Photo courtesy of Geraldo.com. Used with permission
Had the late Senator Frank Lautenberg lived to complete his term, Geraldo Rivera might have been the Republican nominee to be New Jersey’s junior member of the United States Senate. Cory Booker would still be mayor of Newark and the two celebrities would have been engaged now in an expensive high profile race with national implications.
In early 2013, Rivera was very publicly exploring the possibility of running for Launtenberg’s seat. Booker had just declined to challenge Governor Chris Christie’s reelection bid and announced that he would run for Lautenberg’s seat. Booker’s announcement came before the ailing Lautenberg’s announcement that he would not seek another term.
Lautenberg’s June 2013 death and Christie’s call for an October Special Election to fill the seat scuttled the plans of the television and radio personality/journalist to enter politics on a national level. He was not able to rearrange his life or gain support of his family in the short time required to compete in an August GOP primary.
What might have been a high profile exciting battle between Rivera and Booker this fall is now reduced to bragging rights as to which man will raise more money for his respective Party in Monmouth County. Monmouth County Republican Chairman Shaun Golden will announce this afternoon that Rivera is the keynote speaker at the GOP Fundraising Gala on October 15 at the Navesink Country Club. Rivera’s office and Golden both confirmed that Geraldo is coming.
Jersey City Police Chief Robert Cowan has responded to his announced demotion by Mayor Steve Fulop by alleging that the mayor order traffic jams at Port Jersey and the Holland Tunnel. That Cowan objected and interfered is the reason he is being demoted, he says, according to reports in the Jersey Journal.
Fulop announced plans to sue the Port Authority of NY/NJ for $400 million. Cowan’s attorney said Fulop’s plan was “designed solely to create havoc for the Port Authority.”
Assemblywoman Amy Handlin
Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-Middletown) wants the joint legislative committee that is investigating the September 2013 George Washington Bridge lane closures to investigate the allegations against Fulop as well.
In a letter dated today to Senator Loretta Weinberg and Assemblyman John Wisniewski, Co-Chairs of the New Jersey Select Committee on Investigation,of which Handlin is a member, the assemblywoman asked that the committee immediately issue subpoenas to Fulop and Cowan
As you know, the mission of the New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation is to “investigate all aspects of the finances, operations, and management of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and any other matter raising concerns about abuse of government power or an attempt to conceal an abuse of government power including, but not limited to, the reassignment of access lanes in Fort Lee, New Jersey to the George Washington Bridge.”
Because the allegations against Mayor Fulop raise significant concerns about the repeated abuse of government power directly related to the Port Authority, I respectfully ask the committee to investigate this matter including the immediate issuance of subpoenas to Mayor Fulop and Chief Cowan.
Nobody ever felt sorry for a millionaire. At least that’s the principle some Democrats in Trenton are banking on as they resurrect former Gov. Jon Corzine’s “millionaires tax” to close the expected budget gap for fiscal 2015. Proponents of this tax increase promise it will hit only the wealthy, but in fact, poor and middle-class families will ultimately shoulder the burden.
Of course, the term “millionaires tax” is a misnomer. New Jersey already taxes the income of millionaires at one of the highest rates in the nation — higher than 44 other states do. The so-called millionaires tax is just an expired tax increase that raises New Jersey’s top tax rate to about 11 percent, the third-highest in the United States.
Proponents of the millionaires tax imagine that the only reason people could oppose this tax hike is that they’re worried New Jersey’s well-to-do will run low on caviar if it’s passed.
Actually, what we’re worried about is the impact on New Jersey’s working families.
As it turns out, millionaires don’t like paying high taxes any more than the rest of us do. But unlike most of us, they can easily move out of New Jersey to avoid new tax hikes. For many, changing their tax residence is as simple as spending a few more weeks a year at their vacation home in Florida. They can keep a house in New Jersey to spend time with the grandkids, live for six months and one day in the Florida home, and voilà, they are Florida residents who no longer owe a dime in New Jersey taxes. As a bonus, their children will escape paying New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation estate tax.
It’s little wonder that in 2010, the last year we had the old Corzine millionaires tax on the books, 88,000 individuals left New Jersey, taking with them a total annual income of $5.5 billion.
The millionaires tax could be more aptly named the “Goodbye New Jersey Tax.”
TRENTON — No one wants to be the politician who guts spending, raises taxes or reneges on a promise. But thanks to Gov. Chris Christie and a sluggish economic recovery in New Jersey, those are the choices facing Democratic leaders in the state Legislature…
Beck: “Hubris and Ego have no place in this recovery process. We have all made some mistakes. Now we need to fix them.”
Thomas P. Largey, 82, and Senate President Steve Sweeney talk in Largey’s gutted Sea Bright home prior to Sweeney’s press conference. May 30, 2014. Photo by Art Gallagher
Senate President Steve Sweeney held a politically charged press conference in a partially gutted Sea Bright home this morning, ostensibly to create political pressure on Republicans in the State Legislature to join Democrats in overriding Governor Chris Christie’s conditional veto of the Sandy Bill of Rights.
Sweeney’s comments sounded like a campaign rally against Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, Senator Jennifer Beck and Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, JR.
The “Sandy Bill of Rights” passed both houses of the State Legislature unanimously in March. Christie conditionally vetoed the bill earlier this month, making over 150 changes to it. Some of the changes were to bring the law into compliance with federal Housing and Urban Development regulations, others removed what Christie called “partisan language.” One of Christie changes removed the requirement on the State that applicants for RREM grants be able to access the status of their applications online.
Sweeney penned an OpEd published in The Asbury Park Presslast week wherein he appealed to Republican legislators who had unanimously voted for his bill “to do something they have yet to do under this (Christie) administration, and that’s to put aside their partisanship and override the governor’s veto.”
O’Scanlon responded with an OpEd of his own, wherein he said, “after further analysis we found a number of critical flaws that the Governor wisely and reasonably addresses in his conditional veto.”
Just as we predicted at the start of the year, Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik has started his tour of Democratic clubs and committees around the state, not running for governor.
The Star Ledger’sAuditor reports that Hornik spoke to the Warren County Democratic Committee last week, has met with several Democratic County Chairs and plans many other such meetings, not running for governor.
It’s not that Booker is invincible, as was widely thought prior to the Special Senate Election last October. He is beatable. Steve Lonegan exposed the fallacies of the Booker myth and Patrick Murray documented that Booker’s support is shallow. Had Washington Republicans not followed Senator Ted Cruz’s lead to shut down the government in October and had State Comptroller Matt Boxer released his audit of Newark’s City Government which exposed millions of wasted taxpayer money and management practices that encourage fraud in September instead of this week, Lonegan might have pulled off the upset that Booker deserved.
There’s nothing wrong with 4 of the 5 Republicans reported to be looking to challenge Booker. Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, Senator Minority Leader Tom Kean JR, Senator Mike Doherty or Assemblyman Jay Webber would all serve New Jersey well in the U.S. Senate.
That Darryl Isherwood included Assemblyman Chris Brown is his list of 5 Republican of potential candidates to challenge Booker is more of a reflection of Isherwood’s sense of humor than it is of Brown’s viability as a candidate for any office in the future. After blaming his Assembly running mate John Amodeo’s 39 vote loss on Governor Christie, Brown will be lottery winner lucky if he is even re-nominated for his Assembly seat in 2015. “What will Brown do after politics?” MMM asked a senior Republican strategist after the gaffe. “We’ll find out soon,” the strategist said with a laugh.
(Correction: As a commenter pointed out, Isherwood was referring to a different Assemblyman Chris Brown (the LD 8 Brown) than the one who blamed Christie for his running mate’s loss. My mistake makes my overall point. MMM readers are more informed than the average voter. How many knew there was even one Chris Brown in the Assembly prior to the LD 2 Brown’s gaffe? There isn’t a member of the legislature with the statewide name ID to compete with Booker~ Art)