Last Minute Giveaways of Tens of Millions of Dollars to Favored Towns by Corzine Breaks Back of State Budget and Comes at Time of School Aid Cuts
Senator Steve Oroho, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, is condemning Governor Corzine’s planned giveaway tomorrow of tens of millions of dollars to the politically connected municipalities of Camden, Paterson, Union City, and Bridgeton through the arbitrary and mismanaged Special Municipal Aid Program. Award of aid to the towns has been scheduled for a vote at tomorrow’s meeting of the Local Finance Board at the Department of Community Affairs at 10 AM.
Ending any further speculation about his potential candidacy, Senator Christopher J. Connors (R-Ocean/Burl./Atl.) announced today that he will not be a candidate for the 3rd Congressional District. Connors’ announcement is in response to numerous inquiries made of his 9th District Legislative Office by constituents and other interested parties regarding the Senator’s future intentions.
In a statement issued today, Senator Connors made the following remarks:
“Today I wish to end any further speculation as to my candidacy for United States Congress for the 3rd Congressional District. The support and encouragement that I have received from friends, constituents and political leaders has been extremely flattering and very much appreciated; however, I must convey in the most definite terms, that I am not a candidate for Congress, nor will I seek my party’s nomination for that office.
Senator Joe Pennacchio, prime sponsor of the Transparency in Government Act, and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean urged Governor Jon Corzine to use all his influence to help win passage of the Transparency in Government Act during the lame-duck session. This bill, which is also sponsored by Senate President Richard Codey, will create a searchable, easy-to-use Web site that taxpayers can use to track government spending. Governor Corzine has said in the past that he supports this bill, which cleared the Senate State Government Committee today.
“It’s been more than a year since I introduced this vitally needed legislation, yet without a full court press from Democrat leaders, its passage is far from assured during this session,” Pennacchio said. “Governor Corzine needs to use all his influence to help push this through a Legislature controlled by his party.”
The 12th District Legislators are thrilled with the recent announcement that Brazil’s top justice announced his decision that Sean Goldman should be returned to his father, David Goldman. Below is a statement from Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, who have advocated on David Goldman’s behalf in his on-going struggle to bring his son home after he was abducted by his Brazilian mother in 2004 and taken to Brazil:
“This most recent decision by Brazilian Chief Justice Gilmar Mendes is the culmination of years or hard work and struggle by so many people especially David Goldman and Rep. Chris Smith, who took on David’s mission as his own. It’s so heartening to see that justice is being served and that David will soon have his son home after so many years without him.
Senator Gerald Cardinale, R-Bergen, said the state Health Department should stop playing politics, help consumers and boost the economy by letting Hackensack University Medical Center re-open Pascack Valley Hospital.
“The most vocal opponents of Pascack Valley are well-paid executives of hospitals that don’t want a competitor cutting into their profits,” Cardinale said. “Consumers know competition is the best way to improve quality and lower the cost of health care in their communities.”
Father Waged 5-Year Custody Battle
Senator Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) issued the following statement today after a Brazilian court ruled that David Goldman’s son be returned to him after a 5-year custody battle. Goldman has been seeking custody of his son, Sean, who was taken to Brazil in 2004 by his now deceased mother and never returned. Lawyers on both sides agreed there is still a chance for the Brazilian family to appeal, though the chances of success are slight.
“I am pleased, that after 5 years, Brazil’s Chief Justice has decided to do what is morally and legally right, based on the tenets of the Hague convention. Now Sean Goldman is one step closer to being returned to the loving arms of his Dad, his only living parent. This has been a long time coming, and I am overjoyed for David, Sean and the entire Goldman family.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean issued the following statement regarding today’s budget announcement by the Corzine Administration:
“Governor Corzine appears to have begun to adjust the Fiscal Year 2010 budget. However, I am dismayed the administration chose to dole out more than $350 million in additional spending for a favored few while cutting school aid across the state.
“New Jersey’s budget is dangerously out of balance this year, and next year will almost certainly be worse. Hard choices will have to be made. Budget priorities will have to be set that benefit everyone, not just the favored few.”
Senator Steve Oroho, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding the decline in revenue from the state sales tax:
“Based on revenue data released by the Department of the Treasury, sales tax collections are off by 6.7 percent through the month of November. The FY 2010 budget signed in June predicted gains of 5 percent. The corporate business tax is also experiencing a significant decline.
Senator Joe Pennacchio congratulated Franklin Templeton Investments on its announcement of a more than 50 percent reduction in fees to parents who invest in the NJBest college savings plan. Franklin Templeton manages the state plan.
In April, Senator Pennacchio was the first state legislator to call attention, through news releases and with questioning during Senate hearings, to a Morningstar report that ranked NJBest as one of the five worst 529 college savings plans in the nation. Morningstar said the fund had high fees and overly risky investment choices. Senator Pennacchio’s crusade for working parents included meeting with Franklin Templeton representatives, who promised him they would come up with a better plan and institute it as soon as it could get it through the state bureaucracy.
Senator Gerald Cardinale, R-Bergen, urged a halt to the demolition of the Riverfront State Prison, New Jersey’s most modern correctional facility, until Camden County has come up with a strategy for dealing with the severe overcrowding of its jail.
“I learned on Thursday that the Camden County has approximately 1,100 people confined in a jail designed for 400 inmates,” Senator Cardinale said. “Clearly, it is simply wrong for the advocates of demolition to argue that this prison’s cells are unneeded.”