Monmouth County Freeholder Candidate Larry Luttrell partying with a model and squinting like Frank Pallone in Atlantic City in February, 2013. facebook photo
If you’re a Monmouth County Democrat thinking about a career in government, working on Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo’s freeholder campaign could be hazardous to your ambitions.
Luttrell and Grillo told the Asbury Park Press that the fact that Freeholder Director Lillian Burry’s 2011 campaign treasurer, Bill Bucco, was given a raise and a promotion after three years in a county administrative job where he streamlined operations and found $200,000 in revenue due the county that was never collected is “politics at its worst.”
I must have missed their press release condemning Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto’s new job as a “consultant” with ties to South Jersey Democratic Boss George Norcross, which Preito somehow manages to do while collecting six figures from his three government jobs.
I’m not an expert on suicide and chances are neither are you –that’s okay. But if you read the news, or if you’ve logged onto Facebook, Instagram or Twitter recently, nearly everyone has something to say about suicide and actor Robin Williams’s death.
Be careful what you say and what you write, because it is likely that the person sleeping next to you; the guy that delivers your mail or the person sitting near you on the train has thought about suicide at least once before.
Nearly 1 in 20 people have thought about suicide. Suicidal thoughts are more common than we realize. What we say to our friends, family and colleagues and what we write about suicide on social media will certainly have an impact on those around us. Many are more vulnerable to past and current suicidal thoughts, because Robin William’s death has made their feelings of suicide very raw.
Being able to talk to someone about suicidal thoughts is very important. There are people specially trained to help those in need of someone to listen. Share this number on your social media, it is operational 24 hours a day, from everywhere in the country: 1-800-273-TALK
There is a stigma surrounding mental health issues that should not exist. That stigma is an impediment to people who should be seeking help but are reluctant to do so for fear of being judged by others. What you say about Robin Williams, you’re really saying about them. I’ve thought about suicide on more than one occasion, depression runs in my family and it is something that I wont be ashamed of.
By Gary Rich, Sr, Monmouth County Freeholder Deputy Director
Late last month, Governor Christie signed into law Assembly bill 3424, which extended the two percent cap on binding interest arbitration awards. I was present when Governor Christie inked his name to this bill, extending the cap through December 31, 2017.
The law which originally set the two percent cap was enacted back in 2010 when the Governor joined with legislative leaders to implement these important reforms to a segment of the government system that desperately needed revamping. Historically, it was a system that had often run amok, awarding benefits to the public unions in question without regard for the town or county’s ability to pay for such benefits.
The 2010 law was historic and vital—and temporary. The original law included a Sunset clause, which allowed the law and its terms to expire as of April 1, 2014 if no action was taken by the legislature to extend it.
Gov. Christie was absolutely correct in vetoing the Legislature’s magazine-limit bill, despite Sandy Hook-parent Hugo Rojas’ protestations to the contrary. The bill was not only trivial, but it was cynical to boot since it did nothing but regurgitate the long-standing agenda of gun control advocates in New Jersey without addressing what really was at the heart of the Newtown, CT tragedy: defenseless children and teachers left at the mercy of a deranged individual who should have been locked up.
If you want to solve problems, the first key is correctly identifying them, not trotting out tired, politically correct memes that pander to sentimentality. It’s obvious that a big problem at Sandy Hook – a problem lawmakers in New Jersey ignore and perpetuate today – is defenseless schools.
Another problem is the hands-off attitude taken by local and state officials and law enforcement against mentally ill people who, like Adam Lanza, have a long, documented and scary track record of violent behavior yet are allowed to walk the streets.
Ignoring the real problems in favor of political pandering is what the Legislature did with the magazine-limit bill. Gov. Christie was right to veto it, and Mr. Rojas’ is mistaken in his criticism.
This past week, the New Jersey state Senate and Assembly both passed the “Opportunity to Compete Act,” which prohibits businesses with more than 14 employees from asking applicants to check a box to indicate whether they have been convicted of a crime. Additionally, businesses would be prohibited from asking first-time interviewees if they’ve been convicted of a crime.
It has been reported that NJ Governor Chris Christie’s office worked with the legislators on the language of the bill; thus, Christie is expected to sign the bill into law.
New Jersey is already one of the least business-friendly states in the United States. According to the Tax Foundation’s 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index, NJ was the 2nd least business-friendly state – based on over 100 criteria – and ranked at the bottom in income taxes, corporate taxes, sales tax and property tax. And this ranking does not account for the Democrat-controlled legislature’s zeal to increase the “millionaire’s tax” that affects far more people making less than a million dollars a year than people making more than that.
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.”
Sen. Joe Kyrillos and Mayor Fred Rast greeting voters in Atlantic Highlands last year. photo by Art Gallagher
Several MMM readers have asked me to endorse of a U.S. Senate candidate to take on Senator Cory Booker. I can’t endorse, or vote for, any of the four candidates who are on the ballot this Tuesday.
I’m writing in Joe Kyrillos on Tuesday. If this post goes viral, Joe Kryillos could be the U.S. Senate Republican nominee on Tuesday night. That’s how bad the U.S. Senate primary campaign has been. Booker would then have a fight on his hands. Share this post.
None of the four candidates on the ballot can make Booker break a sweat this fall.
None of the candidates on the ballot have raised enough money for a county freeholder race, never mind a statewide race for U.S. Senate. Booker has spent over $12 million on his re-election bid since the first of the year. He had $2.9 million in cash on hand as of May 14.
State Senator Joe Kyrillos, the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate in 2012, has refunded more money to his federal donors this year that any of the current Republican candidates have raised.
Being governor is all about having options, settling on a course of action, marshaling legislative and public support, and then implementing it smoothly and effectively. From time to time, though, issues arise for which none of the available options…
How special that The Star-Ledger has all the time in the world to grill Sen. Cory Booker on his NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket picks and hold him accountable for his “gut thing” upset prediction of Stephen F. Austin over VCU. After all, didn’t New Jersey voters elect him to waste his time and their money this way?
Booker thinks his job consists of sending out marginally obscene Twitter messages, regaling Senate colleagues with how he drove to Hawaii and now gracing us with his round ball wisdom.
Maybe he’s bucking to win Warren Buffett’s $1 billion prize for the perfect March Madness bracket? Hope he wins – and then retires.
On issues facing the nation, he’s MIA. War or peace, Ukraine, excessive federal spending, the National Debt, the mass exodus of people from New Jersey because the place is too damned burdened with taxes to be affordable – where is he?
And how about answering questions that stem from the state comptroller’s scathing report on rampant corruption under his nose and on his watch while he was mayor of Newark? When will The Star-Ledger find time to grill him on that?
On them all he’s nowhere, that’s where. Care to ask him?
Scott St. Clair is the Communications Director for Murray Sabrin for U.S. Senate 2014
Forgotten among the latest round of finger-pointing and investigations regarding the use of Superstorm Sandy funds are displaced low and moderate-income homeowners and renters who need help. This immediate and pressing need, combined with resources available from communities like Marlboro Township, in the form of affordable housing trust funds, present a unique opportunity for regional cooperation. Now all we need is some action in Trenton.
The funds, collected from developer fees, now totaling at least $180 million state-wide (and which the State has been trying to take for its own budget problems), are to be used to meet the need for affordable housing under the Supreme Court’s Mt. Laurel rulings. Those cases decreed that every town has an obligation to provide for its region’s need for affordable housing. We have long argued that the doctrine should be meaningfully applied – let’s build the housing where the need is the greatest.
Yet to this day the planners in Trenton wrangle over rules to determine how towns must address their affordable housing, going on 15 years now, when it should be painfully obvious that the need for our community (and our region) is staring us in the face. Current state laws prohibit Marlboro from helping those communities who are in desperate need for housing assistance after Sandy. There is no mechanism for Marlboro to spend its trust funds for the benefit of, for example, Union Beach or the Highlands, because there are no rules that allow us to do so. We can’t fulfill a fundamental tenet of Mt. Laurel, and help our neighbors because the authority to do so isn’t there. And why not?