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Sweeney: Outward Migration Study Underscores Need for Fiscal and Governmental Reforms

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

TRENTON NJ,  A new study showing that more residents moved out of New Jersey than any other state underscores the need for fiscal reforms that will make the state more affordable and allow for the types of investments that will retain and attract workers and their families, said Senate President Steve Sweeney.

Senator Sweeney noted that the United Van Lines 42nd Annual National Movers Study, which tracks state-to-state migration patterns, found that there were twice as many outbound moves from New Jersey as inbound moves. New Jersey’s outbound relocation percentage of 67 percent was the highest in the nation in 2018. The findings in the relocation report are consistent with recent migration patterns driven by such factors as cost of living, job growth, state budgetary challenges and the appeal of a warmer climate, according to a top public policy economist at UCLA.

“We can’t do much about the weather, but we have the ability to make the reforms needed to address deeply rooted state fiscal problems, to help make New Jersey more affordable, and to make the investments needed to foster job retention and long-term economic expansion,” said Senator Sweeney, referring to the Path to Progress report issued by the bipartisan, blue-ribbon Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup.

“We need to make New Jersey a place where current residents choose to stay, where young people can have a future, and where businesses and people from other states want to move to,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “If we don’t make the structural reforms needed to fix our state finances, pension and health benefit costs will continue to grow and consume all of our revenue growth. Because of this, we won’t have the resources we need to support education and job training programs, to improve our infrastructure and to invest in the development of new technologies that are critical to economic growth.”

Senator Sweeney also took note of the just-released WARN notices showing that more than 11,000 workers at 55 companies in New Jersey were issued layoff notices in 2018. The figures, compiled by the state Department of Labor under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, signal that their jobs are in jeopardy.

“These WARN notifications are bad news for the jobholders and serve as a warning sign for the state’s economic well-being,” said Senator Sweeney. “They serve as an advance notice of potential large-scale layoffs and they cut across a broad sector of businesses, including retailers, healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry. It is something to take seriously.”

The WARN notices: https://www.nj.com/expo/news/g66l-2019/01/264e6e33683789/these-55-companies-issued-11k.html.

The Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup was co-chaired by Senate Budget Chair Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), Senate Republican Budget Officer Steve Oroho (R-Sussex) and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D–Camden). The panel met for more than six months and produced a series of recommendations designed to fix the underfunded pension system, reduce healthcare costs, improve education and expand shared services to hold down property taxes.

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Senate President Steve Sweeney : Tax Increases Not Part of the Solution for New Jersey

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the stff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ,  Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement today in response to Governor Murphy’s stated attitude on tax increases:

“There is a path forward for New Jersey that fixes fiscal problems and restores economic growth but tax increases are not part of the solution. Until we make the desperately-needed structural reforms to government spending and fiscal practices, we will not consider tax increases. Ignoring the need for fiscal reforms will only allow the deeply-rooted financial practices that have plagued the state for too long to continue and become worse. Left unaddressed, we won’t have the resources or the ability to address the needs of the people of New Jersey or invest in the programs and services that can expand economic opportunities. Period, full stop.

“I am fully committed to making the reforms needed to produce real and lasting progress on the state’s fiscal practices and economic conditions. Period, full stop.”

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Senate Republicans Urge Sponsors to Table “Undemocratic” Constitutional Amendment on Redistricting

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, The fifteen members of the Senate Republican caucus sent a letter today urging the sponsors of a proposed amendment to the New Jersey Constitution to table the proposal, saying it is clearly designed to impart a permanent electoral advantage to incumbents and legislative candidates from the Democratic Party.

Senate Republicans urged the sponsors of a proposed constitutional amendment to table the proposal, saying it is clearly designed to impart a permanent electoral advantage to incumbents and legislative candidates from the Democratic Party. (SenateNJ.com)

Continue reading Senate Republicans Urge Sponsors to Table “Undemocratic” Constitutional Amendment on Redistricting

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NJEA Flexes Its Muscles, Takes on Sweeney

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file photo Senate President Stephen Sweeney

Chase Brush | September 25, 2017

The teachers union faults the Senate president for his stand on public-employee pensions and school funding — and they want to make him pay.

What has 200,000 members, a deep-pocketed super PAC, and one of the most powerful presences in all New Jersey politics?

It’s the New Jersey Education Association, and it’s not to be trifled with.

That’s the apparent message being conveyed by the relevant-as-ever group this election season, as it continues to wield its influence in several state and local races following a hard-fought primary and ahead of a November general election. Through special-interest spending and public endorsements, the group has sought to advance its agenda by aligning itself with both Republicans and Democrats, ultimately making itself known in nearly every corner of the state.

The organization has issued endorsements in 37 out of 40 legislative districts, including one for Democrat Phil Murphy in the state’s high-profile gubernatorial election.

http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/17/09/25/njea-flexes-its-muscles-takes-on-sweeney/

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Lawmakers seek changes to TTF program, including transparency rollback

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By RYAN HUTCHINS

03/14/17 05:32 AM EDT

TRENTON — Democratic lawmakers in the Statehouse are considering major changes to New Jersey’s infrastructure spending program but are being met with resistance from their Republican colleagues.

The complex, 21-page bill (S3075) would enact broad amendments to the law passed last year authorizing the state’s Transportation Trust Fund to spend $2 billion per year on road, bridge and transit projects.

The new measure, sponsored by Senate President Stephen Sweeney, would strip a key transparency requirement, delay the creation of a panel to review the proposals and create a new system by which counties and towns could take over stalled projects. It would also allow the state to “bundle” several related projects, potentially speeding up environmental reviews and engineering work.

Introduced a week ago, the bill was quickly ushered through committee and was scheduled for a vote in the state Senate Monday, but never went on the board. Sweeney said he did not have enough support to call a vote without first sending the bill though a second reading. Such a predicament suggests fairly significant Republican opposition.

http://www.politico.com/states/new-jersey/story/2017/03/lawmakers-seek-changes-to-ttf-program-including-transparency-rollbacks-110344

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NJ Taxpayers Get Played for Fools Again

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NJ gas tax could be used to prop up public pension system

By Michael Symons December 8, 2016 6:39 PM

In a roundabout way, revenues from the increased gas tax might help shore up New Jersey’s beleaguered pension funds.

A proposed bill, S2842/A4388, would enable the Transportation Trust Fund to borrow directly from the pension funds, rather than sell bonds to investors. There would be no cap to how much could be borrowed. The pension funds are typically limited to buying 10 percent of any single bond sale.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said the pension funds would benefit from earning a higher interest rate than they do buying U.S. Treasury bonds. And the TTF would avoid paying the fees normally associated with a bond sale, Sweeney said.

“Why are we giving fees to Wall Street? Why are we letting other people make interest off of us when we have a pension fund that is woefully underfunded?” Sweeney said.

Sweeney estimated the impact by talking about a hypothetical $1.2 billion in borrowing by the TTF, which he said would cost the TTF $60 million in interest, at an interest rate of 5 percent, and $6 million in underwriting fees to Wall Street.

“The money is there. This is a safe bet. This is not a risk. We don’t want to risk people’s pension funds,” Sweeney said. “Why pay someone else 5 percent when we could pay ourselves?”

The bill wouldn’t require the pension funds to invest in TTF and New Jersey Infrastructure Bank bonds, but it would lift the limits on what the State Investment Council could choose to do. Other types of state debt, such as for school construction, would not be included.

Read More: NJ gas tax could be used to prop up public pension system | http://nj1015.com/nj-gas-tax-could-could-be-used-to-prop-up-public-pension-system/?trackback=tsmclip

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Anxiety over N.J. public worker pension amendment builds as deadline nears

Senate President Sweeney_theridgewoodblog

 

Angry over the uncertainty of a constitutional amendment requiring the state to contribute annually to their pensions, public workers on Monday rallied outside the Statehouse and called for Senate President Stephen Sweeney to put the measure up for a vote. Samantha Marcus, NJ.com Read more

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Deadlock on Atlantic City threatens other N.J. cities, credit agency says

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The deadlock between Gov. Chris Christie and elected officials over a deal to rescue Atlantic City from a mounting financial crisis has the potential to send shockwaves through some of the state’s largest cities, a credit agency said Wednesday. Matt Arco, NJ.com Read more

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Bergen Record Promotes Trade Union Socialism for New Jersey

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Stile: Is Sweeney reshaping Jersey’s bedrock?

BY CHARLES STILE
RECORD COLUMNIST |
THE RECORD

The late Gov. Alfred E. Driscoll, a founding father of the modern state constitution, probably would have been appalled with state Senate President Stephen Sweeney’s approach to New Jersey’s hallowed charter.

In 1947, Driscoll urged the 81 delegates who had been chosen to draft the new document to refrain from padding it with their pet legislative projects. Stick to “basic fundamental principles,” he said.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/stile-is-sweeney-reshaping-jersey-s-bedrock-1.1526981