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Republican lawmakers hail U.S. Supreme Court striking down mandatory union fees

Ridgewood Teachers

June 28,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Assembly sponsors of Right to Work legislation praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today that government workers cannot be required to pay union fees as a condition of working in public service.

“This decision restores free speech and freedom of association to every public school teacher and government worker across New Jersey,” said Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-Monmouth). “For far too long, unions have propped themselves up with money skimmed out of paychecks despite the workers’ objections.”

Handlin’s legislation (A183) would make New Jersey the twenty-ninth Right to Work state by allowing workers to decide whether to join a union. Assemblyman Robert Auth also sponsors the legislation.

After the top court’s decision, New Jersey’s 475,000 state and local public workers could opt out of their unions – taking money and political clout with them.

“This is a victory for rank-and-file teachers,” said Auth (R-Bergen). “Big unions have concentrated on procuring power and excessively paying its leadership while neglecting teachers in the classrooms. The NJEA’s executive director was paid $1.2 million thanks to dues as high as eleven-hundred dollars imposed on full-time teachers.”

Auth pointed to a Star-Ledger investigation that found the NJEA gave its top leadership a 42 percent pay raise in 2016. On average, the fourteen officers identified as NJEA leaders earned more than $530,000 — up from $379,000 the year before.

New Jersey is one of just 22 states where public employees can be forced to join and pay dues to a public union.


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Republicans reject $1.2 billion in new taxes for legislative budget during Assembly committee


June 20,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ,  Assembly Republicans on the budget committee unanimously rejected a competing legislative tax plan today that raises taxes by $1.2 billion dollars. Legislative Democrats swapped Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed millionaires tax and sales tax increase for a corporate tax hike and other tax increases.

“Legislative Democrats keep warning about how Murphy’s millionaires tax will drive high-earners and their businesses out but their plan taxes businesses at a much higher rate,” said Assemblyman John DiMaio (R-Warren), the Republican budget officer.

Under their plan, the top rate on corporations would jump from 9 percent to 13 percent. Murphy proposed raising the top income tax rate from 8.97 percent to 10.75 percent on income over $1 million.

“That is much more likely to make businesses move out, not the other way around,” concluded DiMaio. “Their own argument refutes their plan.”

The new rate would apply on corporations earning more than $25 million and would become the highest business tax in the nation. Businesses earning between $1 million and $25 million would also pay a slightly lower rate of 11.5 percent. That would only be exceeded by Iowa at 12 percent, which is in the process of lowering its top rate to 9.8 percent.

New Jersey currently has the sixth-highest corporate tax rate in the country, and has been rated the worst business tax climate for the past four years according to the Tax Foundation.

“Increasing corporate business taxes for even two years to what is already one of the highest rates in the nation will slow already lagging job growth,” added Nancy Munoz (R-Union), a member of the budget committee.

New Jersey has lost nearly 15,000 jobs since January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the labor force has decreased by 30,000 people.

“Democrats claim they want to help those who are struggling but they make it harder by increasing the cost of doing business,” continued Munoz. “When jobs are being lost, the poor get poorer and the middle-class shrinks.”

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HUGIN: Menendez Voted Over 90 Times to Hike Taxes

menednez_ridgewood trainstation_theridgewoodblog

file photo by Boyd Loving

“Senator Bob Menendez has never seen a tax he didn’t want to hike.”

April 19,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

UNION COUNTY NJ, Tax day is yet another reminder of the immense tax burden placed on hard-working New Jerseyans. For years, tax-and-spend politicians like Senator Bob Menendez have voted to increase taxes—including taxes on Social Security and Medicaid—with little regard for the already overtaxed citizens of New Jersey.

“In his 25 ineffective years in Washington, Senator Bob Menendez has never seen a tax he didn’t want to hike—voting over 90 times to increase taxes. New Jersey is 50 out 50—dead last—in money we get back from Washington as a percentage of tax dollars we send there, and tax day is just another unfortunate reminder to millions of hard-working New Jerseyans that Bob Menendez has failed to stand up for them,” said Hugin Communications Director Megan Piwowar.

“For too long, New Jerseyans have been underrepresented in Washington and overtaxed here at home, and we’re confident that on November 6th New Jersey voters will say enough is enough to Bob Menendez’s tax hikes by supporting former Marine and business leader Bob Hugin, a senator they can be proud of.”

Bob Hugin, a Marine Corps Veteran and business leader who has created thousands of New Jersey jobs, is seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate to challenge incumbent Democrat Senator Bob Menendez.

Voted to raise taxes on Medicare and Social Security recipients – 05/27/1993
Voted to raise the gas tax and delay cost of living adjustments for the military – 08/05/1993
Voted against Social Security tax relief and a child tax credit for working families – 04/05/1995
Voted against a child tax credit and against $31 billion in tax relief for college students – 06/26/1997
Voted against gas tax decreases and giving New Jersey more control over infrastructure funds – 04/01/1998
Voted against tax relief for self-employed individuals, for farmers, and for married couples – 09/26/1998
Voted against $778.5 billion in tax relief and protecting Social Security revenues from other uses – 03/25/1999
Voted against $792 billion in tax relief, against increasing Education Savings Account limits, and allowing self-employed individuals to deduct health insurance premiums – 07/22/1999
Voted against $792 billion in tax relief for individuals and families – 08/05/1999
Voted against $182 billion in tax relief for married couples – 02/10/2000
Voted against $46 billion in tax relief and allowing self-employed individuals to deduct the cost of their health insurance – 03/09/2000
Voted to increase Social Security taxes – 07/27/2000
Voted against middle class tax relief – 03/08/2001
Voted against tax relief for married families with children – 03/29/2001
Voted against $958 billion in tax relief – 05/16/2001
Voted against $1.35 trillion in tax relief – 05/26/2001
Voted against $159 billion in tax relief for individuals and small businesses – 10/24/2001
Voted against tax relief for individuals and small business, extending unemployment benefits for workers, and providing a refundable tax credit to purchase health insurance – 12/20/2001
Voted against tax relief and extending unemployment benefits for workers – 02/14/2002
Voted against making individual tax relief permanent – 04/18/2002
Voted against $350 billion in tax relief, an increase in the child tax credit, and $20 billion in new Medicaid funding – 05/23/2003
Voted against extending middle class tax relief for individuals and working families – 5/11/2006
Voted to raise taxes on small businesses – 12/24/09
Voted against payroll tax cuts for hard-working New Jerseyans – 12/01/2011

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Senator Doherty Slams Gov. Murphy’s Plan to Cut Property Tax Rebates by Half

Senator Mike Doherty

Governor Murphy Wants to Slash Homestead Benefit Program After Campaigning to Increase Rebates
March 31, 2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,Senator Michael Doherty said that Governor Phil Murphy’s budget proposal for 2019 is looking even worse as more details are revealed, including his plan to cut property tax rebates by more than 50 percent next year.

Sen. Mike Doherty slammed Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposal to cut property tax rebates by more than 50 percent next year. (
“It’s sickening that Governor Murphy wants to reduce property tax rebates further despite promising during his campaign to restore cuts imposed by Democrats in the current budget,” said Doherty (R-23). “With the highest property tax bills in the nation, New Jerseyans need more property tax relief, not less as Governor Murphy has proposed.”

According to the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget in Brief provided by the Murphy Administration (see page 18), the governor has chosen to perpetuate a 50 percent cut to the Homestead Benefit Program in the current year’s budget that was to be fully restored in 2019.

This proposal directly contradicts his campaign pledge of “restoring rebates to low-income, seniors and disabled residents.”

“Not only has Governor Murphy chosen to prevent the restoration of funding to rebates, which would have doubled this important form of property tax relief in 2019, he has proposed cutting another $12.5 million from the Homestead Benefit Program,” Doherty said. “It’s a gut punch to property taxpayers.”

Doherty said the Governor has a constitutional obligation to increase property tax relief, given a projected budget surplus of $800 million to $1.5 billion that’s tied to larger than expected income tax collections.
“The New Jersey Constitution requires income tax revenues collected by the State to be dedicated to property tax relief,” added Doherty. “The Governor is trying to cut Homestead rebates when he should be increasing them. It looks like Governor Murphy has some explaining to do to property taxpayers.”

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State Senator Corrado Accuses Acting Treasurer Muoio of Mishandling & Missing Money, During Her Time as Freeholder

elizabeth muoio treasurer

photo acting Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio’

Independent Auditor Was Unable to Determine What Happened to $33 Million in State & Federal Grants, Said $475,000 in County Funds “Unlocated”

March 23, 2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,Senator Kristin M. Corrado (R-40) said a new document provided by the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS) raises questions about financial irregularities that occurred during Acting Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio’s time in local government that will need to be answered at her confirmation hearing on Monday.

Sen. Kristin Corrado said that Acting Treasurer Muoio must answer questions at her confirmation hearing about missing and mishandled money during her time as a Mercer County Freeholder. (
“The Senate Judiciary Committee has a responsibility to carefully vet gubernatorial nominees to confirm that they’re qualified and fit for the office to which they’ve been appointed,” said Corrado, a member of the committee. “During our routine research into Acting Treasurer Muoio’s time as a Mercer County Freeholder, we were disturbed to learn that the county could not account for the receipt or appropriate use of $33 million of state and federal grants. Further, we were shocked to learn that hundreds of thousands of dollars went missing, which an independent auditor was unable to locate. Given Acting Treasurer Muoio’s indication to the Judiciary Committee that she worked ‘closely’ on budgets during her time in local office, we’d like to know if she can explain these financial discrepancies that occurred on her watch.”

The OLS memo includes a 2003 audit in which an independent auditor noted “an inability of management” at Mercer County at that time to reconcile accounts receivable, including nearly $22 million of grants authorized by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and more than $11.4 million from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The auditor noted that it was “unable to confirm these accounts receivable” or the assignment of grants to “specific projects approved” by the FAA, or, apparently, the NJDOT.
Corrado said these financial irregularities were concerning since the county’s property taxes increased by 86 percent during Muoio’s time working on the Mercer County budget.

“I’m concerned that during Acting Treasurer Muoio’s time managing Mercer County’s money, tens of millions in grants couldn’t be accounted for, nearly half-a-million dollars went missing, and county property tax bills skyrocketed,” added Corrado. “We need to know if she assumes responsibility for these irregularities, or if she overstated her involvement in managing the county’s fiscal affairs. These are questions that Acting Treasurer Muoio must be prepared to answer.”

Given the massive budget and tax increase proposal recently unveiled by the Murphy Administration, Corrado said it’s important for the Acting Treasurer to explain how her prior experience has prepared her for the responsibility of managing tens of billions of dollars of New Jersey taxpayers’ money.

“We must presume that Acting Treasurer Muoio helped to craft the Governor’s budget proposal, which includes the most spending in New Jersey history and a $1.7 billion tax increase,” Corrado concluded. “New Jersey taxpayers need assurances that the fiscal mismanagement that occurred during her watch in Mercer County won’t be repeated at the New Jersey Treasury.”

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Current School Funding Formula Inherently Unfair


March 24,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

River Vale NJ, assemblywomen Holly Schepisi comments on the unfair nature of the school funding formula, “If anyone ever wants to know why I fight so hard to revamp how we fund our schools in New Jersey and why I do not believe that the current formulas are fair, here is a glimpse into the school funding numbers for River Vale and Hoboken, New Jersey. River Vale is neither a “rich” nor a “poor” community but is representative of many of the communities comprising New Jersey. The average home assessment in River Vale is approximately $550,000 and pays $13,894 in property taxes with almost 70 percent ($9,725.80) of that amount going straight to school funding. In comparison the average assessed home in Hoboken is approximately $519,000 and pays $8,035 in property taxes with only 24 percent ($1,928) of that amount going to school funding. River Vale has 1202 students and receives $550,193 or $457.73 per student per year in State Aid for its schools. Hoboken has 1,872 students and receives $10,468,870 or $5,592.35 per student per year in State Aid for its schools. Hoboken has the highest median household income in Hudson County of $114,381 and the highest concentration of millionaires in that County. If we want to talk about parity and fairness, our State’s policies need a lot of work.”

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Bergenfield Mayor Norman Schmelz is running for Bergen County Executive

Norman for Bergen

March 5,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Bergenfield NJ, Bergenfield Mayor Norman Schmelz made it official on Sunday with his as promised announcement that he is running for Bergen County Executive. The announcement comes on the heels Steven Lonegan’s declaration of war with the Bergen GOP .

Over 150 people showed for event ,noticeable absent was embattle Bergen GOP Chair DiGaetano . In fact, no leaders from the current BCRO or Bergen County Republican Organization attended the event.

Only John McCann who is running for the GOP spot to face U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer put in an appearance. Steve Lonegan was at State Senator Gerald Cardinale’s birthday party , the Senator and his wife have endorsed Lonegan in his race against McCann to represent the GOP against Gotteimer.

(Photo above Jim Arakelian with Michael Homaychak, Norman Schmelz and Fernando Alonso.)

(John McCann)

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February 26,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Petitions for County Committee are available in the Village Clerk’s Office. County Committee members represent their political party in each voting district, and they vote at the convention for the County Officials. There are two County Committee members for the Democratic party and two County Committee members for the Republican party from each voting district, one male and one female. The candidates running for County Committee must run to represent the voting district in which they reside. The petitions must be signed by voters in the same voting district and be of the same political party as the candidates. County Committee members are voted on in the Primary Election. The deadline to submit completed County Committee petitions to the Village Clerk’s Office is April 2, 2018 at 4:00 P.M.

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Assemblywomen Threatened at Unemployment Office

Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi

February 13,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Hackensack NJ , Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi intervenes in a constituents unemployment claim is almost tossed from the building.

According to Schepisi’s Facebook post  , “Over the past two weeks I watched through social media the struggles of Monica Brinson as she attempts to have an unemployment claim fixed. Today I went to the unemployment office to see firsthand how it operates. I almost got physically removed for videotaping the attached but afterwards did get a comprehensive tour and analysis of the good, bad and ugly of these offices. First, the State needs to provide additional personnel. There is currently 1 employee working today in this office to service a county of almost 1 million people. They stopped handing out tickets to see people at number 7. That is right, for the entire day they will only be able to service 7 people. The group of people to the far right in the video against the wall are there to try to reach a live person at the Department of Labor. These are “dedicated phone lines” that are supposed to allow people to reach a human being but the minimum wait time on these phones is in excess of 1 1/2 hours. Many of the people I spoke to this morning wait outside in the cold for upwards of several hours because only 5 people at a time are generally allowed in the building. People will wait for 3-4 hours inside and then find out that they cannot be seen that day. We must find a better way to provide staffing.
On the upside I was provided with a comprehensive tour of the building, including the employment opportunities, the Bergen One-Stop Career Center and the available training programs. In a separate post I will provide some of the resources given to me today.
Finally I am glad that I did not need bail money today. The armed guard with the weapon on his side did tell me that if I continued to hand out my assembly business card to those seeking help that I would be physically removed from the premises. An exciting way to begin a Monday morning.”

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Lincoln’s Birthday


February 12,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog


Ridgewood NJ, Abraham Lincoln was born in Hardin County, Kentucky, on February 12 in 1809. He lived for a time in Indiana before moving to Illinois. He worked on a farm, split rails for fences, worked in a store, was a captain in the Black Hawk War, and worked as a lawyer. He married Mary Todd and together they had four boys, only one of whom lived to maturity.

Lincoln began his political career at the age of 23 in 1832 when he ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Illinois General Assembly, as a Whig Party member. He joined the newly formed Republican Party in 1854 and was nationally recognized during the 1858 debates with Stephen Douglas despite Douglas’ win in the race for US Senator. Lincoln won the presidency in 1860 and, despite being a Republican, rallied most of the northern Democrats to the Union case during the Civil War (1861-65).

Lincoln was known as the Great Emancipator, the Rail Splitter and Honest Abe. He was the president throughout the American Civil War and is known for his struggle to preserve the Union and the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC on Good Friday, April 14, 1865. The assassination occurred less than two weeks after the Confederacy surrendered at Appomattox Court House in 1865.

It has been recorded that Lincoln’s Birthday was first celebrated as a holiday in 1866, one year after his death. Many states have a joint holiday to honor both Lincoln and George Washington, sometimes calling it Presidents’ Day.