Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, the Republican Budget Officer in the Assembly and a representative of northern Monmouth County in the lower house of the legislature has taken some criticism here in the MMM comments and on facebook for not voting on the Transportation Trust Fund bill that was sprung on the Assembly by Speaker Vincent Prieto and Governor Chris Christie in the middle of the night on June 30. The bill, which would have increased the gas tax by $.23 per gallon and lowered the state sales tax from 7% to 6% passed in the Assembly and was never voted on by the Senate.
Now almost six weeks later with the TTF still not renewed and road projects stalled throughout the state, O’Scanlon said that he believes “even more strongly that my decision was exactly the right one.”
O’Scanlon issued the following statement to MMM to explain his decision not to vote on the Assembly TTF bill:
New Jersey voters will not get to vote on a constitutional amendment requiring specific payments to the underfunded public employee pension system in November. Despite, or perhaps because of, the NJEA’s threat to withhold campaign contributions to Democrats unless the state Senate voted to put the measure on the ballot, Senate President Steve Sweeney did not post the resolution for a vote and the deadline to make the ballot passed yesterday.
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, the Republican Budget Officer in the lower house and a representative of the 13th legislative district (northern Monmouth County) issued the following statement regarding New Jersey’s ongoing fiscal crisis:
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, the Republican Assembly Budget Officer, said today that no New Jersey legislator can responsibly vote on a bill to replenish the state’s Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) if a constitutional amendment requiring the state to make specified annual payments to state employees pensions funds is on the ballot this November.
“No legislator from either party can cast a responsible vote on any TTF plan until we know if the disastrously flawed Democrat constitutional amendment will be on the ballot. If the Senate Democrats irresponsibly vote to place the amendment on the ballot they are voting to put any TTF decision off until after November – at least.
O’Scanlon said that the constitutional amendment proposed by the Democratic majority has three fatal flaws:
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) outlines his plan to shore up New Jersey’s grossly underfunded public-employee pension system during a news conference held in the State House yesterday. Democratic leaders want the voters to decide this fall whether the state should make a series of hefty contributions to the underfunded public-employee pension system. But Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon… Read the rest of this entry »
A bi-partisan effort to explain the controversial pilot program for assessing Monmouth County properties, the Assessment Demonstration Program, is generating support for the program as one of the eight municipalities that opted out of the program has reenlisted and other towns are choosing to stay with the program that is reducing the amount of property tax appeals filed.
The biggest problem the program has faced is confusion between the alleged improprieties and conflicts of interests in the implementation of the program exposed by an Asbury Park Press series which instigated an investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the benefits and weaknesses of the program itself.
The Asbury Park Press editorial board recently took a position AGAINST setting speed limits based on engineering criteria and FOR setting limits based on the hunches of unqualified elected officials and bureaucrats. The position is so fundamentally flawed, so based on decades-old defunct myths, so devoid of any basis in actual fact, that it’s hard to decide where to begin.
My speed limit initiative is a simple one – set speed limits based on sound engineering criteria. I would remove uninformed or profit-motivated elected officials and bureaucrats from the process. Traffic laws shouldn’t be based on the random hunches of any of us. Setting any law by hunch only diminishes the public’s confidence in ALL laws. That’s not a way to enhance safety anywhere. Why should the public take a 25 mph school speed limit seriously when we randomly post such speed limits all over – including stretches of roadway that should be posted at 40? Don’t even get me started on the damage random limits have on the image of our police – who become the face of these arbitrary laws.
“Women’s Healthcare Options Open, Available and Accessible”
Photo Credit: Dave Lewis, LewisArtandPhoto.com
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) called out his colleague, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin (D- Newark) for continuing to perpetrate the myth that New Jersey short changes funding for women’s healthcare.
“I count at least seven line items where we put money to women’s healthcare, including $135 million for family health services to provide prenatal and perinatal care for expectant mothers and their children,” said O’Scanlon. “The results of the Republican investment in women’s healthcare speak for themselves. New Jersey is in the top five States with the lowest STD rates in the country. Other states look to New Jersey as a model for STD prevention.” O’Scanlon also pointed out that the Democrats have failed to provide any additional funding for Family Planning Services in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget they passed last June.”
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon is reminding New Jersey residents that the end of the Red Light Camera program, which occurred last December 16th, is one of the many things to celebrate this time of year.
“December 16 marks the one year anniversary of the termination of New Jersey’s failed experiment with for-profit traffic enforcement. It is a blessed day for New Jersey drivers who no longer have to fear having their pockets picked by the predatory, corrupt and dishonest companies who operated the systems.
We proved in New Jersey – where the systems showed no safety benefit but cost drivers tens of millions of dollars – that red light cameras are merely a way for camera operators to legally steal from drivers. If yellow lights are timed fairly there aren’t enough violators to even cover the systems’ costs – never mind generate profits for the municipal officials complicit in the scheme. Properly set yellow lights and properly engineered intersections also lead to genuine safety benefits – unlike completely ineffective red light and speed cameras.
“It is tragic that the best advice one might give an addict begging for treatment is to get arrested.”
By Declan O’Scanlon
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon
There are many issues and challenges we face as a society that are ripe for spirited political debate. Addiction isn’t one of them. Governor Christie’s position that we must treat addiction as something other than a crime is exactly correct. Addiction – whether you buy the disease designation or not – is for some people a virtually irresistible, destructive force that compels the addict’s cooperation in his own destruction. That concept can be a difficult one to reconcile for those who have had the good fortune not to have battled addiction – their own or a family member’s. Unfortunately, that pool of lucky people is dwindling as the heroin epidemic continues to voraciously march through our streets and schools. Alcohol, while not the substance of the moment, continues its incessant march.
There is room for debate about exactly what addiction is. Cancer is unquestionably a disease – seeming to have a mind of its own and an unrelenting mission no matter the intentions or actions of its victims. Addiction, in many ways, is much more complicated. It is a condition whose progression depends on the direct, intentional participation of the afflicted. The fact that the addicted are complicit in their own destruction is both frustrating and confusing for all involved. It is easy for caregivers and loved ones to be sympathetic to cancer victims. Addiction is as likely to elicit anger, blame and scorn as sympathy.
Last year, the New Jersey legislature voted on a measure that prohibited the infliction of “sexual orientation reparative therapy” on young individuals of our state. This is the frequently torturous “treatment” designed to turn the gay straight. Although I abstained on the vote because of a potential technical issue, I vocally supported the initiative. Recently, the debate on this issue has re-emerged as several high-profile national and local Republicans have discussed both this issue and homosexuality. Their words demand comment.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry, taking issue with policies prohibiting this “treatment,” justified his position last year by suggesting that homosexuality was simply a destructive lifestyle choice, which he went on to say was just like alcoholism. Perry managed to insult and infuriate the entire gay community along with every member of every family who has ever dealt with addiction issues – all at once. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon also vying for the Republican presidential nomination, suggested that being gay was a choice – as evidenced by supposed prison conversions. The most recent commentary came from Congressman Scott Garrett (R-5th District), who expressed a refusal to support gay candidates and said the Republican Party shouldn’t either.
These men each have a long list of substantial accomplishments and I bet I agree with them on most policy issues. But on the issues of homosexuality and addiction each of them has demonstrated a stunning level of closed-minded ignorance that – notwithstanding their apparent inability to genuinely embrace reality – most people of average intelligence would instinctively know to try to conceal.