Christie’s Lead Is Vanishing At A Rate Of *AWESOME*

“Chris Christie’s bumbling gubernatorial campaign for the GOP nomination has gone from a 22 point lead (March 9th) down to a 9 point lead”

American Spectator
“Our Lead Is Vanishing At A Rate Of *AWESOME*”
By J. Peter Freire on 4.22.09 @ 4:53PM

On February 2nd, Steve Lonegan, former mayor of Bogota, was looking at numbers from Quinnipiac like this:

Christie: 44%
Lonegan: 17%

At that point, Chris Christie was asserting he had no ethics problems at all, and that if something smelled unethical, he wouldn’t do it. That, I said, was some Orwellian verve.

So little surprise comes that when we’re looking at the new numbers, Christie’s campaign can still claim: “We’re winning.”

Christie: 46%
Lonegan: 37%

Chris Christie’s bumbling gubernatorial campaign for the GOP nomination has gone from a 22 point lead (March 9th) down to a 9 point lead (April 21st).

The pollster writes:

“Christopher Christie’s lead over Steve Lonegan in the Republican primary shrinks as we shift from registered voters to likely voters. These Republican loyalists are less impressed by a political newcomer than a party veteran,” Richards said.

To which Christie’s campaign responds:

Chris Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien said that polls released this morning confirm that Christie remains the frontrunner not just in the gubernatorial primary, but for the general election.

“Two new polls continue to show encouraging news for Chris Christie. The bottom line is that I’d rather be Chris than any other candidate right now,” he said. “Chris has a substantial lead in both the primary and general election polls, a significant fundraising advantage in the primary and grassroots support in all corners of the state, as evidenced by him winning every single county convention.”

Okay. Christie does deserve congratulations for winning every single county convention. Except that happened in February, back when he was said to be the only viable candidate. Things have changed. The poll showing his lead cut in half is today. While I’m sure Bill Stepien is sincere in thinking that he’d “rather be Chris than any other candidate right now,” it does make me worry about Bill Stepien’s stock portfolio/NCAA brackets/horserace betting record. You’re supposed to look at change over time.

If we could revisit those poll numbers, the term “buzz saw” comes to mind.


Keep up with Steve’s campaign by regularly visiting www.lonegan.com where you will find all kinds of information, including Steve’s calendar. You may also follow Steve on Twitter or request to be one of Steve’s Facebook friends. There is also a great Steve Lonegan for NJ Governor Facebook Group not run by the campaign.

ON TO VICTORY,

THE LONEGAN TEAM

PS. Please help Steve by donating to his campaign. Due to matching funds, every dollar you donate becomes three dollars. A $25 donation becomes $75 and a $100 donation becomes $300! Click here to donate now.

Paid for by Lonegan for Governor, Inc.
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Alternative Budget Plan Presented By Republicans Goes Ignored By Trenton Majority

A note from Senator Beck, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon

As you may be aware, the New Jersey Legislature passed the State
budget last Monday.

An alternative budget plan presented by Republicans contained over $1
billion in spending cuts, funded transportation and contained none of
the backdoor tax increases in the Governors budget. Unfortunately,
that plan was once again ignored by the majority in Trenton. The
Governor’s budget might look good at first glance- after years of
Republicans calling for lower spending, the budget is about $600
million less than last year. But a closer review of the budget shows
that some of the “spending cuts” are actually tax increases in
disguise, and an opportunity to fund the state’s transportation needs
for the foreseeable future was missed.

Because of those backdoor tax increases and the failure to fund
transportation, we voted against the budget.

One of the “spending cuts” was a decrease in aid to municipalities. In
most cases, if your town gets less money from the state, then they’ll
have to raise your property taxes to make up the difference.

Another of the “spending cuts” was a reduction in the Homestead Rebate
for some and the elimination of it for others. Given that last year we
were told the program was sustainable for the foreseeable future, this
was particularly disappointing, and again, a tax increase for some.

The budget also included the extension of a $62 million energy tax
which was scheduled to expire. At a time when energy costs are
skyrocketing, allowing this tax to expire would have been welcome
relief for many, but it was extended.

When Republicans offered an alternative budget plan in May, a central
part of the plan was to dedicate over $500 million a year to fund the
Transportation Trust Fund, which pays for the major repairs to our
roadways and bridges. This would have eliminated the need for a gas
tax increase, a toll increase or any of the other costly and
controversial plans suggested by the Governor. Unfortunately, this
budget does nothing to address those needs, leaving an opening for the
Governor to bring his toll road scheme back from the dead.

The debate in Trenton has now changed from ‘Can we cut?’ to ‘Where can
we cut?’. That is a victory for all New Jersey taxpayers. There is
still much work to be done, however. The pension reforms we passed on
Monday were a step in the right direction, but not as strong as we
would have preferred. We still need to fund our transportation needs
without a massive toll or tax hike. We still need to monitor the
waste, fraud and abuse of tax dollars that sadly continues to this
day.

We will continue to be your voice in Trenton and fight for the reforms
which will stop the exodus of people from New Jersey.

Sincerely,

Senator Jennifer Beck

Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon

12th Legislative District

Tom Fitzsimmons
Communications Director
Legislative District 12

Senator Jennifer Beck
Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon

Trzeszkowski contract on hold; NJ to look at contracts of other school superintendents

By Gregory J. VolpeGANNETT STATE BUREAU

As part of the fallout over the nearly $741,000 buyout package for one outgoing schools superintendent, the state Department of Education will review contracts for schools chiefs in the 31 Abbott districts and has rejected one recently signed in Plainfield, Gov. Corzine announced Wednesday.

Corzine requested a review of superintendents’ contracts after it was reported that outgoing Keansburg Schools Superintendent Barbara A. Trzeszkowski was to receive nearly $741,000 in severance and unused sick and vacation time.

Keansburg Board of Education members said at their meeting Tuesday that her contract is on hold until a compromise deal can be reached. The state is seeking a court injunction to stop the payments that Corzine has called “an outrageous abuse.” The injunction was not filed Wednesday.

Trzeszkowski is set to collect $556,290 in severance pay — calculated by multiplying her monthly salary by the number of years she has worked for the district — and another $184,586 for unused sick and vacation days.

Those payments do not include Trzeszkowski’s state pension pay of $115,600 a year that she earned in 38 years in Keansburg.

Corzine had authorized seeking the court injunction because, he said, the deal seemed inappropriate when dollars for schools are scarce.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Corzine said state Education Commissioner Lucille Davy will review superintendent contracts for the state’s 31 poorest districts, which include Keansburg.

One of those contracts, set to begin July 1, has already been rejected after Union County Superintendent Carmen M. Centuolo learned that Plainfield signed a four-year pact with a new superintendent, Steven Gallon III, without submitting it for review.

“They did not follow the proper procedure in terms of the contract process,” Department of Education spokeswoman Kathryn Forsyth said. “It wasn’t sent to the county superintendent. There was no review.”

State Sen. Jennifer Beck, R-Monmouth, on Wednesday accused Corzine of sleeping at the fiscal switch in overseeing the state’s Abbott districts.

Citing the State Commission of Investigation’s 2006 report “Questionable and Hidden Compensation for Public School Administrators,” Beck said Corzine had failed to take any corrective action since then, adopting, she says, a “hands off” policy.

“Governor Corzine’s shameless posturing in regards to the Keansburg School Superintendent severance package is outrageous,” Beck said in a prepared statement.

Corzine said he was “troubled” by the Plainfield contract, although it remained unclear Wednesday night what exactly was wrong with the contract. A statement from the governor’s office mentioned “questionable provisions” that included travel, meals and lodging, relocation expenses, life insurance and sick leave.

The only specific examples that Forsyth could provide were that the contract didn’t include a recently enacted $15,000 cap on sick leave and included a provision for the board to pay for Gallon’s medical exam even if he chose his own doctor.

Gallon, an educator from Miami whose contract will pay him $198,000 in the first year, said he was reworking the contract so it complies with state law. He said he wasn’t notified that it was rejected Wednesday.

“I’m working with the board to make sure that we’re in compliance with all the provisions of state statute,” Gallon said. “We want to do that so we can get about the business of educating and uplifting the children of Plainfield.”

Taxpayers, school and local officials all facing choices of what to cut

Cuts in the school budget have taught parent Ed Kenmure one new aspect of the state’s growing deficit: how important it is to get involved.”I’m very concerned about the budget situation,” said Kenmure, 48, who has three children attending Brick schools and a 4-year-old daughter who will go to kindergarten next year. “I’ve become much more active.”

Kenmure’s youngest child, Isabella, will attend the Herbertsville Elementary School in the fall, not the Primary Learning Center, the district’s all-kindergarten school. The latter will shut down at the end of this school year, a victim of budget cuts.

Kindergartners next year will attend classes in Brick’s seven elementary schools.

The Primary Learning Center may have been a success educationally, but interim Superintendent Melindo A. Persi said that state education aid, which remained basically flat at $39 million for years, has forced the district to make cuts.

“It’s not a knock against the facility or the program,” Persi said. “We just can’t afford it anymore.”

The fiscal squeeze at Brick is also obvious elsewhere: The Howell school district is considering shutting an elementary school, and last year it cut after-school programs and some courtesy busing.

Brick has previously cut teaching positions, janitors, coaches and teachers’ aides.

“It was a great building, and a great program, but we can’t afford it anymore,” Kenmure said of the Primary Learning Center. “I’m sacrificing this for my daughter, and we all have to make sacrifices at this point.”

Now towns are caught in a similar spending vise: Gov. Corzine’s proposed budget for fiscal 2009 slashes $168 million in property tax relief aid for municipalities. Towns with populations under 5,000 will receive no property tax relief aid at all (but many still will receive other forms of municipal aid).

Toms River Council President Gregory P. McGuckin said the township lost nearly $800,000 in state aid, a 22 percent reduction from the prior year.

“To be honest with you, we’re still trying to digest it. We never expected it to be that high,” McGuckin said of the cut announced last week.

READ THE ENTIRE APP ARTICLE HERE

New Jersey by the Ugly Numbers Corzine Wants To Ignore

…by our friends at inthelobby.net

Have you ever wondered, just how did New Jersey get here?

How could a state as prosperous as ours get to the point of financial crisis that it is today?

Here are a few reasons:

10,000: The number of state employees who were hired by the state’s governors, both Republican and Democrat, between 2000 and 2006, a 17 percent gain even though the state’s population grew by only 4 percent, according to City Journal..

(Corzine brags that he’s cutting roughly 3,000 jobs wants to skip the fact that there’s still a net of +7,000 jobs over the past 6 years)

13,000: The number of full-time (or full-time equivalents) hired by agencies and authorities subsidized by state government but not directly controlled by the governor, in that same time frame.

Nearly 6 percent: The amount state spending increased a year from 2000 through 2008, nearly double the inflation rate.

33: The number of times ex-Gov. McGreevey raised taxes and fees in his short time in office.

$1.2 billion: The amount Gov. Corzine raised the sales tax in 2006.

Second-worst: New Jersey’s ranking for business-tax environment in the country, according to the Tax Foundation.

Third-worst: Managed state in the nation, according to Governing magazine.

9 percent: The amount then-Gov. DiFrancesco and the Legislature raised pensions for public employees, teachers and state lawmakers in 2001, according to the Asbury Park Press.

$5.2 billion: The amount the pension boost cost taxpayers.

Almost $8 billion: The expected cost of active and retired employee benefits, including pension and health care, in 2013, up from $2 billion this year.

Now how does Gov. Corzine’s budget and fiscal plan address these facts?

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again. New Jersey doesn’t have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem.

Jacking the tolls up by 800 percent, or raising the gas tax, will do nothing to change that.

Senator Jennifer Beck says Fox should not be leading the BPU

State Senate Judiciary Committee Member Furious Over Plan to Keep Jeanne Fox as President of the BPU

A member of the State Senate Judiciary Committee is strongly criticizing Governor Corzine’s decision to re-appoint Jeanne Fox to a new six year term as President of the Board of Public Utilities.

THE ARTICLE IS HERE IN OUR OTHER NJ COMMUNITY BLOG

Gov. Corzine’s Approval Ratings continue falling.

” Just one in four voters (25%) say the state is headed in the right direction, the lowest percentage since November 2005 just before Governor Jon Corzine’s was elected.” says Fairleigh Dickinson University-PublicMind pollster Peter Woolley.

ARTICLE CONTINUES HERE