Category Archives: Middle Class

13th Legislative District Candidate Kevin Lavan Supports Unions and the Middle Class

I support unions. While the consequences of the recent pension deal between Governor Christie and Trenton lawmakers remains to be seen, now is the time for New Jerseyans to consider how best to protect the middle class in an era of high unemployment and declining pay. Unlike my opponents, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, I recognize that union membership translates into higher wages and better workplace conditions for Garden State workers. Handlin and O’Scanlon not only want to reform public employee benefits — an idea that has merits — they want to restrict the rights of private sector workers to negotiate with management.

O’Scanlon is the sponsor of a bill that repeals the New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act and the Public Works Contractor Registration Act, a move that essentially ends prevailing wage standards. That’s an assault not only on union members, but on non-union construction workers and others in the building trades who rely on fair wage protections as a guarantee that they will be paid at a rate commensurate with their work.
Just this month, O’Scanlon and Handlin introduced a bill that makes New Jersey a “Right to Work” state. Although the legislation was pronounced dead on arrival, I am disappointed that my opponents are pursuing such a radical agenda. Right to work really means right to be fired. Passage of Handlin and O’Scanlon’s legislation will result in lower wages and have a negative impact on workers safety and health.
My opponents are not only on the wrong side of working families, but quite literally, they are writing the laws that will set back the clock one hundred years and remove the protections that helped build our middle class.
It is important that New Jerseyans, especially those residing in the Thirteenth Legislative District, understand that the current debate extends far beyond public employee pensions. Elected officials should do everything in their power to protect taxpayers. While in office, I did just that. However, Garden State workers — both union and non-union — deserve to know that Handlin and O’Scanlon seek to undermine the very provisions that have allowed countless families to enter the middle class. I want no part in that, and if I am fortunate enough to be elected to the Assembly, I will be a champion of working families.
Kevin M. Lavan
Democratic Candidate
13th Legislative District

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Filed under 13th Legisaltive District, Amy Handlin, Declan O'Scanlon, Democratic Candidate, fair wages, Hazlet Mayor, Kevin Lavan, Middle Class, right to work, union members, working families

President Obama’s Weekly Address 7/9/11: Working Together to Meet our Fiscal Challenges

WASHINGTON – In this week’s address, President Obama called on both parties to come together during this unique moment to find a significant, balanced approach to deficit reduction that lets us live within our means without hurting investments our economy needs to grow and create jobs. The President believes the American people deserve to have their leaders work in a bipartisan way to find common ground to tackle our fiscal challenges so we can be in a stronger position to focus on new job-creation measures to get the American people back to work.

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Filed under Congress, corporate taxes, debt limit, economic recovery, Education, Job creation, Medicare, Middle Class, President Obama, Social Security, tax breaks for the rich, weekly address

>President Obama’s Weekly Address 6/25/11: Strengthening America by Investing at Home

>WASHINGTON – Speaking to the American people from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, President Obama discussed the vital role advanced manufacturing will have in strengthening our economy and creating good, middle-class jobs. The President believes that realizing our nation’s potential requires more than simply cutting spending; we have to foster development at home, so that the United States will continue to grow and attract the world’s best talent, ideas and job-creating technologies. This week, the President announced the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, which will link the federal government with our nation’s finest minds to insure that our best ideas quickly become our best technologies. By providing American innovators with the resources they need to make their ideas a reality, our nation’s strong legacy of manufacturing, development and middle-class opportunity will continue to grow.

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Filed under Afghanistan, budget deficit, Carnegie Melon University, economic growth, Education, Innovation, Job creation, Manufacturing, Middle Class, President Obama, weekly address

>NJPP: In the end-game for the NJ state budget, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

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June 20th 2011,

Dear Supporters,

Over the next two weeks – as the Legislature rushes to produce a budget that won’t drown in the ink from the line-item veto pen – we’re all too likely to fully realize the “new normal” that Governor Christie talked about when he proposed his budget four months ago.

It goes something like this:

Rich people and corporations get tax breaks.

The middle class will pay more.

We will all have to make do with less.

Instead of a balanced approach that includes revenues – like the courageous governor of Connecticut proposed – New Jersey’s budget relies only on cuts in services.

Instead of finding ways to invest in building blocks of a strong economy – schools, police, libraries, health care, parks, roads and bridges – the governor has dug in even further, promising to veto any tax increase, including a tax on millionaires’ incomes that has overwhelming public support. Even as state revenues start to rise a bit in the recession’s wake, the administration in Trenton insists we can’t afford:

Health care for working parents if they earn more than $115 a week.

Women’s health care at family planning clinics, even though it means missing out on federal matching funds, an increase in unintended pregnancies and higher costs to treat uninsured patients.

Maintaining the state Earned Income Tax Credit for working poor families, who have seen their taxes increase by $300 a year – the equivalent of a week’s wages – while the wealthiest got a tax cut.

Meanwhile, the state has found more than enough money to hand out $1 billion in subsidies and tax breaks for developers and corporations, including some of the most profitable businesses in the state. Extensive research and plain old common sense show that these giveaways don’t create jobs.

That’s where we come in.

As we have for 14 years, NJPP is shining a spotlight on important policy decisions with the goal of having a state government that promotes broadly shared prosperity for all New Jerseyans instead of picking winners and losers.

We’re proud to be a leading voice for fairness in New Jersey, using solid research and strategic communications to strongly advocate for those who have the smallest voices in the public arena – the poor, working families, the disabled and other vulnerable people in our society.

And we couldn’t do it without you.

NJPP’s generous supporters understand why our work is so important to the vision of New Jersey they want for themselves and their children.

You’ve received several emails from us in the past week highlighting our work.

Now, we are asking for your help.

Please click on the “donate” button below and give to NJPP today.

By contributing you will enable NJPP to keep digging deeper into tough policy issues and widely share our findings to make a difference in people’s lives. Every donation counts, whether it’s $1,000 to print and publish one of our reports or $50 to cover the cost of copying documents requested through the Open Public Records Act.

As you follow what’s going on in Trenton with the budget and other issues over the next couple of weeks, I ask that you keep in mind the work New Jersey Policy Perspective is doing and the role that you can play.

Together, we can create a “new normal” that lifts up every one of us, not just the privileged few.

Thanks so much for your support – past and future.

Sincerely,

Deborah Howlett, President

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Filed under Gov. Chris Christie, line item veto, Middle Class, New Jersey Policy Perspective, NJ State Budget, OPRA requests, tax breaks for the rich, Uncategorized, women's health issues

>A special state budget update from NJPP President Deborah Howlett

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In his budget address three months ago, Governor Christie outlined his view of the “new normal” in New Jersey. It went something like this:

  • Rich people get tax breaks.
  • The middle class pays more.
  • We all make do with less.

Most states, instead of relying solely on cuts to services – cuts that threaten jobs and economic recovery and hurt struggling families – have adopted a balanced approach that includes revenues. But the plan laid out by the governor was cuts-only. It would close state facilities for the profoundly disabled; continue last year’s devastating cuts to schools; and require deep reductions in health insurance coverage for people with no place else to turn.

Over the next month or so, lawmakers and the governor will work in Trenton toward agreement on a state spending plan for the coming fiscal year.

NJPP will be in the thick of things.

As we have for 14 years, NJPP is fighting for the return of fair and progressive fiscal policies that until recently provided opportunities for all New Jerseyans and prosperity that was broadly shared across the Garden State. In a series of emails over the next couple of weeks I’ll give you more details, but here are a few highlights of the work that NJPP is doing to make a difference.

  • Senior Analyst Ray Castro is a leading voice in the independent and critical analysis of how cuts to NJ Family Care, the state Earned Income Tax Credit, and Medicaid will make it harder for poor and working families to get by.
  • A study by NJPP and the national group Demos showed that a bill to deregulate telecommunications in New Jersey would cost consumers, especially the poor and the elderly. Using the findings in the report, NJ Citizen Action and AARP went to work on lawmakers and in a grassroots effort that included more than 10,000 phone calls to legislative offices they succeeded in getting the measure tabled.
  • NJPP’s report on the proliferation of corporate subsidies is the foundation for ongoing efforts by the Better Choices coalition, of which we’re a member, to restore badly needed revenue. Made up of more than 70 nonprofits — including human services, education, religious, and labor groups – Better Choices is a vocal advocate for a proposal developed by NJPP to raise taxes on the wealthiest among us, those with income (not net worth, but income) over $1 million a year.

We’re proud to be a leading voice for common sense in New Jersey, and to strongly and clearly advocate for those who have the smallest voices in the public arena – the middle class, working families, the disabled and the most vulnerable in our society.

That work was spotlighted in a story published recently by the Asbury Park Press, which caught the attention of one of its hometown readers, rock icon Bruce Springsteen. Speaking of NJPP and our partners, Springsteen wrote in a letter to the editor, “These are voices that in our current climate are having a hard time being heard, not just in New Jersey, but nationally.”

Like you, and The Boss, we refuse to accept the idea that there’s a “new normal.”

Not here in New Jersey.

Not this year.

More to come…

Deborah Howlett, President

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Update: I want to clarify a point made in our earlier email “Special State Budget Update,” which may have left the impression that as a policy matter NJPP is opposed to the closing of state institutions for people with developmental disabilities. We absolutely are not. Further, we understand it is important that the effort to close these institutions be fully funded by the state so that people with disabilities can live in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.

Sincerely,

Deborah Howlett, President

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Filed under AARP, Bruce Springsteen, Debrorah Howlett, Gov. Chris Christie, health care cuts, Middle Class, New Jersey Policy Perspective, NJ State Budget, School cuts, service cuts, tax breaks for the rich, Trenton

>President Obama’s weekly Adress 11/6/10 :Priorities on Taxes

>President Obama lays out his priorities for the coming discussion about tax cuts, calling for compromise but making clear he cannot accept $700 billion in deficits or an increase in middle class taxes.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/all/modules/swftools/shared/flash_media_player/player5x2.swf

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Filed under Middle Class, President Obama, tax cuts, Taxes, weekly address

>President Obama’s Weekly Address 9/4/10: Honoring the American Worker

>The President talks about his fight to make America work for the middle class and make sure hard work is rewarded — rather than greed and recklessness .

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/all/modules/swftools/shared/flash_media_player/player5x2.swf

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Filed under job growth, Labor Day, Middle Class, President Obama, Recession, weekly address