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The following editorial by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean on Senate Republican solutions to address the root causes of New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation property taxes was published in the Asbury Park Press on October 9, 2015.
To ensure three generations of families can stay together in a prosperous and thriving New Jersey, property tax bills must finally be lowered.
Senate Republicans and I are advocating for solutions to address the top three root causes of this state’s nation-high property tax burden: local government spending, costly mandates and the need for education reform.
New Jersey has thousands of layers of local government, which, through legislation that my colleagues and I sponsor, should share services, consolidate and decrease duplicative and wasteful local government costs.
In response to the catastrophic flooding in South Carolina, Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) is urging local residents to drop off desperately-needed donations at her District Office, located at 504 Route 130 North in Cinnaminson.
The historic week of rainfall in South Carolina has sent nearly 1,000 people to shelters, leaving 40,000 South Carolina residents without access to drinkable water. Supplies are needed immediately.
UPDATE: The deadline to drop off donations has been extended to 3 p.m. on Friday, October 9. The supplies will be transported to South Carolina on Friday, October 9.
Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) was pinned as an “Angel in Adoption” at a ceremony held Tuesday in Washington D.C. to honor her efforts to advance the rights of adopted children across the State of New Jersey.
The Congressional Coalition on Adoption chose to honor Senator Allen for legislation she sponsored (S-873) to bring fundamental, responsible changes to the way adoptees access birth records in New Jersey. The bill was signed into law in May of 2014 after more than a decade of advocacy by Senator Allen. Senator Allen was among nominees nationwide who were honored for creating a national impact in the field of adoption by advocating for children living in adoptive and foster homes. Senator Allen was nominated by Congressman Tom MacArthur.
“I am honored to be recognized for my work to end the injustices and discrimination faced by adoptees across New Jersey,” Senator Allen said. “For 17 years, I fought to pass legislation recognizing that adoptees deserve the same access to vital information many of us take for granted.
A Senate committee passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to bring world-class entertainment to venues in Atlantic City and across New Jersey and, in turn, boost the state’s economy and job market.
“I’d like to thank the committee chairman for joining me in pushing this vital economic growth bill,” Kean said. “This cost-free measure would get more middle-class people back to work in a wide variety of careers and increase state revenues by enhancing state tourism, entertainment and a variety of industries from retail to restaurant to hospitality. There is tremendous value in the ability to consistently draw world-class entertainment here, especially considering widely successful A-Lister residencies in Las Vegas, where there’s no state income tax. The more than 50,000 fans who paid to see A-List performer Maroon 5 in August gives a glimpse of how Atlantic City can transform into a premier entertainment destination, drawing tourists from the most-densely populated northeast corridor; two of America’s largest cities that are each less than two hours away; and from around the world via nearby international airports.”
Legislation in Action: NJIT Breaks Ground on Science, Engineering Facility Funded by Kean’s ‘Building Our Future Bond Act’
On Thursday, Senator Kean attended the groundbreaking of NJIT’s $19 million world-class life sciences and engineering facility, designed to foster revolutionary research and high quality instruction. The State covered $13.5 million of the cost to build the facility, thanks in part to Sen. Kean’s “Building Our Future Bond Act.” This voter-approved legislation provides a $750 million bond to vastly improve infrastructure and instruction at public universities, such as NJIT, over a period of 20 years.
“Today’s groundbreaking proves that the people of New Jersey made the right decision when they voted to approve a $750 million bond to fund desperately needed upgrades to higher education institutions across the State,” Senator Kean said.
Governor Chris Christie signed legislation today sponsored by Senator Jennifer Beck (R- Monmouth) that provides for more affordable fuel during a state of energy emergency. The bill provides that when a gasoline retailer exhausts the supply of the lowest grade fuel during a state of energy emergency, the retailer may sell any remaining supply of higher-grade fuel at the same price per gallon of the lowest grade.
“I want to thank Governor Christie for signing this bill today,” said Beck. “This legislation allows gas stations to provide motor fuel at the price per gallon or liter of their lowest grade when they only have higher grades left to offer. We shouldn’t have to pay extra when we are vulnerable in the aftermath of disasters, just because there are supply shortages that are out of our control.”
Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman joined nearly 200 cyclists from Ride 2 Recovery Tuesday morning, as the group embarked on a 51-mile trek from Princeton to Philadelphia. This was the last leg of Ride 2 Recovery’s 460-mile ride across New Jersey to raise awareness and help thousands of injured veterans around the country.
Trading in a suit and tie for athletic gear and a bright red bicycle, Senator Bateman addressed the crowd before cycling alongside the veterans for the first several miles of today’s trek to Philadelphia.
“I proudly support Ride 2 Recovery, an incredible organization dedicated to helping our nation’s brave veterans recover from injury and trauma through cycling,” Senator Bateman said. “Today we pedaled together to honor these heroes and show our support for the volunteers that work tirelessly to empower and inspire injured veterans on the road to recovery.”
Project Completion Expected by End of 2016
Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11), Monmouth County Freeholder Tom Arnone, and Neptune Committeeman Randy Bishop announced that the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (NJDOT’s) Office of Maritime Resources has awarded the bid to complete the Shark River dredging project. The project’s contract was awarded to Mobile Pumping & Dredging Co., of Chester, PA.
“After over two decades, there has finally been a bid awarded to dredge Shark River. Notably, The National Marine Fisheries only allows dredging work from July 1st to December 31st, so I’m happy to see this monumental step taken forward, which, if all the stars align, will allow dredging to begin this year. None of this could have been possible without the work of Freeholder Tom Arnone and Committeeman Randy Bishop, working together in a bipartisan fashion with every state, county, and local stakeholder to make this project happen,” Beck said. “While the State is investing more than $5 million, the project couldn’t have moved forward without the assistance of Monmouth County, which is accepting the material at its landfill and helping to fund the trucking. In addition, a number of surrounding municipalities have preliminarily agreed to share in the cost of the project.”
The New Jersey Senate urged the federal government to accept a proposal by Governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo under which New Jersey, New York and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey would pay for 50 percent of the $20 billion Gateway rail tunnel project if the federal government would pick up the other half.
The bipartisan resolution, sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-Union) and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester), also endorsed the governors’ decision to have the Port Authority take a lead role in planning and funding the Gateway project. Gateway is designed to add two new rail tunnels under the Hudson, provide one-seat rides for commuters on all NJ Transit lines, and double New Jersey rail ridership to Manhattan by 2040.
“New Jersey residents and employers absolutely need this cooperative solution for a new Hudson River rail tunnel to maximize their opportunities and investments in our state,” Senate Republican Leader Kean said. “For years, we’ve been working to obtain this fair and balanced funding plan involving all stakeholders, and I urge federal officials to immediately sign off and let the building begin.”
A measure sponsored by Senator Robert Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean) to create better coordinated and comprehensive primary and behavioral health care services was adopted by the full Senate.
Under Senator Singer’s legislation, S2375, ambulatory care facilities would be permitted to provide primary health care services and behavioral health care services under a single license.
“The state’s current requirement forcing facilities to obtain multiple licenses is an unnecessary burden that restricts a patients’ access to needed care and makes it much more difficult for health centers to provide coordinated, holistic care,” said Singer. “Making it easier for ambulatory care facilities to also provide mental health services will allow more patients to get the full spectrum of care that they need.”