Beck and Scanlon Reaching Out With Town Hall Meetings Of Ther Own

Seeking input from us taxpayers on alternatives for fixing the budget crisis

Read the article by clicking NJCommunity.blogspot right here

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Corzine & Lautenberg’s Toll hike opposition: “This has electoral consequences”

…said Brigid Harrison, a political scientist at Montclair State University. “The strength of the relationship between Corzine and Lautenberg was important. Now there’s this kind of one-upmanship. It’s surely going to be escalating.”

Article in today’s Ledger:

Lautenberg facing fury of a governor scorned

BY JOSH MARGOLIN AND DEBORAH HOWLETT

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s opposition to Gov. Jon Corzine’s highway toll plan has opened a rift between the two men that could affect the senator’s re-election bid.

The senator announced last week that he would not support Corzine’s call for higher tolls as part of a plan to restructure the state’s finances. The statement came after all three Republican candidates for Lautenberg’s seat came out against the toll plan.

Lautenberg’s announcement was a surprise and led one senior Corzine aide to tell top Democrats that the governor would retaliate by ceasing his fundraising efforts, and canceling a Manhattan fundraiser to be held next month at the home of a Corzine friend.

In an interview yesterday, Corzine declined to comment on the aide’s threat. Asked about Lautenberg’s opposition to the toll plan, the governor said: “I don’t agree with his judgment on this particular situation. We see it differently.”

The governor’s top political adviser, Tom Shea, said the governor “will continue to assist in (Lautenberg’s) fundraising efforts,” and added that the March fundraising gathering would still be held.

“But it is safe to say,” Shea said, “that it will be more difficult to raise money from the governor’s strongest supporters in light of (Lautenberg’s) statement on the governor’s plan.”

Lautenberg campaign manager Brendan Gill said the senator had no comment.

State Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney said Lautenberg’s announcement last week was not “helpful” to the governor, especially because the senator needs Corzine’s assistance in his campaign.

“It causes a problem if the governor doesn’t push people to help and donate,” Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said. “If his heart’s not in it, of course, it’s going to be a problem. Fundraising stinks to start with.”

Lautenberg, a four-term incumbent, is facing a potentially tough and expensive race this fall. Though no one in the GOP field is as well-known as Lautenberg, one of the Republicans, Anne Evans Estabrook, is a businesswoman whose personal wealth alone could make her a formidable challenger.

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I told you YOUR VOICE COUNTS, NJ Community; The Tide is turning against toll hike plan

Entire legislative GOP, Adler, Lautenberg announce opposition

BY DUNSTAN McNICHOL AND TOM FEENEY Star-Ledger Staff

Gov. Jon Corzine’s plan to cut state debt and fund transportation projects by sharply hiking tolls ran into deep political trouble yesterday, with every Republican in the Legislature and a key Democratic senator vowing to oppose it.

The flurry of announcements from legislative leaders came hours before the Democratic governor made his latest pitch directly to the people at a town hall meeting in Atlantic County, where a crowd of more than 750 gave him a mixed reception. It was the 10th such forum hosted by Corzine, who plans to visit all 21 counties.

Yesterday’s developments leave Corzine with little margin for error if he is to win approval of the toll- hike plan, which he calls critical to righting the state’s shaky finances.

He needs 21 votes to secure passage in the 40-member Senate. Without any GOP support — and with the opposition of Sen. John Adler (D-Camden) — the governor has no more than 22 votes, and even they are not assured.

Last night, Senate Democratic leaders conceded that the Corzine plan, as presented, will not have enough votes to pass.

That does not mean, however, the proposal is dead, Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex) said. Codey said he is confident the governor and lawmakers will reach a compromise that can win approval in the Senate.

“I would say that the issue of the toll hikes is far from decided,” Codey said. “We’re going to do fis cal restructuring, certainly, in some manner, and I expect a large por tion of the governor’s program to be enacted.”

Senate Majority Leader Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said there is a “willingness” among skeptical Democratic senators to negotiate with Corzine.

“He has to present something that’s somewhat of a change from where it is,” Sweeney said. “But I think that’s the process. I think he’s willing to make changes.”

Corzine has more breathing room in the Assembly, where Democrats hold a 48-32 edge.

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