TODAY IS YOUR LAST DAY TO REGISTER… HERE’S YOUR ELECTION RESOURCES

…unless your associated with ACORN: they have a “special” way of doing things…

Information and resources
Division of Elections (sign in to access your voter registration account)

Polling place Search Type in your address

Voter Registration Forms, by County

Poll worker Application Form

Other Dates:

October 14
Last Day to Register to Vote for the Upcoming General Election
(21 days before the General Election)
Last day to register for upcoming General Election.

N.J.S.A. 19:31-6

October 21
Filing of Appointments or Applications for Challengers
(Second Tuesday before General Election)
On or before this date, the appointment of or application for challengers shall be filed with the county board.

N.J.S.A. 19:7-3, N.J.S.A. 19:12-7

October 27
Voter Registry List – Certification and Transmission
(8 days prior to the General Election)
On or before this date, the commissioner of registration shall certify and transmit to the county clerk a complete list of all registered voters.

N.J.S.A. 19:31-18

VISIT THE CALENDAR HERE

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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

Republican Alternative Budget: A common-sense plan

BY TOM KEAN AND ALEX DeCROCE

Gov. Jon Corzine deserves credit for drawing a line in the sand and telling the members of his own party that, for the first time in six years, they must pass a state budget that reduces spending.

But Republicans in the Senate and General Assembly realize that New Jersey is enduring more than just a budget shortfall — it’s suffering from an affordability crisis.

Under the state Constitution, we have until June 30 to come up with a budget that addresses that crisis, not just patches over fiscal problems for one more year.

We need a budget that addresses affordability today. It’s become far more difficult to live in New Jersey because of rising fuel and food prices, a weakening economy that reduces incomes and, most important, some of the highest taxes in the nation.

During the last six years, state government has increased 101 state taxes and fees while freezing state aid to our municipalities and school districts, which resulted in dramatic property-tax increases, some in excess of 42 percent.

The combination of higher taxes, rising cost of living and a stagnant private-sector economy has led people to flee New Jersey for more affordable states. Those who left New Jersey took $7.9 billion in income with them — money that could have been reinvested in schools, bridges and other priorities that would have benefited our children.

The Republicans’ top priority in crafting an alternative to the governor’s budget was to make our state more affordable — to ensure that New Jersey families aren’t broken up by the exit of our children looking for jobs or senior citizens searching for homes they can afford on a fixed income.

This meant providing property- tax relief and boosting our economy so we can attract higher-paying jobs and dynamic new industries. We wanted to head off higher gas taxes or tolls that the Democrats say they may impose later this year. It’s time to restrain the urge to tax and do more to reduce the property-tax burden.

While the Corzine budget proposal reduces spending, it does so largely on the backs of the middle class. The governor’s budget cuts tax rebates, slashes municipal aid needed to keep property taxes in check, lowers funding for hospitals that provide charity care and reduces financial aid for outstanding college students.

We’d rather eliminate wasteful or unnecessary spending.

To fix the affordability crisis, we developed a long-term reform plan to put and keep our state on track. We looked at programs that were slated for huge increases in aid with no apparent justification.

When we dug deeper, we found these murky programs were full of waste, inefficiency and abuse — often documented by members of the governor’s own administration.

The programs were scaled back to find $1.32 billion in savings that could be spent on New Jerseyans’ priorities, not the State House’s.

We restored $525 million in property-tax relief. This includes $375 million that Gov. Corzine cut from the property-tax rebate program and $150 million in municipal aid cuts that would have resulted in dramatic property-tax increases. The cuts would have been borne only by people in small towns, regardless of the residents’ incomes.

We also proposed dedicating $500 million in permanent funding for state transportation projects, eliminating the need for any of the governor’s proposed toll or gas tax hikes.

Approximately $100 million will be set aside as a surplus or to pay down debt. The remaining $195 million will be used to help restore aid to vital programs the governor proposed cutting, including funding for hospitals and nursing homes, elimination of a proposed co-pay for Medicaid recipients, and restoration of higher education assistance programs for the most deserving scholars in the state.

We aimed to suggest cuts that were fair to everyone. The governor dismissed us out of hand. In doing so, he is putting his support behind programs that have been shown to be laden with pork for the politically connected.

We urge him to take another look. We’re ready to work with him and any member of the Legislature who thinks that an affordable New Jersey is more critical than reward ing the politically powerful.

We also urge the governor to champion our long-term reform proposals to make Trenton more accountable. They include caps on the growth of spending, voter approval of all debt and a two-thirds super-majority vote of the Legislature to raise taxes. We’d grant citizens the power to propose their own reforms through initiative and referendum.

We also propose reforms to bring state pensions and benefits more in line with those of the private sector. We take aim at the pension fraud and abuse reported over and over in the state’s newspapers.

Finally, we’d jump-start the economy and create jobs with an economic development plan that would make it far easier for businesses to get help and grow.

This common-sense strategy would make New Jersey more affordable and state government more accountable. We have listened to New Jerseyans. We think we have come up with a way to help citizens get more of what they want from government.

Learn more about our common-sense plan. And Sign The Petition. >

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean represents the 21st Legislative District. Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce represents the 26th Legislative District.

WEBBER: NEW JERSEY’S CITIZENS ALREADY ARE DROWNING IN TAXES, AND NOW DEMOCRATS WANT TO TAX THEIR WATER

Senate Environment Committee will discuss creating a new $150 million tax on water yesterday – May 7th, also known as NJ’s Tax Freedom day (the day we finally earn enough money to pay off our total tax bill.  I guess the Democrats don;t like May 7th).

I was wondering what I can be taxed on next…  Thank you Trenton!

Assemblyman Jay Webber, Chairman of the Taxpayer Protection Caucus in the Assembly, yesterday issued this statement on New Jersey’s Tax Freedom Day, the day when New Jerseyans finally have earned enough money to pay off their total tax bill for the year.  New Jersey’s Tax Freedom Day is the second worst — that is, latest — in the entire country.  But it was announced that the Senate Environment Committee will discuss creating a new $150 million tax on water.

Assemblyman Webber stated:  “On the day that New Jerseyans finally have paid for their share of government and can start working for their families, it is sad irony that Democrats start pushing their new water tax on households.  They already have made New Jersey unaffordable by taxing our homes, our work, our cars, our TVs, our phones, our cigarettes, our gas, our electricity, and our drinks, among other things.  Now they want to tax our water.  What will they tax next — our air?”

“This year, the average New Jerseyan already has spent 127 long days — well more than 4 months — working just to pay his or her total tax burden.  Crushing taxes are forcing our families, friends, and neighbors to flee to other states — and the only thing the Democrats can think to do is to find new burdens to heap on us,” said Assemblyman Webber.

“The commitment of the Taxpayer Protection Caucus is to make New Jersey more affordable by opposing any tax increases and  lightening the load on New Jersey’s already-overtaxed citizens.  We want our State to be a place where people want to live, not a place they need to leave,” stated Assemblyman Webber.

NJ Republicans call for eliminating public advocate

Republicans Wednesday proposed axing the state public advocate’s
department, claiming the move would save money amid tough budget times and eliminate an agency they contend simply duplicates services.

The department is charged with making government more responsive to the needs of New Jerseyans, especially vulnerable citizens.

But Sen. Steve Oroho said the agency’s duties seem to overlap with other state
departments.

“I would think we have 120 public advocates in what’s called the Legislature,” said
Oroho, R-Sussex. “I just think that there’s certainly duplication that shouldn’t be
there.”

But Public Advocate Ronald Chen, during a Wednesday Senate budget hearing, said his department is “unique,” especially watching out for utility rate payers, nursing home patients and those with mental illness and developmental disabilities.

“None of us are interested in reinventing wheels or duplicating effort,” Chen said.

Senate Budget Chairwoman Barbara Buono, D-Middlesex, who once worked for the department, said she would oppose any effort to eliminate it.

“I think that you’re vital for the more vulnerable people in our population,” Buono
told Chen.

The department was eliminated by Republicans when they controlled state government in 1994, but reinstated by now-majority Democrats in 2006.

Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s $33 billion budget plan proposes $2.7 billion in
cuts to try to fix state finances troubled by deficits and high debt and taxes.

He has proposed eliminating the agriculture, commerce and personnel departments, but has recently said the agriculture department would likely remain.

The call to eliminate the department comes after it released a report Tuesday that
found numerous problems with the way the state screens, remediates and follows up on lead poisoning cases.

But Republicans said eliminating the public advocate would save up to $10 million.

“Despite its name, the agency does almost nothing to actually serve the public
interest,” Republicans said in a statement. “It has no defined responsibilities and
duplicates functions that other agencies have or should perform.”

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.

New legislative ethics measures advance (they should also have courses on Integrity)

Pretty basic if you think about it.  Elected officials convicted of corruption should not be allowed to Lobby. NOW THAT is extraordinary – our officials actually coming up with something to pass. (but isn’t this the second time?)

New legislative ethics measures advance

TRENTON — Elected officials convicted of corruption would be prohibited from lobbying and an oft-criticized legislative ethics panel would be revamped under measures pushed ahead today by state lawmakers.

The legislation comes after four Democratic lawmakers were either indicted or arrested on federal corruption charges last year and a former Democratic senator was indicted on corruption charges this year.

“I think it’s important that legislators and people who are trying to influence the legislative process be held to the highest possible standard,” said Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts Jr., D-Camden, who is among Democratic and Republican legislative leaders sponsoring the proposed reforms.

The legislation was approved Monday by both the Assembly and Senate State Government committees. The measures could get full Assembly votes on Thursday.

One bill would disqualify any individual convicted of a first-, second-, or third-degree crime, including any former elected or appointed official convicted of a crime that touched upon their office, from registering as a lobbyist. Violators would face up to $10,000 in fines.

The ban would affect Anthony Impreveduto, a 17-year Hudson County Democratic assemblyman who pleaded guilty in 2004 to misusing campaign funds.

Impreveduto has been lobbying for the New Jersey Society of Independent Physical Therapists, according to the state Election Law Enforcement Commission.

He did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Another measure would remove lawmakers from the 16-member legislative ethics panel, which has chastised few legislators and been rife with partisan bickering, and replace them with an eight-member commission staffed by citizens.

The bill would also give the panel more authority to force lawmakers to disclose financial information and require each legislator to participate in annual ethics training.

Roberts said the legislation would make the ethics commission “truly an independent voice with unquestioned independence.”

“It is a committee that has really failed to do the job,” he said.

Lawmakers also pushed forward a new legislative ethics code that mainly incorporates existing state laws that, among other things, limit the gifts a legislator or family member may accept from lobbyists to $250 a year. A bid last session to bar legislators and their family members from accepting any gifts failed to pass.

A new provision would prohibit legislators from using their official title to endorse or advertise a for-profit venture.

Senate President Richard J. Codey, D-Essex, called the proposals “changes that the public has been clamoring for, changes that will prohibit conflicts of interest and create greater efficiency and oversight to investigate ethical complaints.”

Assembly lawmakers last week also advanced bills to bar anyone from participating in more than one taxpayer-paid health insurance plan and from taking campaign donations from aides.

Senate Republicans complained the proposals didn’t go far enough. They want, among other things, to bar legislators from seeking grants for their employers and tougher bans on campaign contributions from government contractors and county political parties.

“These are the issues New Jersey residents are clamoring to be resolved,” said Sen. Jennifer Beck, R-Monmouth.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. said Republicans will continue to press for stronger reforms.