Senator Anthony Bucco, the Senate Republican Budget Officer, and the senior Republican member on the Senate Law, Public Safety & Veteran’s Affairs Committee, questioned the Corzine Administration’s plan to close Riverfront State Prison in Camden in the midst of an escalating crime wave. Riverfront State Prison is a medium security facility located in the City of Camden, it houses more than 1,000 inmates.
Senator Joe Pennacchio, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, praised the Assembly Higher Education Committee for scheduling hearings on the $1.6 billion, New Jersey Better Educational Savings Trust (NJBest) program for parents trying to save enough to pay the growing cost of a college education for their children.
“I hope members of the Assembly Higher Education Committee get better answers than I did from Corzine officials at a recent budget hearing. I am not at all confident that the parents of future college students who put $1.6 billion into this program are getting their money’s worth.
Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblyman Daniel M. Van Pelt have made additional inquiries of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regarding the ongoing investigation of the release of tritium at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Facility.
Legislation Will Stiffen Sentences for Gang Members Convicted of Crimes
With the rise in gang-related crime and arrests in Burlington County and across the State of New Jersey, Assemblywoman Dawn Marie Addiego and Assemblyman Scott Rudder will introduce a bill to help law enforcement deal with the increase and to extend the time convicted gang members will spend behind bars.
The announcement comes just a day after the release of the New Jersey Uniform Crime Report that shows a 6 percent increase in crime in Burlington County, and a 5 percent increase statewide.
Corzine’s Lack of Transparency Adds to Crisis
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean issued the following statement after the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services issued a report that predicts New Jersey’s state revenues will fall $1.2 billion short of projections in the current fiscal year, leaving the state with a deficit of $500 million.
“New Jersey seems headed for the first end-of-year deficit in state history,” Senator Kean said. “With just eight weeks remaining in fiscal 2009, state revenues are running a gut-wrenching $1.2 billion below Governor Corzine’s projections.
In their ongoing efforts to assist frustrated residents, Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblyman Daniel M. Van Pelt have written to the Governor requesting the intervention of his office to provide assistance through the appropriate State agencies to residents living in the Four Seasons Community at Mirage located in Barnegat Township affected by a myriad of construction defects found in their homes.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, a new member of the Senate Education Committee, made the following statement after reading that $34.1 million in expected federal stimulus aid for higher education can’t be spent as Governor Corzine promised on a financial aid program for college students, leaving another gap in the proposed state budget for 2010.
“The public deserves an honest budget. Legislators can’t produce one if Governor Corzine can’t or won’t provide a true picture of the state’s fiscal situation, especially how much revenue is coming in to finance state programs.
The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today favorably released legislation (S-2182) introduced by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblyman Daniel M. Van Pelt (all R-Ocean/Burl./Atl.) that would require a portion of tenant-based assistance vouchers under the State Rental Assistance Program be reserved for grants to veterans.
Legislation Creates Educational Security Task Force
Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-21) that would create an Educational Security Task Force to assist the State Board of Education in developing security guidelines for New Jersey schools was approved by the Senate Education Committee today. The bill, S-1627, would create a 16-member task force to review and recommend best practices for providing safe and secure learning environments for students and school employees.
Republican Senate Budget Officer Anthony Bucco issued the following statement after learning that New Jersey’s budget deficit has grown by $2 billion and that the state is going to borrow $364 million with bonds that delay repayment until 2029 and beyond:
“In 1975, New York City brought in Felix ‘The Fixer’ Rohatyn to run Big MAC, the government corporation set up to keep New York City from bankruptcy after years of embarrassing fiscal mismanagement,” Bucco said. “Based on recent news articles, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Felix races to Jersey next month to rescue us from the fiscal tomfoolery demonstrated daily by the Corzine administration.