzine Administrations if Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto’s version of the of the Interest Arbitration extension becomes law. Either that, or municipal governments as we know them will cease to exist, succumbing to a long and painful death of higher crime and reduced services and capital improvements.
A 2% cap on interest arbitration awards in labor disputes was a key component of the 2% property tax cap negotiated between Governor Chris Christie, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Prieto’s predecessor, Sheila Oliver in 2010. It worked. Arbitrators made awards of less that 2% to police and fire fighters unions and property taxes rose less than 2% per year over the last four years.
The problem is Oliver insisted that the arbitration cap expire on April 1, 2014. Now, we’re a week before the arbitration cap expires and Prietro is gutting the cap by passing an extension of the law that exempts contracts that were awarded less than 2% during the last three years from any future caps and raises the cap to 3% on contracts that have not been negotiated since 2010.
The math will never work. If property taxes stay capped at 2% but the primary cost of property taxes, salaries, are not capped or are capped at 3%, municipal services will disappear. Police will be laid off, with the junior, lower paid officers being let go first, leaving the older and more highly paid officers to run drown the inevitable increase in crime. Towns will go bust. The state will take over municipal governments and force consolidations.
Senate President Steve Sweeney told MMM today that he expects a key provision of New Jersey’s 2% property tax cap that is set to expire on April 1 to be extended.
The interest arbitration provision of the property tax reforms passed with bi-partisan support three years ago caps arbitration awards in government labor disputes to 2%. Since they’ve been implemented the average arbitration award resulted in salary increases for local government employees to 1.86%–the lowest in 20 years. The provision will expire on April 1 unless extended by legislation.
I said last September that Colorado #2A activists’ successful recall of two Democrat legislators – including their own state senate president – could be bad news for New Jersey’s Steve Sweeney. Unfortunately for everyone except Sweeney, the NJ GOP establishment didn’t challenge him at the polls and Garden State grassroots weren’t sufficiently organized.
U.S. Senate Candidate Murray Sabrin rolled out legislative endorsements from Northwestern N.J. on Tuesday morning, Save Jerseyans, including State Sens. Steve Oroho and Mike Doherty along with Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose and Assemblyman Parker Space.
A word cloud consisting of one word: liberty.
“Murray Sabrin’s decades-long commitment to limited government, individual liberty and independence and personal responsibility place him head and shoulders above his primary opponents,” said Oroho, McHose and Space in a joint statement.
Thompson (left) calls for an investigation while Rice listens at a February 2014 presser.
Senators Sam Thompson (R-Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean) and Ron Rice (D-Essex) are ramping-up their bipartisan push to get the “New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation” (a/k/a the Bridgegate SCI) to investigate evidence of rampant corruption in Newark City Hall during the tenure of Cory Booker (D-Twitter).
Democrat legislators Linda Greenstein and Bonnie Watson Coleman are taking chunks out of each other at the moment, Save Jerseyans, battling to replace the retiring Rush Holt in CD12. There’s other candidates in the mix, too, but early shows of strength suggest they’re the leaders. Some say Greenstein has the edge.
If that’s true, and Greenstein ultimately prevails in November, then her LD14 State Senate seat could be open for the first time since Bill Baroni left it for the port authority (which in retrospect seems like a less-than-great decision, right?).
Speculation is fun even when it’s temporarily idle. Here are some of the leading GOP prospects for an open seat according to the folks who keep tabs on such things…
The Kean-Christie rift doesn’t manifest itself in a “hot” war, Save Jerseyans, but it’s clear enough to legislative Republicans that the 2013 election signaled the beginning of a new era in state GOP politics.
Governor Christie is in damage control mode, fighting lame duck status and a weary national GOP electorate. Legislative Republican leaders, on the other hand, are increasingly looking forward and making independent decisions.
(2) Asking tough questions and championing real reforms.
Trenton Democrats have made it clear which path they prefer (hint hint #1). The Republican members of the Legislative Select Committee on Investigation (SCI) favor door #2 and they proved it on Friday…
His rumor: Chris Christie received $500,000 from the firm of embattled Port Authority Chairman David Samson in 2009.
The truth: Senator Lesniak has every incentive to see Samson’s Port Authority take a hit in the court of public opinion. He’s suing them in real court, too. The conflicts here have more layers than the George Washington Bridge.
It’s just one man’s opinion, Save Jerseyans, but New Jersey Democrats have been watching too much True Detective as of late. Each one of them is trying to leave a unique footprint on the Bridgegate/Sandygate/Whatevergate saga by wildly speculating as to the possible existence of new dimensions of corruption enveloping the embattled Christie Administration and, hopefully, landing themselves some air time with Rachel Maddow.
Tuesday night was Sen. Raymond Lesniak’s turn to succumb to its grip.
The liberal Democrat who led the charge to end New Jersey’s death penalty cast due process to the wind and openly speculated, without any cited evidence, whether Governor Chris Christie had committed a form of tax fraud…