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Tag: Steve Sweeney

What’s Going on With the Taj Mahal?

By Ed Sheppard | The Save Jersey Blog

taj mahalThe Taj Mahal is on the verge of closing, Save Jerseyans, and 2,800 people may lose their jobs. But unlike the other casino closings this year, where the main focus was on trying to find buyers for the properties, the main focus on the Taj is trying to save it, as management and other stakeholders are actively trying to do.

Which makes this a much more complicated process than the other closings. Which means it can also be easy to lose track of what is happening with this process and why. This is a volatile process with no easy answers to help solve it. Thousands of livelihoods are at stake. 

So let’s go over the facts of what is happening with the Taj Mahal, to the best of my knowledge, so we will all be on the same page later when we analyze this situation:


LIVE: Christie Posts $34.5B Budget

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) during his recent State of the State address.

Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) during his recent State of the State address.

Governor Chris Christie will deliver his FY 2015 budget address on Tuesday afternoon at 2:00 p.m., Save Jerseyans, a speech which pre-released excerpts suggest could amp up the battle over tax and pension reforms in Trenton.

What gets cut (not much)? What doesn’t (too much)? There is NO tax cut in this proposal but the Democrats have boosted new taxes in recent weeks.

This year’s proposal is $1.6 billion bigger than the FY 2014 budget driven in large part by a heftier pension payment, one that’s larger than the contributions of the last five governors combined; the Governor’s address notes that “94 percent of that increase –virtually all of it — is taken up by three things: pensions, health benefits, and debt.”

Will Democrats cooperate with the Governor’s pitch or dig in and try to score points against a wounded Republican opponent?

You can watch LIVE below the fold and find out beginning at 2:00 p.m… we also have text of the Governor’s address as prepared for delivery…


Sweeney Shifts to Jerry Brown’s Left

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Sweeney TV AdWe know that the New Jersey Democrat Party isn’t a fond of constitutional rights because they’re hard to amend/curtail/squash when political expediency dictates, Save Jerseyans.

What we didn’t realize until fairly recently is that they’re quickly moving to the Left of the nation’s most ardent liberals… including California’s Jerry Brown?

Last week, the two-time Democrat Governor slammed attempts by the town of Oakland’s government to pass additional gun control measures, reminding reporters that
“in terms of crime and guns and violence, we’ve been at this thing for more than 50 years on this very topic, and we’ve passed a tremendous number of laws. There is something else, it’s called administering the laws we have and working together in a community. That is where the greatest yield can be found in terms of making Oakland a safer place.”


Sizing-Up Sweeney’s Save Jersey Tweet

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Photo Credit: Senator Sweeney's twitter feed

Photo Credit: Senator Sweeney’s twitter feed

We figured it’d be fun to check out Senate President Steve Sweeney’s “Twitter Thursday” this past week, Save Jerseyans, to see if he’d answer one of our questions.

#2A supporters hadn’t had much luck but what did we have to lose?

Only 140 characters.

Surprisingly enough, the Democrat front runner for 2017 (or his staffer) deigned a response…


Sweeney’s Second Twitter Thursday

By Synnove Bakke | The Save Jersey Blog

Steve Sweeney AdAttention all Gun owners and Second Amendment supporters: NJ State Senate President Steve Sweeney is hosting a town hall series where he’s taking questions every Thursday on twitter.

Last Thursday was the first session whereby you can use the hashtag #AskSenPres to communicate with the state’s highest ranking legislator.

The New Jersey Second Amendment society, NJ2AS, lead by President Frank Jack Fiamingo and his members who are very active on social media tweeted Sen. Sweeney over 60 comments. But in true form, Sweeney only took one question from them. The group was discouraged by the blatant disrespect shown towards their questions but I was told the NJ2AS “Twitter Army” will be back Thursday to ask Sweeney more questions about his stance on the Second Amendment in NJ and, specifically, what steps he intends to take in the future.


Christie’s Bipartisan Peril

Has Christie hitched his wagon to Democrats? Will the bi-partisanship continue?

By Art Gallagher |

Steve Sweeney (left) and Chris Christie (right)

Steve Sweeney (left) and Chris Christie (right)

Now that Governor Chris Christie has completed his victory lap with appearances on all four network Sunday morning talk shows, the whole world thinks he’s running for president.

His presidential message of getting things done in a bi-partisan manner is compelling given the current national political environment.  If the presidential election was next November, I think he would beat Hillary Clinton or any Democrat.

But the presidential election is in 2016. Before running for president Christie has a year or two governing New Jersey and a year, 2014, as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

2014 will be a busy year for Christie.  In addition to the undefined “big things” he said he will accomplish in his second term, there are 36 gubernatorial seats (38 if you consider the U.S. territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands) up in ’14. 19 (20 if you count Guam) of those seats are currently held by Republicans.

In New Jersey, much of Christie’s first term agenda remains undone.  Tax cuts, “the property tax toll kit,” civil service reform, education reform, reshaping the State Supreme Court, and gutting COAH are all incomplete.  Rebuilding from Superstorm Sandy is his mission. Much of New Jersey is still hurting one year out from the storm.

If Christie can cross off most of his New Jersey agenda from his to do list, get the remaining Sandy survivors back into their homes, and pick up some gubernatorial seats next year, the 2016 Republican presidential primaries will not be much of a challenge. No other GOP contender would be able to match Christie’s “I can get the job done and I know how to win” message.

Continue Reading…

Missing Coattails? Or Ground Game?

OPINION: GOP Needs to Look in the Mirror, Not at Governor Christie

CoattailsBy Larry Wallace | The Save Jersey Blog

In South Jersey, the GOP has no one to blame but ourselves.  Before the election of 2013 was over and right after the last vote was cast, it seemed everyone wanted to point a finger at Gov Christie for our losses.  From his picture with Obama to the endless photo ops for all those sudden ground breakings in our area, everyone wanted to blame someone else for blowing a great opportunity to gain seats.

The reality is, when you run for office, the only person you better count on to get the job done is yourself.  Of course a candidate cannot win any election without help from many, many others.  All politics are local and local is where any election needs to start.

Running for office at the state level, as I and my running mates Niki Trunk and Bob Vanderslice just did, requires the type of money, volunteers and town by town, county by county coordination that fell short this year.  This isn’t to place blame.  I’m simply pointing out what’s painfully clear.  We stated early on, publicly, that if we fail to win our seats, we have no one to blame but ourselves.


Meet Niki Trunk

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

It takes a special kind of courage to run for office as a Republican in Southwestern New Jersey, Save Jerseyans. This is machine territory.

But to challenge Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3)? Courage isn’t enough. You need an individual with a genuine, honest-to-goodness commitment to good government reform, conservative common sense and fearless public service.

That’s why I’m so excited to introduce you to Republican challenger Niki Trunk:

To learn more about Niki’s team, visit their website and listen to our interview with LD3 Assembly hopeful, former Save Jersey contributor and sitting Gloucester County Freeholder Larry Wallace.

LD3 GOP Slate Decided

Trunk, Wallace and Vanderslice Expected to Take on Steve Sweeney in Bid to Turn His District Republican Red

By Matt Rooney The Save Jersey Blog

LD3We’ve had indepenent confirmation from a very reliable source that the Republican ticket in New Jersey’s 3rd legislative district is ready to roll, Save Jerseyans. All that remains is for an announcement date to be set.

A local blog, Salem County Watchdog, has also apparently been following this story closely and its information seems to comport with our own.

Attorney Niki Trunk is reportedly prepared take on Senate President Steve Sweeney; she is the former deputy mayor of Harrison Township and, until very recently, worked in New Jersey’s Office of the State Comptroller for the Medicaid Fraud Division. She has a MBA and law degree both from Temple University.

Trunk’s entry is no surprise and has been the topic of rumors for weeks; the more recent news is down ballot where apparently Gloucester County Freeholder Larry Wallace and Salem County Freeholder Bob Vanderslice are expected to run for the two Assembly seats current respectively occupied by Asm. John Burzichelli and Asw. Celeste Riley.


Prepare for the Attempted Romnification of Chris Christie

Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D): one of Governor Chris Christie's potential 2013 Democrat challengers.

It won’t be easy, Save Jerseyans. Chris Christie boasts a much more “relatable personality” than Mitt Romney. That’s what the pollsters tell us.

But New Jersey Democrats are desperate. They haven’t been able to land a serious political punch in three years. So they know there’s only one way to take down New Jersey’s celebrity governor in 2013:

shock and smear.

Jon “MF’n Global” Corzine’s anti-Christie smear campaign — which I eloquently dubbed the “boobs, bullets and b******t” strategy — didn’t work in 2009 precisely because Chris Christie is so relatable. Remember those horrendous “Christie hates mammograms” ads? Unfortunately for Corzine, Christie didn’t look or sound like a boogeyman who wants to steal your sister’s birth control and let your nutty neighbor purchase a personal tank. It was “the economy, stupid,” and Corzine came up short. The cold, remote, wonkish Corzine couldn’t convince voters that he cared about them; Romney suffered a similar fate for not-all-too-different reasons.

Would Corzine’s approach work better in 2013 if the Democrat candidate was more relatable? Someone who didn’t consider sweater vests a legitimate fashion choice?


Encourage, Not Discourage Volunteers

Last week the State Senate passed bill S-1650 along party lines to redesign New Jerseys’ EMS, sending it to the Assembly for consideration.

Taking a hard, honest look at this legislation is important particularly with Hurricane Sandy bearing down on New Jersey.

At first I didn’t think much of the bill at all, but then I realized it was sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney so there had to be more to it. And guess what, Save Jerseyans? Sweeney, the king of advocating service consolidation at the county level, wants to effectively replace local volunteers with paid services.

The New Jersey State First Aid Council (NJSFAC) issued the following statement:

The New Jersey State First Aid Council is deeply concerned that the changes proposed in S-1650 / A-2463 will result in a decline in the number of volunteers in EMS services throughout the state, and an explosive financial burden to municipalities. This could be avoided by addressing recruitment and retention issues and creating a process to coordinate a blended system of paid and volunteer first aid and rescue. Not only will it effect the day-to-day operations of local EMS agencies, it will also have a significant negative effect on disaster readiness and response if the number of volunteer squads is significantly reduced.”


A Realistic View of What Sweeney’s Minimum Wage Hike Would Do to NJ Businesses

Folks, you’ve read on Save Jersey about Steve Sweeney’s plan to put a minimum wage into the constitution. You’ve heard from Matt Rooney why its a bad idea. Earlier in the year, when Sheila Oliver tried to raise it, you heard from me why it was a bad idea.

It’s still a bad idea now.

That’s why since 2010 New Jersey’s very own, super-duper committee on the minimum wage has recommended against raising it. But Democrats won’t listen. It hurts businesses, it hurts workers, it hurts customers.

Now, I could throw studies and economics at you to show why this conclusion has been arrived at three separate reports in a row. But I find putting things in everyday terms, to which we can all relate, is a much more effective approach.

Let’s look at things in terms of your local South Jersey Wawa (sorry, North Jerseyans. This is my analogy).

When I grabbed lunch there yesterday, there were 6 people working, which is typical for any Wawa at any given time of day. Let’s assume each of those employees earns $7.25: the current state minimum wage. Now, hours of operation for each Wawa location vary, so let’s assume our “generic” Wawa location is open 16 hours per day (some are 24/7, others aren’t), with 2 shifts of 6 people working 8 hours per shift. So you can expect to see an average of 12 people working 8 hours each at Wawa. So when you do the math, Save Jerseyans, 12 people making $7.25 (plus 17.5% payroll taxes) for 8 hours results in our generic Wawa’s total labor cost for one day totaling $817.80.

Now raise that rate to $8.25 an hour…

Total cost of labor for a a day is now $930.60, a difference of $112.80. So they lose that much in profit For one day. Extrapolate that out to a 360-day year, and it costs just that one Wawa location $40,608 more in labor. Again, all for just that single location.


Meanwhile… Back in New Jersey…

Did you happen to catch excerpts from Steve Sweeney’s Labor Day Weekend speech to the South Jersey AFL-CIO.

He’s in North Carolina this week for the DNC. Check out what he said last week back at home (h/t

Addressing more than 400 union officials at Friday’s Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO Labor Day breakfast, Sweeney urged the crowd to “punish our enemies” in the upcoming general election.

“We have an election coming in November, and we have a person running [for the Republican Party] that doesn’t dislike us — he hates us,” said Sweeney. “I know this Labor Day you’re all going to be thinking about the long weekend, but the most important thing is to protect ourselves.

“Every single protection that unions have fought for and won — the 40-hour work week, prevailing wage and child labor laws — the national GOP, the Teabaggers, they are trying to wipe us out.”

Yup, this guy is interested in “higher” office!

Never think it can’t get worse, Save Jerseyans. Even in a state already represented at the federal level by Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez.


Sweeney Defends Handling of Jessica’s Law on the O’Reilly Factor (VIDEO)

In case you’ve missed it back on July 26th, Save Jerseyans, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly went after New Jersey’s Senate President Steve Sweeney hammer-and-tong on national television.

Bill’s beef was Senator Sweeney’s perceived “cowardly” refusal to move the “Jessica Lunsford Act” through the New Jersey State Senate. Jessica’s Law is already on the books in most U.S. jurisdictions; among other anti-sex offender provisions, the law imposes a mandatory 25 year-to-life prison term for aggravated sexual assault against a child under age 13.

The ambitious Sweeney must’ve recognized the opportunity which O’Reilly served up on a silver platter and voluntarily ventured into the dreaded “no-spin zone” this Wednesday evening to answer for himself. To summarize (watch the video below the fold for a full recap, or click here to read the transcript), Senator Sweeney pleaded ignorance regarding the bill’s seemingly endless slog through his chamber, pointing out that he didn’t run the Senate when the bill was first introduced in 2005. He also claimed to be the bill’s sponsor and pledged to ensure its speedy passage.

The most important thing is that the bill is finally advancing (or so he says), but much of what we do here at Save Jersey is keeping elected officials honest! So let’s set the record straight…