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Republicans perform better across New Jersey


Scott Garrett won by an even larger margin than last time

Republicans perform better across New Jersey

Geoff Mulvhill, Associated Press4:35 p.m. EST November 5, 2014

In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s election, some polls indicated that a couple of longtime New Jersey Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives may have been at risk for an upset.

In both the 2nd and 5th Districts, the Democratic challengers were running more sophisticated and expensive campaigns than hopefuls usually mount there. And in both cases, the incumbents said they were confident that they would withstand the challenges —though they dug deeper into their campaign coffers to do it.

Not only did Reps. Frank LoBiondo and Scott Garrett retain their seats, they did so by wider margins than two years ago.

That held true across the state. Republicans held onto all six New Jersey congressional seats they won in 2012 and did so by bigger victory margins as measured by percentage points.

Even in the 3rd District, where Democrats thought they had a realistic chance of gaining a seat as Republican Rep. Jon Runyan did not seek re-election, Republican Tom MacArthur not only defeated Democrat Aimee Belgard, but did so with a bigger percentage margin than Runyan had in his re-election last time.

Democrats also won six New Jersey districts. But according to preliminary data returns, they had closer margins than two years ago.

None of the vote counts are final, and two districts had enough precincts not reported by Wednesday afternoon that it was possible that the trend of improved GOP election performance would not ultimately hold everywhere in the state.

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Something stinks in New Jersey: Cory Booker and ‘Watershed-gate’


Something stinks in New Jersey: Cory Booker and ‘Watershed-gate’

By Roger Stone

Published October 29, 2014

Not long ago, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker was, according to some Democrats and media talking heads, Obama 2.0. The tall, photogenic Booker was going to be our next African-American president, we were told.

Booker bounded to the U.S. Senate in a special election after Gov. Chris Christie declined to appoint a Republican who would run for the seat, a stunning act of bad faith that conservatives should not forget in 2016.

Booker is Senator for the Facebook age. The Rhodes Scholar and Yale law grad spends more time in Washington, New York and Hollywood than in gritty Newark.

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New Jersey Rates Worst State for Business Taxes


New Jersey Rates Worst State for Business Taxes 

Ranking the Best and Worst States for Business Taxes

Annual release of the 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index

Washington, DC (Oct 28, 2014)—Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nevada rank among the best business tax climates, while companies in New Jersey, New York, and California struggle with the worst tax codes in the county, according to the newest edition of the Tax Foundation’s annual State Business Tax Climate Index.

The report’s key findings include:

The 10 most competitive states are: Wyoming (#1), South Dakota (#2), Nevada (#3), Alaska (#4), Florida (#5), Montana (#6), New Hampshire (#7), Indiana (#8), Utah (#9) and Texas (#10).
The 10 least competitive states are: New Jersey (#50), New York (#49), California (#48), Minnesota (#47), Vermont (#46), Rhode Island (#45), Ohio (#44), Wisconsin (#43), Connecticut (#42), and Iowa (#41).
The most notable ranking changes occurred in North Carolina, Nebraska, North Dakota, New York, Wisconsin, Maine, and Kansas (see state specific press releases for more details).

The report, now in its 11th edition, measures how well structured each state’s code is by analyzing over 100 tax variables in five different categories: corporate, individual income, sales, property, and unemployment insurance taxes. States are punished for overly complex, burdensome, and economically harmful tax codes, but are rewarded for transparent and neutral tax codes that do not distort business decisions. A state’s ranking can rise or fall significantly based not just on its own actions, but on the changes or reforms made by other states.

Since the last edition, many states have experienced ranking changes largely because of the fundamental reforms made in a handful of states. The most exciting change occurred in North Carolina which experienced the largest rank improvement in the study’s history, jumping from 44th to 16th place due to a fundamental overhaul of state’s tax code. Nebraska, North Dakota, New York, and Wisconsin also improved their tax codes. Conversely, Maine was the only state that saw a significant drop in rank this year due to its increased state sales tax rate.

“The federal government is gridlocked, but state policymakers on both sides of the aisle are enacting truly fundamental reforms,” said Tax Foundation Economist and Manager of State Projects Scott Drenkard.  “States are doing their part and it’s time that Washington steps up.”

The goal of the State Business Tax Climate Index is to start a conversation between taxpayers and policymakers about how their states fare against the rest of the country. This report helps answer the questions: How well is your tax code structured? How competitive is your state compared to the rest of the county? Are businesses in your state spending too much time complying with onerous tax provisions? Are you double taxing things you shouldn’t?

Full Report: 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index

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A Bell-ringer in New Jersey


A Bell-ringer in New Jersey
By George F. Will

Every 36 years, it seems, Jeff Bell disturbs New Jersey’s political order. In 1978, as a 34-year-old apostle of supply-side economics and a harbinger of the Reagan Revolution, he stunned the keepers of the conventional wisdom by defeating a four-term senator, Clifford Case, in the Republican primary. Bell, a Columbia University graduate who fought in Vietnam, lost to Bill Bradley in the 1978 general election, but in 1982 he went to Washington to help implement President Reagan’s economic policies that produced five quarters of above 7 percent growth and six years averaging 4.6 percent.

Bell, now 70, is back. He won the Republican nomination to run against Sen. Cory Booker, 45, the Democratic former mayor of Newark who last October won a special election to serve the last year of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s term.

New Jersey last voted Republican for president in 1988; in 2012, Barack Obama carried it by 18 points; it has not elected a Republican senator since 1972. Booker, who has raised more than $16 million, is a prodigy at siphoning money from Wall Street. Bell is running this year’s most penurious Senate campaign, having raised and pretty much spent about $300,000. And this is an expensive state: To reach New Jersey voters, candidates for statewide offices must buy New York and Philadelphia radio and television time, which Bell cannot do.

Yet Booker’s lead is only in the low double digits — 13 points in theRealClearPolitics average of polls. In eight Senate races (Delaware, Hawaii,New Mexico, Oregon, Illinois, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Virginia), Republicans are less competitive than Bell is. If Republican groups had given Bell the money they spent dragging Sen. Thad Cochran to re-nomination in Mississippi, Bell might be hot on Booker’s heels. He could still get there with a modest infusion of campaign contributions: Several polls have shown Booker’s support below 50 percent.

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Audrey Meyers, of The Valley Hospital the Highest Paid Non-Profit hospital CEO in New Jersey?


Audrey Meyers, of The Valley Hospital the Highest Paid Non-Profit hospital CEO in New Jersey?

From the article ; Medical millionaires: The compensation packages of hospital heads are drawing attention by Beth Fitzgerald , Among other notable 2012 paychecks for New Jersey hospital system CEOs:

Such salary figures are not limited to the heads of giant health care systems. NJBIZ found the leaders of other well-known hospitals around the state earned similar salaries in 2012.

Audrey Meyers, the CEO of The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, earned $2.18 million.

Michael Maron, the CEO of Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, was paid $1.83 million.

Barry S. Rabner, the CEO of Princeton Healthcare System, received $1.35 million.

John T. Gribbin, the CEO of CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, earned $1.2 million.

Gary S. Horan, the CEO of Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, was paid $1.19 million

Douglas Duchak, the former CEO of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, made $999,023.

The compensation comes at a time when the Affordable Care Act has the health care industry searching for ways to cut the ever-expanding cost of care.

Industry insiders will point to this idea as a reason for such salaries, saying these leaders are driving the search for such savings — and doing it at a time when some hospitals in the state are on the verge of bankruptcy and in danger of closing.

The salaries of the hospital heads are not unusual for CEOs in New Jersey. In fact, they are far below what others are earning.

The NJBIZ list of the highest-paid CEOs of public companies lists 25 making more than $7 million annually — and 45 making more than $3 million.

The difference, Berger said, is that these salaries were earned at public for-profit companies.

“I have no problem with people becoming millionaires if they’re not working for a tax-subsidized nonprofit,” he said.

Medical millionaires: The compensation packages of hospital heads are drawing attention

By Beth Fitzgerald
March 5, 2014 at 1:02 PM

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Fatal bear attack in West Milford preserve is first recorded in New Jersey in 150 years


Fatal bear attack in West Milford preserve is first recorded in New Jersey in 150 years

SEPTEMBER 22, 2014, 7:00 AM    LAST UPDATED: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2014, 10:15 PM

WEST MILFORD — Around the Apshawa Preserve, residents seal garbage containers, bring their dogs inside and scrub their barbecue grills clean, daily chores to ensure that ever-present bears keep their distance. 

But the fatal bear attack on a 22-year-old Rutgers student Sunday — the first recorded in more than 150 years, state officials say — came as a startling reminder of the dangers that can arise from the rare bear-human confrontation.

From left, West Milford Police Chief Tim Storbeck; DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese and Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik during Monday’s press conference.

Five friends had been hiking at the preserve in West Milford on Sunday afternoon when they scattered in fear upon realizing a black bear was following them, a move experts say put each individual at greater risk.

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Report: These Five States Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Hawaii Have Highest Liability Per Taxpayer


Report: These Five States Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Hawaii Have Highest Liability Per Taxpayer

Josh Siegel / @JoshDailySignal / August 31, 2014

Taxpayers in Alaska who enjoy keeping their money will be happy to see a new report that claims the country’s 49th state is best able to fund its obligations.

Residents of Connecticut may not feel as good.

The Truth in Accounting report ranks the states by “taxpayer burden,” a measure that represents the amount each taxpayer would have to pay his or her state’s treasury to fill its financial hole.

Truth in Accounting, a Chicago-based nonprofit, determined that the states with the highest taxpayer burden — deemed “Sinkhole States” — are, in descending order, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Hawaii.

The “Sinkhole States”

The states with the largest “taxpayer surplus” — called “Sunshine States” based on having assets available to pay their bills — are, from the top:  Alaska, North Dakota, Wyoming, Utah and South Dakota.

The “Sunshine States”

Taxpayer burden is calculated by determining each taxpayer’s share of state debt after setting aside capital-related debt and assets.  Remaining debt is primarily unpaid pension and retirement health promises.

In its fifth annual report, released this month, Truth in Accounting says states that have unfunded pension liabilities put a burden on future taxpayers, even though “they will not receive any services” from the retired employees who earn those pensions.

States with taxpayer surplus, on the other hand, fund pension costs during the year employees earn the benefits, and the money is set aside for that year.

Connecticut, which the report considers to be in the worst financial shape, has an overall budget shortfall of $61.4 billion, which breaks down to $48,100 per taxpayer.

Truth in Accounting reports that most of Connecticut’s retirement benefits have been promised but not funded.

A Connecticut law requires the legislature to pass a balanced budget. This likely explains why the state chose not to report its entire retirement benefit liability. The report says:

One of the reasons Connecticut is in this precarious financial position is state officials use antiquated budgeting and accounting rules to report Connecticut’s financial condition. Since employee retirement benefits are not immediately payable in cash, the related compensation costs have been ignored when calculating balanced budgets.

Alaska, reported to be in the best financial shape, has an overall budget surplus of $13.5 billion, which breaks down to $46,900 per taxpayer. The report says Alaska has enough money to pay state employees’ retirement benefits and other outstanding bills:

Alaska is in good financial shape because the legislators and governors have only promised citizens and employees what they can afford to deliver.

See how your fared state by reading the Truth in Accounting report.

The worst performing states

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Assemblyman Robert Auth offers and answer to open space issues in New Jersey


Saratoga Race Course.
Assemblyman Robert Auth offers and answer to open space issues in New Jersey

Assemblyman Robert Auth offers and answer to open space issues in New Jersey. New Jersey needs to reinvigorate its horse breeding industry in combination with a robust investment vis-a-vis tax credits to vineyards and New Jersey’s grape growers who currently make award winning Chardonnay. Additionally, our Garden State Farmers are capable of growing hops to expand our beer brewing industry. This is the perfect answer to open space, land preserved, jobs created, revenues produced…private dollars for public solutions.

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ISIS Flag flies in New Jersey


ISIS Flag flies in New Jersey 

How Would You React To A Neighbor Flying The ISIS Flag, Because It Just Happened Here In The U.S.

Aresident in Garwood, New Jersey is generating a firestorm of controversy for flying the flag of terror group – ISIS.

A photo of the flag was posted on social media by Twitter user, Marc Leibowitz:

According to our friends at the Washington Free Beacon, police reported the residents who were displaying the flag “voluntarily” took it down.

Here’s the thing: the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of speech. However, the oath of allegiance which is taken by all immigrants who become U.S. citizens says that they will protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies “foreign and domestic.” And ISIS even threatened to bring jihad to the White House.

In addition, an ISIS sympathizer in the United States who pledged allegiance to the terrorist group was recently detained at JFK without bail. Clearly, ISIS supporters and possibly even members of the group itself are here in the United States. As this is a national security issue, we can only hope that the proper steps are taken to prevent any threats from ISIS carrying out their plans.

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Heavy rain drenches parts of New Jersey but sun to return according to forecast


Heavy rain drenches parts of New Jersey but sun to return according to forecast

AUGUST 13, 2014, 7:48 AM    LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2014, 7:49 AM

Heavy rain that has soaked parts of New Jersey is starting to move away from the state, leaving behind street flooding and power outages.

Today will be cloudy with a chance of showers and highs near 86. Sunny skies with highs in the eighties can be expected throughout the rest of the week and into the weekend.

There are no reported delays on New Jersey Transit trains and buses or at the local airports.

Unofficial National Weather Service observations show nearly 9 inches of rain fell at Millville Airport in Cumberland County between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. There was more than 7 inches in Stafford, more than 5 inches at Atlantic City airport and in Manasquan, and more than 4 inches in Tabernacle.

There are 7,734 homes and businesses without electricity Wednesday. Most are in Monmouth and Morris counties.

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