TRENTON — National Geographic Traveler’s annual photo contest is open until June 30, but don’t submit that gorgeous Shore picture just yet. According to the rules, the contest bans entries from Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Cuba, Syria — and New…
Use, or cause or procure the use of, an animal or creature in any kind of sexual manner or initiate any kind of sexual contact with the animal or creature, including, but not limited to, sodomizing the animal or creature. As used in this paragraph, “sexual contact” means any contact between a person and an animal by penetration of the penis or a foreign object into the vagina or anus, contact between the mouth and genitalia, or by contact between the genitalia of one and the genitalia or anus of the other. This term does not include any medical procedure performed by a licensed veterinarian practicing veterinary medicine or an accepted animal husbandry practice.
Penalties for those convicted include fines up to $15,000 and imprisonment for as long as five years. Additionally, the bill directs the courts to impose Community Service for up to 30 day at a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or a municipality”s animal control program. Is that a good idea?
TRENTON — The New Jersey Senate today approved a package of bills that calls for state agencies and bi-state commissions, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, to buy products made in America. If approved by the Assembly as well…
A big development today in the bridge scandal investigation. A judge sided with two major figures in the case, tossing out the subpoenas against Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien and ruling against the select oversight committee that issued them. The committee…
TRENTON — A fight over renewing a law crucial to holding back an increase in property taxes is nowhere near resolved, a Republican lawmaker who has led the fight for retaining it said today. Although the Democrat-led Legislature last week began advancing…
It’s beginning to look like Governor Chris Christie’s Boulevard of Compromise is a dead end.
The 2% property tax cap is under attack, as the Trenton Democrats are on the verge of passing an “extension” of the Interest Arbitration Award Cap that eliminates the cap on most arbitration awards and increases the cap on the remainder of the potential awards by 50%.
In my piece last night about the Interest Arbitration Cap, I raised the hope that published reports that Assembly and Senate committees cleared an identical bill that guts the cap were inaccurate because Senator Mike Doherty was co-sponsor of the Senate bill and because of Senate President Steve Sweeney’s comments about the cap at his Town Hall Meeting in Keansburg last week. It turns out that was wishful thinking. MMM has learned the bills are identical and, inexplicably, Doherty is a primary sponsor of the Senate bill, giving Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto “bi-partisan” cover.
Doherty has yet to return our call for comment. We’ve been told his attitude about the bill he is sponsoring with Sweeney is “a bill that will pass is better than no bill.”
Doherty has a point, albeit a minor one. If no bill passes by April 1, there is no cap on Interest Arbitration awards at all. If the bill that cleared through committees yesterday passes the full legislature and is signed by Christie, there will be a 3% cap on a minority of municipal government labor contracts for the next few years. If Christie vetoes the bill, even conditionally, there is no arbitration cap. Either way the property tax blaze is about to be reignited and/or the pain inflicted upon municipalities will be so great that consolidations and mergers will be forced indelicately. The backdoor destruction of municipal governments appears to be Sweeney’s undeclared plan.
New Jersey property taxes will likely resume the double digit annual growth that occurred under the McGreevey, Codey and Corzine Administrations if Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto’s version of the of the Interest Arbitration extension becomes law. Either that, or municipal governments as we know them will cease to exist, succumbing to a long and painful death of higher crime and reduced services and capital improvements.
A 2% cap on interest arbitration awards in labor disputes was a key component of the 2% property tax cap negotiated between Governor Chris Christie, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Prieto’s predecessor, Sheila Oliver in 2010. It worked. Arbitrators made awards of less that 2% to police and fire fighters unions and property taxes rose less than 2% per year over the last four years.
The problem is Oliver insisted that the arbitration cap expire on April 1, 2014. Now, we’re a week before the arbitration cap expires and Prietro is gutting the cap by passing an extension of the law that exempts contracts that were awarded less than 2% during the last three years from any future caps and raises the cap to 3% on contracts that have not been negotiated since 2010.
The math will never work. If property taxes stay capped at 2% but the primary cost of property taxes, salaries, are not capped or are capped at 3%, municipal services will disappear. Police will be laid off, with the junior, lower paid officers being let go first, leaving the older and more highly paid officers to run drown the inevitable increase in crime. Towns will go bust. The state will take over municipal governments and force consolidations.
TRENTON — Seeking to end a legislative stalemate over open space preservation, state lawmakers today began to debate a new proposal that would divert about $150 million a year in business taxes to protect land and historic sites in New Jersey. With…
TRENTON — The state Assembly today passed a bill to ban the public release of mugshots of people who have been arrested in New Jersey, but have not yet been convicted. The bill (A3906), fast-tracked during the Legislature’s lame-duck session, passed…
Governor Chris Christie’s post-election attempt to replace Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr with Senator Kevin O’Toole was not a matter of Christie doing Senate President Steve Sweeney’s bidding, as has been widely perceived, but the culmination of a months long battle over differing strategies over how to wage the legislative campaign.
That Christie was unable to persuade Senate Republicans to dump Kean as their leader in favor of O’Toole was viewed by the media and political observers as a shocking act of defiance of the governor by the caucus viewed as obedient followers. But insiders say the united Republican front portrayed to the public masked an ongoing dispute between Kean’s and Christie’s political teams that resulted in Christie’s landslide reelection yielding no pick up of seats in the Senate.
Early on in the campaign, the Christie campaign concluded winning a majority in the State Senate, picking up 5 seats, was unlikely given the legislative map and the resources that South Jersey Democrats and their Independent Expenditure supporters were known to be deploying to defend their turf. Team Christie devised a strategy of winning a “functional majority,” by winning three Senate seats…District 14 (Middlesex and Mercer Counties) where former Senator Peter Inverso came out of retirement in an attempt to unseat Democrat Linda Greenstein, District 18 (Middlesex County), gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono’s district where East Brunswick Mayor David Stahl switched parties to run as a Republican against Assemblyman Peter Barnes, and District 38 (Bergen County) where businessman/educator Fernando Alonso was out to defeat Democratic Senator Bob Gordon…and courting policy friendly Democrats…Senators Brian Stack and Sandra Cunningham of Hudson County…to deliver the 20th and 21st votes for a majority when needed during Christie’s second term.