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New Jersey Senate Republicans

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Administration’s Nursing Home COVID Policy Still a Recipe for Disaster

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Crest Pointe Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Point Pleasant Admitting New COVID Positive Patients After 19 Residents Died

Senator Joe Pennacchio continues to question the administration and State Department of Health’s policy toward admittance of new COVID patients at long-term nursing facilities. 

Senator Pennacchio questioned the Administration and State Department of Health’s policy for admitting new COVID patients to long-term nursing facilities. (SenateNJ.com)

The Senator’s office received an anonymous call from a resident’s loved one who heard that the center was still accepting new patients who are testing positive for COVID. Office staff confirmed with the nursing home’s admissions office that new patients testing positive for COVID are in fact being admitted.

The State’s current policy for requires nursing homes to have sufficient PPE and staffing to be allowed to admit COVID patients. The State also “wishes” to be notified if those facilities cannot manage the outbreak. Continue Reading…

District 9

Connors, Rumpf & Gove Oppose Marijuana “Modernization Act”

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“Trenton Should be Doing More for the Economy than Promoting Smoking and Selling Marijuana”

Calling it a train wreck in the making, Senator Christopher Connors, Assemblyman Brian Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove all stand opposed to the “New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act.”

Calling it a train wreck in the making, Connors, Rumpf & Gove expressed their opposition to the “New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act.” (Pixabay)

The 9th District delegation made the following remarks regarding the bill’s provisions:

“Rather than cutting taxes or exercising any degree of fiscal restraint, Trenton still has its priorities misplaced, including when it comes to implementing a legal market for marijuana.

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Senator Kip Bateman

Governor Signs Bateman Bill Investing in Public Libraries

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The New Law Appropriates Money from the Voter-Approved Library Construction Bond Act

Legislation sponsored by Senator Kip Bateman and signed today by the Governor will benefit public libraries across the state. The measure appropriates more than $87 million for library construction and development.

Senator Bateman’s legislation to provide grants to public libraries for construction and accessibility modifications was signed by the Governor. (Abhi Sharma/Flickr)

The grants represent the initial funding round from the Library Construction Bond Act. Bateman sponsored legislation establishing the act to help struggling public libraries, and it was approved by voters in 2017.

“This is an investment in New Jersey counties, cities and towns that will help educate children, train workers for new careers, provide the public with access to the internet and technology, and give patrons the chance to enjoy a good read,” said Bateman (R-16).

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Senator Bob Singer

Singer Bill Prohibiting Disclosure of Addresses and Phone Numbers of Judges Becomes Law

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‘Daniel’s Law’ Was Named for the Son of a Federal Judge Who Was Killed in an Attack on Her NJ Home

A new law, signed today by the Governor and sponsored by Senator Robert Singer protects the safety and privacy of judges and judicial officers.

Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Singer that would make it a crime to disclose the address of a judge or judicial officer was signed today by the Governor. (©iStock)

“This measure takes the steps necessary to obscure details about judges that could put them and their families at risk,” said Singer (R-30). “There is so much information exchanged online, and a reckless post or an innocuous comment can, in the wrong hands, be dangerous. Enacting this law will help increase security for judges our legal system relies on.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Without Oversight, the Administration and the Legislature Own the Current COVID Situation in Nursing Homes

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Just as they did in the spring, COVID outbreaks are now running unchecked through nursing homes in New Jersey, and Senator Joe Pennacchio today said both the Governor’s Administration and the Legislature share culpability for failing to act expediently.

As COVID levels continue to spike in nursing homes in the state, Senator Pennacchio said the Governor and Legislature must do more to protect elderly residents. (Pixabay)

A newspaper report published this week cited an increase of close to 50 percent in COVID outbreaks at nursing homes, and reported almost 80 new hot spots in just 20 days.

“This is exactly what we were trying to prevent in the spring when we started calling for – pleading for – a Senate Select Committee to investigate the Administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the state, and especially in our veterans and nursing homes,” said Senator Joe Pennacchio. “Utilizing subpoena power to compel witness testimony, we could have discovered which policies failed so changes could be made to ensure the same disastrous mistakes would not be repeated.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Pennacchio’s Holiday Toy Drive Collecting Gifts for Children Through December 11

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This year has been a very trying year for all of us and no less for the children who have faced conditions never confronted by previous generations.

Senator Pennacchio is hosting a holiday toy drive for children and families in need. Donations of unwrapped gifts will be collected at his legislative office in Montville through Monday, Dec. 11. (SenateNJ.com)

As the holiday season approaches, Senator Joe Pennacchio urged residents to remind themselves that although many of us are facing difficult times, there are those less fortunate whose challenges are even greater.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Steve Oroho

Pennacchio & Oroho Warn BPU of Growing Utility Bill Crisis

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Under a moratorium on late fees and service disconnects mandated by Governor Murphy, more than a half million residential customers have fallen behind on their utility bills and the number is growing every day.

Senator Joe Pennacchio and Senator Steven Oroho today, in a letter to Board of Public Utilities President Joseph Fiordaliso, urged BPU to take pre-emptive measures to address a potentially dire problem.

Senator Pennacchio and Senator Oroho today urged the Board of Public Utilities to compile plans to prevent a financial crisis as hundreds of thousands of utility customers are falling behind in their payments under Gov. Murphy’s moratorium on late fees and service disconnections. (SenateNJ.com)

“There is more than $354 million owed. It’s essential that we have a workable plan in place,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “If residents are struggling to pay their monthly utility bills now, how will they be able to pay for a whole year in one chunk. If these payments aren’t made, it will fall on the backs of ratepayers, and we don’t want them stuck holding the bill. We need to come up with a plan now.

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Senator Jim Holzapfel

Holzapfel: Instead of Wasting Time on “Magic Mushrooms,” Legislature Should Examine Murphy’s Coronavirus Response

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Says Democrats “Keeping Their Heads Buried Firmly in the Sand” Blocking Multiple Efforts to Hold Governor Accountable for Arbitrary & Haphazard Response to COVID-19

With new restrictions ordered by Governor Murphy set to inflict additional economic harm on New Jerseyans, Senator Jim Holzapfel urged the New Jersey Legislature to prioritize a review of the Murphy administration’s coronavirus response to date.

With new restrictions ordered by Gov. Murphy set to inflict additional economic harm on New Jerseyans, Sen. Jim Holzapfel urged the Legislature to prioritize a review of the Murphy administration’s coronavirus response to date. (SenateNJ.com)

“The Democratic majorities in the New Jersey Legislature are keeping their heads buried firmly in the sand while Governor Murphy is issuing new executive orders that will hurt many of our constituents without any legislative oversight whatsoever,” said Holzapfel (R-10). “Instead of serving as a critical check on the governor’s executive powers, they are wasting the Legislature’s time with an unnecessary fight over ‘magic mushrooms,’ the outcome of which is inconsequential to most New Jerseyans. Meanwhile, people continue to lose their jobs, more restaurants and small businesses are going under, and residents are still getting sick despite making so many sacrifices. It’s unbelievable that Trenton Democrats have so little interest in protecting working families that are getting hit the hardest by Governor Murphy’s overbearing executive orders.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Taxpayers on the Hook for Murphy’s Needless $4.28 Billion Emergency Bonding Plan

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Full Investigation of Administration’s Pandemic Response is Warranted

Senator Joe Pennacchio today called Governor Murphy’s move to take on $4.28 billion in state debt unnecessary and imprudent, and said it will have long-lasting impact on New Jersey’s already over-burdened taxpayers.

Senator Pennacchio denounced the Murphy Administration’s borrowing of more than $4 billion as an unnecessary maneuver that will hurt New Jersey taxpayers for decades. (Pixabay)

“The more responsible approach would have been to wait. Why the hurry? It is possible New Jersey could get a second round of CARES Act relief funds, and the state revenue is coming in stronger than the worst-case scenario painted by the Governor,” said Pennacchio. “These bonds will handcuff the state budget for many years to come, and taxpayers will be saddled with ever-growing tax obligations. This was uncalled for, and it demonstrates a lack of empathy for residents who continue to struggle with the effects of the pandemic and protracted state shutdown while paying some of the highest taxes in the nation.”

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New Jersey Senate Republicans

NJ Budget Brief: Governor Murphy’s Emergency Bond Plan

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The Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee — Senate Republican Budget Officer Steven Oroho (R-24), Senator Sam Thompson (R-12), Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), and Senator Michael Testa (R-1) — issued the following background brief today on the Murphy Administration’s pending closing on $4 billion of emergency bonds:

The Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations committee issued a background brief with concerns about Gov. Murphy’s pending closing on $4 billion of emergency bonds. (Pixabay)

  1. We initially were told the debt would be sold to the Federal Liquidity facility to keep interest rates low and allow for repayment at any time if State revenues came in stronger than anticipated. Now, however, the debt is being sold at market rates with inflexible terms that don’t allow early retirement.
  2. The Murphy Administration’s premise for selling this debt is that the State “lost” more than $4 billion in revenues as a result of COVID-19. That’s simply not true. The amount being issued is the difference between an overly optimistic 2021 revenue forecast issued in February at the height of the economic boom and a more recent and overly pessimistic 2021 revenue forecast that was issued after months of shutdown orders and before reopenings led to a quick rebound of revenue collections. That comparison is demonstrably flawed. For example, it includes an assumed drop in the sales tax against 2019 actual collections when, in fact, we are currently well ahead of even stronger 2020 collections by several percentage points. It also includes an assumed significant drop in the income tax, even though the financial markets have largely recovered to an all-time high and the higher-income individuals who generate the bulk of our income tax revenues have not been crushed by COVID-19, unlike lower income workers.
  3. The Murphy Administration originally claimed the borrowing was needed to address COVID needs but has since admitted that much of the debt is not necessary at all and will simply be parked in a growing “surplus” that won’t help a single nonprofit, business, or person suffering from the economic impact of COVID-19.
  4. Despite the Governor promising to pay down the debt quickly, the Offering Statement provided to investors indicates that the first payment on the debt will not be made until 2023.
  5. The Governor ignored reasonable alternatives to bonding, including:
    • Aggressively pursuing an end to New York’s unjust taxation of New Jersey residents who are working remotely from their homes in the Garden State and no longer commuting across the Hudson. Many of those workers would pay lower rates to New Jersey, while potentially generating billions in new State income tax revenues;
    • Achieving significant payroll savings by furloughing idle State employees who couldn’t work in March, April and May when the federal government would have paid 100% of their unemployment benefits equal to, or greater than, their regular wages;
    • Simply refraining from dramatic increases in State spending and not engaging in political pork spending for things like golf courses that are not critical needs. These items were quickly approved in a non-transparent budget process that provided little opportunity for legislators or the public to question unwise spending priorities;
    • More quickly and creatively opening the economy in a safe manner by utilizing $2.4 billion of federal CARES Act relief funds for their intended purpose of supporting struggling employers, including nonprofits and business. According to a recent report by the State Auditor, much of New Jersey’s federal block grant remains unspent, with plans by the Administration to dedicate hundreds of millions to support the salaries of current State employees; and
    • Seeking a true pay freeze for State employees instead of giving out 4% or greater pay increases.
  6. The Official Statement issued by the Governor fails to include a schedule of debt service payments or an indication of how much will be wasted on interest.
  7. In addition to this $4 billion of debt, the Governor is issuing another $1.5 billion of Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) debt next month to support a $600 million increase in TTF spending. That debt is irresponsibly structured to have a first principal payment in 2035 and a final payment in 2050. The structure will result in higher interest rates and taxpayer money being wasted on payments to banks and investors.

The Governor’s financial incompetence makes some of the alternatives above “water over the dam” — in the short term.  Still, the proposed surplus remains far larger than it needs to be — and much higher than is being acknowledged as a result of overly pessimistic revenue projections.  In short, Governor Murphy is issuing far more debt than is necessary or justified.

Republican Senators

Tom Kean

District 21 - Republican Leader

Kip Bateman

District 16

Chris Brown

District 2

Anthony M. Bucco

District 25

Gerald Cardinale

District 39

Kristin Corrado

District 40

Michael Doherty

District 23

Jim Holzapfel

District 10

Steven Oroho

District 24

Declan O'Scanlon

District 13

Joe Pennacchio

District 26

Robert Singer

District 30

Michael Testa

District 1

Samuel Thompson

District 12

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