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Senator Tom Kean

Tom Kean: Toolkit Reforms Could Save Police, Fire Jobs

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Responding to today’s statehouse protest staged by unions representing police and firefighters, Senator Tom Kean, Jr. called on Democratic leaders to schedule votes on the remainder of Governor Christie’s toolkit reforms in order to help local governments retain public safety personnel:

“Senate Democrats aren’t hiding out in another state like their counterparts in Wisconsin, but they may as well be given their lack of action on toolkit reforms that could save the jobs of brave police and firefighters,” Senator Kean stated. “These reforms will free up money in municipal and county budgets to help comply with the property tax cap while maintaining essential public safety personnel. Every protester who came to Trenton today should ask the Majority why they scheduled yet another voting session without a single toolkit bill scheduled for passage.”

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Senator Kip Bateman

Bateman Bill Would Help Seniors Renew Their Driver’s License

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A bill sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Somerset/Morris) that would allow seniors to establish his or her identity for the purpose of renewing a driver’s license by affidavit rather than by producing a birth certificate was unanimously passed by the Senate Transportation Committee today.

“When renewing their drivers license, the primary document required by the Motor Vehicle Commission places a hardship on many senior citizens who have trouble finding their birth certificates, ” Bateman stated. “This legislation gives seniors more options to verify their identity and legally renew their driver’s licenses.”

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Senator Steve Oroho

Beck and Oroho Submit Legislation to Stop Simultaneous Collection of Pensions and Public Paychecks

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Senators Jennifer Beck (R- Monmouth/Mercer) and Steve Oroho (R- Sussex/Hunterdon/Morris) have submitted legislation aimed at ending abuse of the state’s pension system. The bill, S-2716, would prohibit retired public employees that return to government service from collecting pension payments while on payroll.

“Pension payments should only be collected by those who have left the government payroll,” said Senator Beck. “Public employees who game the system by collecting a paycheck and a pension check simultaneously commit the worst kind of double dipping. New Jersey’s taxpayers are tapped out, our pension system woefully underfunded, and neither can tolerate this sort of abuse. Nobody should be able to line their pockets in this manner at public expense.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Tom Kean: “Democrats Choose Political Theater Over Property Tax Relief”

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March 3rd Agenda Fails Taxpayers, Again

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) today said that Democrats’ failure to post remaining toolkit legislation for a vote during the Senate’s March 3 voting session puts election year politics ahead of New Jersey property taxpayers:

“Rather than vote on ways to help property taxpayers, Democrats have chosen to use the Senate’s time to pick an election year fight with the Governor,” Kean said. “The Legislature’s calendar has been hijacked for political theater instead of taking on the significant challenges facing our state. Rather than scheduling override votes on bills they cannot pay for or trying to one up the Governor on tax cuts proposed in his budget, Senate leadership should be holding votes on the toolkit bills they’ve ignored for a year.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: UI Task Force Lays Out Blueprint for Unemployment Insurance Reform

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Senator Joe Pennacchio, the senior Republican Member of the Senate Labor Committee, issued the following statement regarding the release of the report by the New Jersey Unemployment Insurance Task Force.

“I am pleased that the governor has accepted the report today by the task force. The members of the task force, especially the co-chairs Melanie Willoughby and Ed Fedorko and my colleague in the Senate, Fred Madden and the staff at the Department of Labor did an out stand job preparing this comprehensive report. They worked for several weeks last fall in preparing a thorough report that explored the cause of the fund’s imbalance and the reforms necessary to return the fund to fiscal health.

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Senator Tom Kean

Republican Senators Stand United Against Tax Increases

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A letter signed by all sixteen Republican members of the New Jersey Senate announcing their opposition to any attempt by Democrats to insert tax increases into Governor Christie’s proposed FY 2012 budget was sent to Senate President Stephen Sweeney today.

The text of the letter follows:

Dear Senate President Sweeney,

Yesterday we learned that for the third year in a row New Jersey residents carried the highest tax burden in America. While clearly undesirable, this distinction should not be a surprise to anyone.

For far too long New Jersey’s answer to its problems was to throw money at them. In the eight years prior to Governor Christie’s election, taxes were raised 115 times to fund $11 billion in spending increases and a doubling of the state’s debt. It’s hardly surprising then that the state has lagged in population growth, seen among the highest job losses in the region, and was rated the worst place in America to employ workers during that time period.

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Senator Tom Kean

Tom Kean: “Pension, Healthcare, Toolkit Reforms Will Yield Property Tax Relief”

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Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) today praised Governor Christie’s budget proposal for addressing major drivers of local property taxes: healthcare and pension costs for public employees.

“Pension and health benefits reform for public employees does not just impact the state’s budget, ” said Kean. “The conveniently overlooked story by the Governor’s critics is that reforming these overly generous benefits systems will yield substantial and, in the case of health reform, immediate savings to local government. The Governor’s budget featured sustainable property tax relief by demanding swift enactment of meaningful pension and benefits reform, which are major drivers of municipal, county, and school district budgets. Property tax payers should not be asked to pay for a system of benefits more generous than they themselves receive.”

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District 9

DOT Responds to 9th District Delegation’s Call for Expediting Safety Improvements at Route 9-Barnegat Blvd. Intersection

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The Department of Transportation (DOT) has responded to a request made by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove to expedite planned safety modifications for the Route 9-Barnegat Boulevard Intersection. The 9th District Delegation wrote to DOT Commissioner James S. Simpson on January 14 of this year, at the request of the Barnegat Township Committee.

In a letter sent today, the 9th District Delegation apprised Mayor Jeff Melchiondo and the Township Committee of the following announcement by the DOT:

“Please be advised that the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) has responded to our Delegation’s January 14, 2011 letter sent on behalf of Barnegat Township requesting that all necessary measures be taken in order to expedite safety modifications needed at the Route 9 and Barnegat Boulevard North intersection. The Department’s letter has been enclosed for your review and reference.

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Senator Tom Kean

Tom Kean: “Governor’s Budget Is All About Jobs”

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Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) issued the following statement on the Governor’s budget:

“Governor Christie presented New Jersey with a budget that creates permanent, private sector jobs by forcing the state to live within its means and not balance wasteful spending on the backs of businesses. Restoring sanity to our state budget is the most powerful action we can take to put people back to work- far more effective than any cleverly named, haphazard package of one-shot legislation.

“I am exceptionally pleased the Governor has made Senate Republicans’ priority of increasing school aid his own this year. School budgets are the single largest part of New Jersey’s property tax burden, and the Governor’s proposed $250 million increase in aid is welcome relief- particularly in long-shortchanged suburban districts.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Governor’s Responsible Budget Sets Tone for Job Growth

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Senator Joe Pennacchio, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding Governor Christie’s budget address:

“The Fiscal Year 2012 budget proposed by Governor Christie is a prudent fiscally-responsible strategy that sets the tone for increased job growth through the new year. I am especially pleased that the governor has increased education aid for all districts that lost money last year.

“The increase in aid is distributed in a fair and equitable fashion. The additional aid addresses the needs of the rural, suburban and urban districts. Hopefully, as we move forward through the budget process the final document will be able to augment the aid in the proposed document.

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Republican Senators

Tom Kean

District 21 - Republican Leader

Kip Bateman

District 16

Chris Brown

District 2

Anthony Bucco

District 25

Gerald Cardinale

District 39

Kristin Corrado

District 40

Michael Doherty

District 23

Jim Holzapfel

District 10

Steven Oroho

District 24

Declan O'Scanlon

District 13

Joe Pennacchio

District 26

Robert Singer

District 30

Samuel Thompson

District 12

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