Here’s our Brilliant Gov: NJ struggling- $33B debt, can’t pay transport. projects, struggling to keep state parks open, cut municipal aid, BUT… lets give $589K to Stemcyte to hire 7 more employees. Can we please just fire him NOW??

Also… did you know that New Jersey lawmakers and Corzine approved $270 million to build five stem cell research facilities in the state – money that they were somehow able to borrow without voter permission.

Very enlightening article by our friends at inthelobby.net

May 2, 2008

Our governor is a man who is committed to his causes.

He gave Democrats some $652,000 last year –nearly $563,000 to state Democrats and $89,000 to Democratic congressional candidates. In 2006, Corzine gave $869,000 to Democrats and party organizations. Since entering politics in 2000, he has donated more than $8 million to state and federal candidates.

He is a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton. (Except when he’s describing the scenarios by which he thinks she should drop out of the race.)

He gave $500,000 to Save Our State NJ, which is his public relations front group that was created to help him sell his 800 percent toll hike plan.

He sent $200,000 to a group that was promoting last year’s ill-fated bond issue to borrow $450 million to hire staff and fund research at the five stem cell research centers the governor hopes to build around the state.

All of these were done with his own money, which is fine. He can spend his money however he wishes, on whatever causes he wishes.

What’s not so fine is when state money somehow winds up funding his pet causes.

So there Corzine was Thursday, hailing the decision by StemCyte Inc., a California-based stem cell research firm to open a New Jersey office with five people, which they say may someday grow to 12 employees.

To help spur this job growth, the governor touted the fact that this firm would receive some $589,000 in state grants, through the Business Employment Incentive Program, which basically is a program that rewards companies that create jobs.

In other words, we’ll be paying this company about $80,000 a person every time they hire one of the seven new employees.

Probably a good chunk of the salaries the company will be paying these folks.

“It does seem questionable to be writing checks to companies that are going to hire 12 people when you’re cutting higher education and can’t pay for transportation,” said Jon Shure, president of New Jersey Policy Perspective.

Seriously.

Listen, this company may be a great investment. But when the state is struggling to find money to keep parks open, and is cutting homestead rebates, that $589,000 sure seems like an awful lot of money to be sending to one firm that is creating just 7 new jobs.

Especially when the state has lost about 10,000 jobs so far this year.

But we have another question.

We all know that our governor can be a bit, well, shall we say tone-deaf politically about causes and people he believes in. (Read Javier Inclan and 800 percent toll hikes.) That if he says something is on the up and up, then he thinks no one should doubt otherwise. That he doesn’t see conflicts of interest involving himself, because, in his mind, he apparently thinks he has no conflicts.

So, is it too cynical to ask whether the governor’s enthusiasm for stem cell research was one of the deciding factors in giving this company a grant?

Voters resoundingly rejected the stem cell research bond issue. From all accounts, the governor was severely disappointed in the defeat. And, apparently, in this case, he counting on the fact that he doesn’t think “No” really means “No.”
“I intend to revisit this issue,” Corzine said at Thursday’s press conference.
“We haven’t crossed that bridge yet. It is in an overall context that we have to look at where we are with regard to revenue growth and the comfort with which we can address additional debt. I don’t think that’s going to be so long.”
Hello?

Did we read that right?

Here he is, trying to soak us all for an 800 percent toll hike over 14 years because he said our debt is strangling us.

And yet, he can’t wait to go out and bond for another $450 million for stem cell research?

“…We have to look at where we are with regard to revenue growth and the comfort with which we can address additional debt. I don’t think that’s going to be so long.”

He doesn’t think that will be that long? But aren’t we supposedly more than $30 billion in debt? And isn’t the only debt reduction plan out there his 800 percent toll hike plan, which is supposed to be politically dead?

Read the rest RIGHT HERE

WSJ: Corzine Hits a Speed Bump

New Jersey isn’t usually considered exciting news. But it wouldn’t have hurt the national media to pay a bit more attention to what happened recently when Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine tried to sell the public on the largest borrowing scheme in American history.

Mr. Corzine’s motive was the looming disaster in the state’s public-employee retirement costs. As in other states, New Jersey politicians for years have promised government employees lavish retirement packages but failed to put aside money to fund them. The unfunded liabilities are far in excess of a trillion dollars nationally.

New Jersey faces one of the worst crises. The state pension plans cover not just state employees, but also teachers and law-enforcement personnel at the county and local levels. When the former CEO of Goldman Sachs was elected governor in 2005, he seemed uniquely qualified to address the problem, thanks to his grasp of finance.

Unfortunately, he also had a grasp of politics. And the politics of the Democratic Party require that benefits for public employees be expanded, not reduced. Ever since the New Deal, Democrats have embraced a trickle-down theory on public-employee benefits. The public employees get gold-plated benefits first, and this creates pressure on private employers to eventually match those benefits for their workers. As union leader Carla Katz told me, the Democrats embrace “the progressive theory that unless you create a substantial wage and benefits package that reflects good jobs and the ability to have a middle-class life style, there will be a perpetual race to the bottom.”

Ms. Katz is the New Jersey state president of Communications Workers of America, which represents thousands of state employees. She’s also the ex-girlfriend of the governor. Eyebrows were raised when her ex-squeeze addressed a Trenton, N.J., rally of about 10,000 public workers in 2006 and yelled, “We will fight for a fair contract!”

We? Apparently, no one told the governor he was in management. And at the time, management was being pressed to make the sort of changes that could have cut the pension burden, such as raising the retirement age and putting new hires into the public version of 401(k) plans.

Mr. Corzine rejected those reforms. That left him looking for money to make up unfunded liabilities of an estimated $25 billion for the pension fund and $58 billion for post-retirement medical benefits. Politicians in other states had sold their toll roads and gotten billions. And as toll roads go, New Jersey’s are among the busiest in the country. Mr. Corzine put up the idea of a sale as a trial balloon. The unions shot it down. But the governor came back with another trial balloon, this one based on a bond sale the size of the Hindenburg.

CLICK HERE to read the entire Wall Street Journal article

 

Corzine (Cosa Nostra) Toll Panel Is Rich with Special Interests

The Record – By Elisa Young

A 54-member panel chosen to “educate the public” about Governor Corzine’s financial restructuring plan contains a mix of administration loyalists and veteran Trenton insiders positioned for a piece of multibillion-dollar highway spending. (Here’s a link to the “Who’s Who” on the panel

Three of the members — including the chairman — are principals or affiliates of New Jersey’s top three lobbying firms. They represent engineers, raw-material industries, financial companies, resorts and utilities — all with potentially something to gain from a proposed $11 billion in road projects.

Ten of the appointees have some connection to Alliance for Action, a construction advocacy group that promises its 600 members “excellent opportunities to network with New Jersey’s public and private leaders.” Three other appointees — top executives with Verizon, Trump Entertainment and Public Service Electric and Gas Co. — have seen their businesses benefit from legislation Corzine has signed or initiatives he has endorsed.

READ THE REST HERE

CLICK HERE to our friends at Liberty and Prosperity to see what the gang of 54 look like

So Corzine… Time is up: Are you FOR US or AGAINST US?

Governor Corzine still loves his Toll Hike Scheme and will not let it die easily. During tomorrow’s state budget speech, he must make it look like the best alternative so beware the drastic budget cut recommendations he proposes. He likely paid a good consulting fee to the speech-writer (the same one that gave us “flying pigs”) because this is do-or-die for his scheme (we all know it’s all but dead).

However… did the Governor finally hear us, and is he ready to do the right thing?

READ THE REST HERE

As if we weren’t already ticked off about Corzine’s Toll Hike Scheme, wait till you read about the $500k a month he’s still spending on it…

Yep – that’s right! Our Jersey Republicans recently unearthed that our beloved Financial Genius of a Governor has spent $4 million on legal fees to firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meager and Flem (I mean Flom) – likely another member of the Corzine Cosa Nostra).

READ THE REST

Public Benefit Corp: The Few, the Privileged, the “Corzine Cosa Nostra”

Is there any way on this planet that this governor has credibility? NO

Is there any reason to believe that there’s no shenanigans going on here? NO

Is there any reason to think that this governor has our best interest in mind when creating this piggy bank for “the few, the privileged, the Corzine Cosa Nostra”?  Again: NO

Do you trust him? NO

Will you vote for him should he attempt to ever run for any office again? NO

Will you vote for any legislator that goes along with him? ABSOLUTELY NO

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This is in today’s App: (highlights and comments are my own)

Gov. Corzine would bar the public from examining the inner workings of the toll-road corporation that he wants to create to raise $32 billion, even though it would employ thousands and spend billions of dollars, according to his proposed bill.

Under Corzine’s draft legislation for the toll-road monetization plan, the proposed Public Benefit Corp., which would operate more than 334 miles of state roadways and could increase tolls by as much as 800 percent in the next 14 years, would not be subject to the state’s Open Public Records Act. By failing to put the PBC under the open records law, it would omit from public scrutiny broad swaths of records from an organization that would have an initial toll revenue of about $900 million.

Not opening the PBC up to full public inspection would be “unconscionable,” said state Sen. Jennifer Beck, R-Monmouth, who opposes the monetization plan.

“I’m stunned. This entity would be in control of a significant public asset, and controlling multiple billions of dollars, and billions of billions over the next 99 years,” Beck said. “To me, it must be subject to (the Open Public Records Act), so there is transparency for the citizens.”

Under Corzine’s plan, the state would lease its three toll roads to the nonprofit corporation for up to 75 years, with a 24-year optional extension.

In exchange, and through a complex bond deal, the state would receive $32 billion to $38 billion that would be used to help the state cut its debt and provide more money for transportation needs, according to the plan.

The plan has generated strong opposition in public opinion polls and from all Republican members of the Legislature. U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., and state Sen. John Adler, a Democrat running for Congress, also oppose the toll-hike plan.

Corzine, a Democrat, wants the Legislature, controlled by his party, to approve the plan this spring. The agency would control the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and Atlantic City Expressway.

The Open Public Records Act, or OPRA, was signed into law in 2001 following a campaign by Gannett New Jersey newspapers and other open government advocates to allow easy access to such routine documents as payroll lists and bills. Until the law was adopted, many agencies withheld such records from the public.

“The PBC is being formed under nonprofit law and would be treated as a conventional nonprofit, none of whom are subject to OPRA,” Tom Vincz, spokesman for the state Department of Treasury, said in an e-mail response to questions from Gannett.

He did not respond to questions about why the PBC would not be covered by OPRA, or if payrolls, bills and other items commonly accessible under the law would be available in the future.

Nonprofit organizations must provide limited public financial disclosure, such as the salaries of the top five employees and basic budget data, to the Internal Revenue Service once a year.

Under Corzine’s proposal, the PBC would have to produce reports to its oversight agency, including annual budgets, capital expansion and maintenance programs. Such documents would then be public under the public access law.

Vincz said that the PBC’s operating contract would also “create a long series of other reporting including maintenance reports and traffic data,” that would become public records once the oversight agency obtained them.

Under the bill, the PBC would be required to conduct independent audits of its financial statements, Vincz wrote.

Elizabeth Mason, president of the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government, said to excluded the PBC from the records law is the opposite of what the state should be doing.

“What is the rationale for the government to do this? What is the rationale for the government to hide this information from the public?” she asked.

(I keep saying it over, and over again… it’s called THE CORZINE COSA NOSTRA – that’s the reason)

Thomas J. Cafferty, general counsel for the New Jersey Press Association, a newspaper trade group, said that neither he nor the association has finished reviewing the proposed legislation.

But he said that just because the bill does not require the PBC to fall under OPRA doesn’t mean that the proposed bill can’t be changed in the Legislature. The courts could also require the PBC to disclose its records, “given the extent of the public involvement in this entity,” he said.

CARE TO COMMENT? Visit our Web site, www.app.com, and click on this story to join in the online conversation about this topic in Story Chat.

James W. Prado Roberts: (732) 643-4223; or jwr@app.com

No more tolls, give civil and criminal penalties to political insiders.

Reprinted from February 6, 2008 Current Newspapers of Atlantic CountyBy Seth Grossman, Political Columnist

  “Like it or not, we owe contracts.   We owe obligations to people as we go forward.   One thing I’m not going to do is I’m not going to break contracts.   We signed the contracts and we have an obligation to live up to them”.   Governor Jon Corzine at “Town Hall” Meeting in Toms River, New Jersey on February 2, 2008.
    This is the big lie of Governor Jon Corzine’s scheme to increase New Jersey’s debt from $113 billion (3.5 times what the state collects in taxes each year) to $148 billion (4.6 times current annual tax collections).   Corzine calls his plan “the best of all possible options”.   And for NJ politicians, it is.   Most toll hikes will be paid by people who can’t vote in the next election – out-of-state motorists, our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  
    But Corzine is wrong.   New Jersey citizens today have no legal, moral, or practical obligation to honor big chunks of that $113 billion debt.

    Article 8, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the New Jersey Constitution bars state government from incurring any “debts” or “liabilities” that cannot be repaid within the “fiscal year”, unless approved by vote of the people.  
    Governor Corzine admits that NJ voters approved only $3 billion (less than one percent) of the $113 billion of state “debts” and “liabilities” he wants us to “live up to”.

    In 2003, Republican Mayor of Bogota, Steve Lonegan asked the NJ Supreme Court to stop the state from borrowing roughly $27 billion without a public vote.
    The state set up the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority, the NJ Educational Facilities Authority, the NJ Economic Development Authority, and the NJ Transportation Trust Fund Authority as dummy agencies to borrow the money.
    Since these agencies had no money to repay the loans, Republican Governor Whitman and Democrat Governor McGreevey made 30-year contracts to give them the taxpayer money they needed.

    Corzine says this was wrong, and now wants to close that loophole with a constitutional amendment.   But the NJ Supreme Court did that in Steve Lonegan’s 2003 case when it ruled:  
     “(O)nly debt that is legally enforceable against the State is
subject to the Debt Limitation Clause (requiring a vote of the people). . . When contracts or appropriations-backed debt is issued, however, the State does not pledge its full faith and credit, and is not legally bound to make payment on that debt”.

    Our Supreme Court said the same thing when the state made “leases” with these authorities.
    “As with other types of appropriations-backed debt, the State is not legally bound to make the rental payments, and can opt not to do so”.

    Last December, while Governor Corzine was putting the finishing touches on his toll hike plan, the NJ Educational Facilities Authority borrowed $40.25 million more “contract” debt–again without voter approval.
    Each of its new “Revenue Bonds, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Issue, Series 2007G” contain the following words in bold, capital letters:

    “THE SERIES 2007 G BONDS ARE SPECIAL AND LIMITED OBLIGATIONS OF THE AUTHORITY, AND ARE NOT A DEBT OR LIABILITY OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, OR ANY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION THEREOF, OTHER THAN THE AUTHORITY (TO THE LIMITED EXTENT SET FORTH IN THE TRUST INDENTURE). . . “
    These bonds have higher risk, and probably yield higher interest.   The bond insurance companies should charge higher premiums for that risk.   We have no legal obligation to repay that money.  

    We also have no moral obligation to pay that money.   Our NJ Constitution was designed to stop today’s politicians from putting future generations into debt.
    But won’t we pay a high price, if we let those bonds default?   As a lawyer who helped private clients with debt problems for 33 years, I don’t think so.   We will pay some extra interest in future borrowings.   But that will be peanuts compared to paying back $27 billion with interest for the next 77 years!

    If we stiff those who sought to profit from end runs around our NJ Constitution, we get this added bonus.   The political insiders who set up these deals will probably face civil, if not criminal actions.   Never again will our politicians borrow money without voter approval!   Is this why Governor Corzine and his Wall Street friends are fighting so hard to make us repay this debt?   (Copies of all documents referred to above can be found at http://www.libertyandprosperity.org.)
For more information, visit http://www.libertyandprosperity.org or contact Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman at seth@dandy.net or 609-927-7333.   Seth Grossman hosts a two way talk radio program on 1020AM, www.wibg.com, Mondays-Fridays from 3PM to 5PM, and breakfast discussion groups every Saturday at 8AM at Bayshores II Restaurant, 710 Bay  Avenue in Somers Point.   Dinner Meeting  Monday,  February 11, at 7PM at Athena Diner Northfield.
http://www.libertyandprosperity.org,
453 Shore Road, Somers Point, NJ  08244.