Congressional Democrats Echo Pennacchio’s Calls to Keep Promise of Transparency
Eight days have passed since Senator Joe Pennacchio, R-Morris and Passaic Counties, asked Governor Corzine when he intends to keep his promise of transparency in the spending of $17 billion of federal stimulus money. The governor’s stimulus Web site, http://www.recovery.nj.gov, is almost useless to average taxpayers who want to track which counties, communities and projects are getting money that is supposed to spur job creation.
“The Star-Ledger reports today that two Congressional Democrats called for real openness and accountability in the $700 billion financial sector bailout,” Senator Pennacchio said. “According to news reports, a special inspector general can’t get information about how Wall Street banks are spending the money.”
Addiego and Rudder Ask Attorney General to Scrutinize Food Service Department After Consultant Found Evidence of $1.5 Million in Waste
Assemblywoman Dawn Marie Addiego and Assemblyman Scott Rudder have requested an investigation by the Attorney General’s office into rampant waste, and possible fraud and theft, in the Camden school district’s food service department.
The 12th District legislators unveiled Tara’s Law at a press conference yesterday at their district office. The creation of Tara’s Law (A-4144/S-2983) was inspired by the neglect and subsequent death of Tara O’Leary, a developmentally disabled woman who was mistreated at the sponsor home where she was staying.
On September 11, 2008 Tara was removed from her sponsor home and placed into the Hunterdon ARC group home. Ten days later, Tara woke up extremely ill and was taken to Hunterdon Medical Center where she was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.
Addiego and Rudder Call for Special Legislative Session to Address $10 Billion Budget Deficit for FY 2011
New Jersey’s ongoing fiscal crisis demands that a special legislative session be convened by Governor Jon Corzine said Assemblywoman Dawn Marie Addiego and Assemblyman Scott Rudder, both R-Burlington.
“Less than one month after passing a budget based on one-shot gimmicks and deferring payments, an independent state agency is estimating next year’s deficit will reach $10 billion,” said Assemblywoman Addiego. “Governor Corzine needs to face the reality that his financial shell game has been uncovered, and that taxpayers want to know how he is going to deal with the record shortfall.”
Senate Republican Whip Kevin O’Toole said Jon Corzine’s failure to call a special session to deal with the largest deficit in state history shows the governor’s unwillingness to deal with the state’s problems openly and democratically.
“I predict Governor Corzine will glibly dismiss Republican calls for a special session as ‘election-year rhetoric,'” O’Toole said. “The truth is the governor is engaging in an election-year campaign of silence in the hope voters will not hold him accountable for his fiscal crisis.”
Estimates in Unbiased Report Show Largest Deficit in State History
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce released a report by an unbiased state agency that estimates New Jersey will have a budget deficit of at least $10 billion in the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2010. The estimate by the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services includes $8 billion in the budget and a deficit of $2 billion to $3 billion in the state’s unemployment compensation fund, which is considered an off-budget account.
The two Republican leaders again urged the governor to do the right thing and order the Legislature into special session immediately to begin developing a plan for dealing with this looming fiscal crisis.
Senate Deputy Republican Leader Diane Allen called on Jon Corzine to join the bipartisan chorus urging Congress to delay a vote on a health care reform bill until Washington figures out a way to pay for the plan without shifting costs to the states. Governors of both parties meeting in Mississippi over the weekend expressed grave doubts about the bill’s impact. Democrat Governors Christine Gregorie of Washington, Phil Bredesen of Tennessee and Bill Richardson of New Mexico were among those who said Washington appeared poised to require that states pick up billions in Medicaid obligations without providing federal aid to pay for them.
Senator Joe Pennacchio said he has begun counting the days it takes Governor Jon Corzine to account for the $17 billion in federal stimulus money that is being sent to New Jersey. He issued his first call for the governor to disclose where stimulus money is going on July 15.
“The Corzine administration knows by now exactly where it expects to spend most or all of the stimulus money,” Pennacchio said. “The governor and the president have promised full transparency in the spending of this aid, which is supposed to put our economy back on its feet, not provide the governor with an election-year goody bag for his supporters.
“So where’s the disclosure?” Pennacchio said. “The governor’s Web site, http://www.recovery.nj.gov/ is as transparent as a lump of coal.
Senator Joe Kyrillos, a member of the Senate Economic Growth Committee, issued the following statement regarding today’s release of New York’s June unemployment figures. The New York unemployment rate for June was 8.7 percent, considerably lower than the recently released New Jersey unemployment rate of 9.2 percent for the same period.
Republican Senate Leader Tom Kean said he was surprised to hear that Governor Corzine issued a press release touting record-high state spending on property tax reimbursements under the Senior Freeze program.
“Senior Freeze reimbursements only rise if property taxes increase,” Kean said. “This is an admission the governor has failed to stop the growth in property taxes for yet another year.”