Another slick move by our beloved Gov.: Advocacy group “Save our State NJ” pops up to support the Toll Hike fiasco… Guess who funded it??

TOWNHALL AT MARLBORO HIGH SCHOOL –

MONDAY FEB 4th 7PM!!!

The Courier Post online had an article about a New Advocacy Group called “Save our State NJ (coincidence – it’s in opposition to save our assets nj?). It’s registered as a 501(c)(4) organization.

In the article, spokesman Jennifer Godoski states “We are going to raise whatever it takes to get the message out to New Jerseyans about the crisis we are in and about the plan that is on the table”.

Wow – seems like a well informed convicted backer of the Corzine fiasco – oops – I mean Toll Hike plan.

So who is this Jennifer Godoski? THAT is a great question!

She’s listed as chief of staff to Kris Kolluri, Corzine’s commissioner of transportation and one of the chief proponents of the 800 percent toll tax. Before that, she was a spokeswoman for Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-Mercer.

So our slick Governor funds a 501(c) organization to push his agenda and have the spokeswoman plucked from one of his main backers.

Hey Govna’ – if this is a wise, honest, and convicting plan, what’s with all the slick maneuvers?

Any wonder why we believe you’re totally dishonest and not credible?

Good source of information found at our friends at inthelobby.net

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Hey Congressman Andrews… Welcome to your last term: “Congressman Andrews to endorse Corzine fiscal fix”

NJ Community: Keep Rep. Rob Andrews at the top of the “next to go” list.

Your voice DOES matter, and it’s heard loudest in the voting booth!

TRENTON — Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s bid to raise tolls to fix long-troubled state finances will get support today from a major fellow Democrat.

U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews will endorse Corzine’s proposal to boost highway tolls to pay state debt, fund transportation work and repair state finances, a Statehouse official told The Associated Press Sunday night. It will come at a Monday morning news conference in Bellmawr, said the official who is involved in the effort.

The official requested anonymity so as not to upstage the announcement by Corzine and the veteran Congressman.

Andrews will become the first major Democrat to endorse Corzine’s plan, which is designed to pay at least half of $32 billion in state debt and fund transportation projects for 75 years. Corzine also wants to limit future state spending and require voters to approve most state borrowing.

Various polls have shown about 60 percent of voters oppose the plan. But Corzine has received support from former Republican Congressman Bob Franks and an array of business, labor and education officials, including the Atlantic City casinos and executives from Verizon, Chubb, Schering Plough and Princeton University (e.g., friends).

Andrews, of Haddon Heights, has served in the House since 1990 and has won
re-election by significant margins.(NOT ANYMORE!!!)

He could not be reached for comment Sunday night.

Corzine wants to increase tolls 50 percent in 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022. Those
increases would include inflation adjustments and, after 2022, tolls would increase
every four years until 2085 to reflect inflation.

The Atlantic City Expressway, Garden State Parkway, New Jersey Turnpike and Route 440 would be affected.

His plan to limit future state spending to annual revenue growth and to require that voters approve state borrowing are meant to keep the state’s finances in good shape once half the debt is paid.

New Jersey is considered the nation’s fourth-most indebted state, and Corzine warns the debt will consume more of the budget and make it difficult to fund programs (…so don’t cut any of your programs Governor… just keep stiffing us taxpayers). He wants the Legislature to approve his plan by mid-March, though Democrats who control the Legislature have been hesitant to support it and have vowed to change it.

On Friday, Corzine’s administration announced most of the money designated for toll road improvements will go toward areas that would be hit hardest by the toll increases.

It’s a shame.. we just can’t trust anything this administration announces.

Five judges retiring after pay hike boosts pensions

Why not? If I had Corzine as a friend, I can retire too….

TRENTON — Because of the pay raise approved this month, retiring Superior Court judges can see their pensions boosted by $6,000 a year if they work one day this year.

Under pension rules, judges of the supreme, superior or tax courts who are fully vested in the system can collect 75 percent of their final salary. So when Gov. Jon S. Corzine and the Legislature increased their pay 5 percent from $149,000 to $157,000 this month, they also hiked veteran judges’ pensions from about $112,000 to $118,000.

At least five Superior Court judges have indicated they plan to retire by April 1 during the two weeks since the pay raise was approved by the Legislature. In recent years, about 22 judges have retired annually in New Jersey.

“I wasn’t hanging fire because I needed a certain number, it’s just that I knew it would go up,” retiring Superior Court Judge Paul T. Koenig Jr. said. “And why would I retire the first of October when I knew there was say a 50-50 chance that we might get another pay raise either January or July? That was the rumor. And I figured in my situation it was worth waiting to see what was going to happen.”

According to pension estimates, Koenig who is slated to retire Friday from his Mercer County post, will collect a pension of $112,569 — reduced from the maximum of $118,000 because of various benefit options he selected.

In addition to Koenig, whose decision has postponed the trial date of a whistle-blower suit against the Board of Public Utilities, four other judges have signaled they will retire by April 1: Joseph C. Visalli in Cape May County, Maryann Bielamowicz and Neil Shuster in Mercer County and John J. Harper in Morris County.

“It was a consideration, that didn’t put me over the top,” Visalli said of how the pay raise factored into his plan to retire April 1. “I like what I’m doing. I always liked it. I enjoyed doing it and it’s very hard to separate.”

The multiplying effect of pay raises on pensions is one of the reasons some Republicans protested the measure when it was approved last session.

“The way the law is written judges only have to stay for one day at the higher salary and their pension is based on the higher salary,” said Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow, R-Hunterdon, adding this remains “pretty much for the rest of their life.”

Koenig plans to spend the next phase of his life in Florida, where he owns a home and his wife has wintered for the past few years.

“My wife is retired and lives in Florida, and I figured it was time for me to spend more time there,” Koenig said.

Judges, county prosecutors, and county constitutional officers such as clerks and sheriffs were granted raises under a law signed by Gov. Jon S. Corzine Jan. 14, a week after both houses of the Legislature approved the bill.

This followed a separate raise granted judges last summer in the annual budget that raised pay for Superior Court judges from $141,000 to $149,000. That number increased under the new law to $157,000 and will rise to $165,000 next January.

The net effect is that top pensions for Superior Court judges will rise from $105,750 in 2007 to $123,750 next year — a 17 percent increase.

The pay raises were pushed by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, who argued the raises were needed to keep quality judges and give them pay in line with federal judges. The Senate voted 25-13 and the Assembly 51-26 for the raises.

“This increase is vital to ensuring the continued exceptional quality of our Judiciary and the retention of our experienced judges,” Corzine wrote in a statement when signing the law.

Gregory J. Volpe: gvolpe@gannett.com

Gov. Corzine, not yet happy with his level of spending, seeks $2.5 billion more

Folks; this was a bad idea having Corzine as Governor… this better be his one and only term!

TRENTON — Before Gov. Jon S. Corzine gets approval for his plan to halve state debt by hiking tolls and borrowing more money, he plans to begin a separate push to borrow at least $2.5 billion to fund school construction projects in the state’s poorest districts.

That plan was revealed in a letter released Wednesday as the state Supreme Court heard arguments from lawyers representing children in the so-called Abbott districts who want a court-ordered deadline for the governor to approve the $2.5 billion needed to restart dozens of projects that were delayed when it became apparent the construction fund was depleting.

“The bottom line for the children in this case, the plaintiffs, is not just the introduction of a bill. We’ve heard that before,” said David Sciarra, director of the Education Law Center, which brought the case. “… The bottom line is the actual provision of funds so that work can resume.”

Abbott advocates have been in court on this matter before. Last year, the state Supreme Court declined to impose a deadline because the state suggested the matter would be handled as part of the fiscal 2008 budget adopted last summer.

The Legislature passed a measures to reform the state Schools Construction Corp. and rename it the Schools Development Authority but allocated no funds.

“You said to us, “It’s going to be taken care of in the ’08 budget,”‘ Justice Virginia A. Long told the assistant attorney general representing the state. “… So again you certainly have to acknowledge there’s reason for them to be leery.”

Now, the state points out that Corzine has announced his financial restructuring plan, which calls for halving the state’s debt and funding 75 years of transportation projects by borrowing up to $38 billion to be repaid through large toll hikes.

With the plan targeted for approval this spring, Corzine plans to begin pushing a separate piece of legislation to borrow the $2.5 billion seen as a stop-gap for two more years worth of school construction projects.

The administration expects legislation to be introduced in February and signed by Corzine before the July 1 budget deadline but cannot vouch for the Legislature.

“That is what the administration can do,” assistant attorney general Robert Gilson said. “They are one branch of government. They have spoken as to what they will address in terms of their obligations.”

Gilson wrote to the court in a letter dated Tuesday that Corzine’s plan to borrow the $2.5 billion will strive to be repaid through existing taxes, meaning it wouldn’t have to be put before the voters, something Abbott advocates have feared after Corzine proposed requiring voter approval for borrowing without a dedicated funding source.

“Not that it gets around it,” said Scott Weiner, chief executive officer of the schools authority, “it’s consistent with his plan that voter approval is required in absence of an identified, dedicated source of funding.”

Corzine spokeswoman Lilo Stainton said via e-mail that funding will likely come from the income tax — a move Republicans are already questioning since that tax is dedicated to property tax relief.

Senators from both parties questioned more borrowing when the governor is pushing a controversial plan to cut state debt.

“We are in the trouble we are in now in New Jersey because we have borrowed and borrowed and borrowed without asking the people themselves for approval to borrow,” Sen. Leonard Lance, R-Hunterdon, said. “Almost 90 percent of our debt is based upon this type of borrowing.”

Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, also questioned the move.

“It sends a mixed message to the public,” said Sweeney. “It just sends the wrong message right now.”

Corzine chief of staff Bradley Abelow said it was an unusual situation.

“We’re responding to a court mandate where we must provide funding to construct facilities in a certain number of school districts,” Abelow said. “And that funding has run out.”