Republican Legislators Also Plan to Introduce Legislation Requiring Blind Trusts for Governors’ Investments
The controversy surrounding Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s personal finances requires a special investigator to determine whether there is a conflict of interest, said Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce and Sen. Kevin J. O’Toole, who are also planning legislation to require investments of future governors be placed in blind trusts.
In a joint statement, they called for the appointment of a special investigator to determine if any conflicts do exist “so we can put to rest any lingering questions about Governor Jon Corzine’s finances and what appears to be several serious instances where the governor’s finances are in direct conflict with state business.”
Corzine Administration Doling Out Aid Arbitrarily
Senator Gerry Cardinale (R-Bergen) called on Governor Corzine to appoint a nonpartisan special investigator to review the State’s Extraordinary Aid Program. The stated purpose of the Extraordinary Aid Program, run by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), is to allow municipalities experiencing extraordinary financial problems not of their own making to compete for approximately $25 million in discretionary grants to mitigate property tax increases.
“Dogfighting Zero Tolerance Act of 2009″ Guarantees Minimum of Five Years Behind Bars for Anyone Convicted of Dogfighting Charges
Senator Phil Haines, Assemblywoman Dawn Marie Addiego and Assemblyman Scott Rudder have drafted legislation putting some badly needed teeth into New Jersey’s law banning dogfighting.
“The Michael Vick incident exposed the horrifying secrets of dogfighting for all of us to see,” said Assemblyman Rudder. “As Vick prepares for his return to the NFL as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, we are acting shut down the vile, inhumane activity of dogfighting in New Jersey.”
Incurable Form of Cancer Can Kill in Just Four Months
Senator Tom Kean (R-21) would like to help raise awareness of a deadly form of cancer that kills more than 3,000 Americans each year. Mesothelioma is an incurable form of cancer that involves the cells lining an organ, usually the lungs, abdominal organs and heart. The expected survival time of those diagnosed with the disease is as little as four to fourteen months.
Senator Kean has introduced legislation, SJR-77, to declare September 26th of each year as “Mesothelioma Awareness Day” in New Jersey.
Senator Kevin O’Toole called on the State Auditor to immediately begin a performance audit of the Extraordinary Aid Program – a property tax relief program that is clearly being mismanaged.
The purpose of the Extraordinary Aid Program, run by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), is to allow municipalities experiencing extraordinary financial problems not of their own making to compete for a share of approximately $25 million to mitigate property tax increases.
Senator Joe Pennacchio, R-Morris and Passaic, said he will continue to monitor transparency in the spending of federal stimulus aid in New Jersey, after Governor Corzine announced that he has finally taken the first steps toward helping taxpayers track where their money is going.
Starting in June, Pennacchio issued repeated news releases pointing out that it has been impossible for taxpayers to use the state’s Web site to track stimulus spending, despite Governor Corzine’s promises of transparency. The governor announced today that the Web site, www.nj.gov/recovery has at last been upgraded to include features that other states such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida have offered for months.
Census Data Show New Jersey Has Highest Median Property Tax Bill and Six of Nation’s Ten Most Expensive Counties
New Jersey property taxpayers continue to struggle under the inability of Governor Corzine and the Democratically-controlled Legislature to address the state’s property tax problem, Republican Assemblymen James W. Holzapfel and David W. Wolfe said today after new data show New Jersey’s $6,320 median property tax bill topped the nation.
“The revelation comes to no surprise to New Jerseyans who have faced incessantly rising property tax bills while Governor Corzine and his allies in the Legislature have failed to do anything about it,” Holzapfel said. “The governor takes credit for controlling the growth of property taxes, but they have increased nearly 20 percent statewide since he has been in office.
Senator Files Appeal to State Records Council
Senator Steve Oroho, R-Sussex, Morris and Hunterdon, said he has appealed the Corzine administration’s refusal to release a report on housing growth that was presented to the State Planning Commission in March. The study reportedly shows that the Council on Affordable Housing grossly overestimated how much so-called “affordable” housing is needed in New Jersey. Oroho filed his appeal with the New Jersey Government Records Council.
“It’s impossible for our democracy to function when public and elected officials are denied the facts needed to make informed decisions,” Oroho said. “Billions of dollars of taxpayer and economic development money are at stake. The public deserves to see all the data, not just the highly suspect numbers the Corzine administration uses to support its housing policies.”
Corzine Must Reform “Extraordinary Aid” Program To Stop Mismanagement
Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) called on the Corzine Administration to acknowledge that recent grants awarded through the State’s Extraordinary Aid Program are random and unfair and to immediately reform the program. The stated purpose of the Extraordinary Aid Program, run by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), is to allow municipalities experiencing extraordinary financial problems, not of their own making, to compete for approximately $25 million in discretionary grants to mitigate property tax increases.
Senator Tom Kean, the Senate Republican Leader, issued the following comments regarding New Jersey’s last place ranking in business tax climate by the non partisan tax foundation:
“For four consecutive years, the well-respected, non-partisan tax foundation has ranked New Jersey last in its annual rankings of state business tax climate. This is a direct result of the short-sighted, radical economic policies of Governor Corzine and his allies in the Legislature.