Daily Archives: July 28, 2009

Best Quote of the Day, From Yesterday

“The facts surrounding the freeze versus layoff issue belie Sheriff Guadagno’s claim that she is the rare elected official who hasn’t backed down from the public-employee unions,”… Guadagno “essentially sabotaged the county’s plan as it related to the unions within the Sheriff’s Office,”.

Monmouth County Freeholder Jonh D’Amico quoted in the Asbury Park Press about Monmouth County Sheriff / Republican Lt. Governor candidate, Kim Guadagno and her efforts to undermine negotiations with county union members.

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Filed under Freeholder John D'Amico, Kim Guadagono, Lt. Governor, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Sheriff, Republican Candidate

Despite the corruption arrests, Corzine still doing OK

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to be a regular columnist /contributor to the NewJerseyNewsRoom.com, a news organization put together by former Star-Ledger staff members that had been layed-off by the newspaper over the past year.

A couple of members from the News Room have been following this blog and thought that I would be a good fit and lend a progressive voice to the website.
I was honored to think that real journalists thought enough of my writing and insight to include me in their endevours, so I couldn’t say no to the offer.
Below is the first of what I hope to be many opinion pieces posted by my new friends at News Room Jersey:
Despite the corruption arrests, Corzine still doing OK

When I first heard the news on the morning of July 23 about the FBI sting operation that netted 44 people throughout the state on corruption and other assorted charges, as part of the continuing 10-year-old investigation known as “Operation Bid Rig,” I have to admit I wasn’t very happy.

I thought, “here we go again.’’ Another black-eye for the state’s already tarnished and beleaguered image as the most corrupt in the country. I was shocked, angered and concerned all at the same time.

As a Democrat who is involved in the local politics, I immediately thought about how this would affect Governor Corzine and the rest of the democratic ticket down the line. This was not something that Jon Corzine or democrats, in general, needed to be dealing with 13 weeks before November’s election.

After working the overnight shift, keeping up on what seemed like an endless stream of new information and details about the sting operation, I started to think that there was no way, with recent polling numbers showing that the governor trailed his opponent by upwards of 15 points depending on the survey, could survive this latest round of bad news.
My despair only increased when, as the morning shift arrived, my fellow co-workers sought me out to express their displeasure with the scandal and said that it was further evidence as to why they would not be voting for Jon Corzine.

It didn’t matter to those guys that the investigation was started 10 years earlier during the Whitman administration or that the governor was not involved or named in the investigation. It was just further evidence to them that New Jersey’s political system was broken and just as corrupt as ever.

It didn’t matter to them that Jon Corzine is beyond reproach or that he can’t be bought off by special interest (the man is a multi-millionaire who doesn’t need to take money from other people) or that Corzine is one of the most politically ethical elected officials that the State of New Jersey has seen in over a decade. It didn’t matter that during Corzine’s time in office, he is responsible for ending the practice of duel office holding by elected officials or the fact that major Pay-to-Play legislation was passed early in his administration that ended that practice or that he put an end to no-bid contracts.

Read More >>> Here

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Filed under Gov. Jon Corzine, Monmouth County, New Jersey, New Jersey Newsroom, Operation Bid Rig, political corruption, the Star-Ledger

What Does Another 80 Cents a Day Buy? Not Enough!

On July 24, the federal minimum wage rose to $7.25 per hour. With it, thousands of New Jersey’s minimum wage workers saw a 10-cent increase in their hourly wage. This is nothing to be proud of, especially since the state’s median household income of $67,035 makes New Jerseyans the second highest income earners in the country.

The increase marks the first time in four years that New Jersey’s minimum wage earners will make the same as those in Mississippi, Arkansas, North Carolina and 27 other states throughout the country. This despite the fact that the state’s median household income is 84 percent higher than Mississippi’s, 75 percent more than Arkansas’ and 50 percent higher than North Carolina’s.

Housing costs in New Jersey are among the nation’s highest, with renters paying more than $400 above the national average per month. To afford a two-bedroom apartment alone, a minimum wage worker would have to work an impossible 129 hours per week every week of the year.

Housing is not the only thing that costs more in New Jersey. Groceries cost 11 percent more than in the rest of the country, utilities 16 percent more and health care an additional 10 percent.

In 2007, the state’s Minimum Wage Advisory Commission recommended the minimum wage be raised to $8.25 an hour, the federal poverty threshold for a three-person family; one year later it recommended an increase to $8.50 an hour. The commission also called on the legislature to annually adjust the minimum wage with the cost of living. To date, the legislature has done nothing.

Each year New Jersey’s elected officials do not raise the minimum wage, it’s the state’s working poor who suffer the most. Money earned today will buy less next year than it did this year, and even less in the following year. In actual buying power, the state’s minimum wage has declined since it was first introduced in 1968. That means the $7.25 per hour workers earn today buys less than the $1.40 they earned in 1968 or the $3.10 they received in 1980. Had it kept pace with inflation, the minimum wage would now be $8.68, or $1.43 more than it currently is. This, combined with the fact that low-wage workers tend not to receive wage increases, health coverage or sick days makes keeping up with inflation impossible for these families.

Raising the minimum wage not only helps individuals and families who rely on every bit of their paycheck to pay their rent, buy their groceries, clothe their children and provide healthcare for themselves and their families, it also stimulates the economy. Because they earn so little, low-wage workers are less likely than people with higher salaries to save money. This means that every additional dollar they earn is needed and will be spent.

The current economic downturn has affected almost everyone, and New Jersey’s low-income earners are struggling to meet the most basic of needs. By raising the state minimum wage to at least keep up with inflation, New Jersey will lessen the hardship faced by its most vulnerable residents.

To find out more about the New Jersey Policy Perspective click >>>Here

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Filed under median household income, minimum wage, New Jersey, New Jersey Policy Perspective