Category Archives: State of the State Address

SENATOR BUONO’S STATEMENT ON GOVERNOR’S POCKET VETOES

TRENTON – Senator Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) released the following statement regarding the Governor’s pocket veto of S-668 and S-3072. S-668 would have provided New Jersey residents who save for their children’s college education through a state-administered college savings plan with a state income tax deduction for their investments. S-3072 would have promoted the establishment of partnerships between institutions of higher education and the business community to increase collaborative research and innovation:

“In these tough economic times , when middle-class families are constantly worried about how they will put food on the table let alone how they will pay for their children’s education, it is indefensible that the Governor has vetoed legislation that would have provided incentives to parents to save for their children’s college education as well as legislation that would have strengthened educational opportunities for the state’s college students, so that they may gain invaluable skills to find good, well-paying jobs.

“By providing families with a tax deduction of up to $10,000 for putting money into their children’s NJ BEST account, S-668 would have encouraged parents to save for their children’s futures. The Governor’s short-sightedness could cost New Jersey’s children and their parents the ability to pay the increasing costs of college, making our future workforce much less prepared for a global economy.

“During Governor Christie’s State of the State address, he touted the need to provide a competitive environment where businesses would choose New Jersey over other states to grow and expand their businesses and to create jobs. His actions speak louder than his words. By pocket vetoing S-3072, he has ignored an opportunity for businesses to partner with academic institutions, such as New Jersey’s colleges and universities, to drive innovation in the state. Not only would this program have helped New Jersey’s students develop skills to prepare them for careers in high-demand sectors, it would also have strengthened our workforce, making the Garden State a more attractive place to start and grow a business.

“As we move into this new legislative session, I hope that Governor Christie puts aside partisan politics, and supports legislation that would truly benefit New Jersey’s children, middle- and working-class families and businesses looking to create jobs that are actually in demand and increase economic security.”

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Filed under college education, Gov. Chris Christie, middle-class families, NJ Best, pocket veto, press release, Senator Barbara Buono, State of the State Address, Trenton NJ

Democrats on right side of affordable housing debate; Republicans only offer re-establishment of regional contribution agreements

The following commentary appeared in today’s Asbury Park Press and was written by Vincent Solomeno. Vincent is a life long bayshore area resident and a Monmouth County Democratic committeeman from Hazlet.

For those of you who do not know Vincent, he was named one of “50 Rising Stars in New Jersey Politics” by Politicker New Jersey, he has managed or worked on local, state, and national campaigns. He has worked for Congressman Frank Pallone.

In 2006, Vincent became a Truman Scholar and in 2007, he was selected as a J. William Fulbright Scholar to the Netherlands where he earned a Master of Arts in European Studies at the University of Amsterdam. A Distinguished Military Graduate (DMG), he is a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve and is training to become a Combat Engineer. 

So when Vincent has an opinion about something it’s worth listening to, he is not some loony liberal trying to push mandates down our throats. He is an extremely intelligent and distinguished member of the Monmouth County community who’s thoughts and ideas  should be considered:

Democrats must be able to transform the statewide mandate of the Council on Affordable Housing or else be ready for Republican criticism that may diminish Democratic support among suburban voters.

Ex-Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan recently traveled to Freehold to stump for votes in his campaign for the Republican nomination for governor. He likened his campaign to the American Revolution and compared Gov. Jon Corzine and the Democratic majorities in the Legislature to the tyrants of Europe and Asia.

The 21st-century Gen. George Washington continued with a blistering attack on COAH and promised that, when the general election is through, the self-financed Corzine will be living in one of the program’s 40,000 units.

November’s election not only will determine who occupies the front office in the state Capitol. It will test New Jersey Republicans’ ability to make inroads into the Democrats’ legislative majority. Unless Democrats present a compelling narrative for affordable housing, COAH and its cumbersome regulations have the potential to unite the feuding factions of the GOP and erase Democratic gains in suburban battlegrounds.

From a policy perspective, the need for affordable housing remains as clear today as it was when the Supreme Court ordered state action on the issue in 1984. According to the U.S. Census, New Jerseyans pay 30 percent or more of their income for housing, the fourth highest percentage in the nation. However, members of both parties recognize that in its current form, COAH often results in continued overdevelopment and an increase in property taxes.

Democrats in the Legislature have indicated their willingness to take on the challenge. As chairman of the Economic Growth Committee, Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Union, introduced legislation (S2485) that directs the state Housing Commission to consider the impact of its assessments on local property taxes.

Lesniak also wants COAH to provide housing not only to low-income individuals, but to those in the middle class who do not qualify for the program but nonetheless struggle with New Jersey’s high cost of living. Called “work-force” housing, the change would allow individuals such as secretaries, firefighters and recent college graduates to qualify for assistance.

In his recent State of the State address, Corzine indicated his willingness to “allow for maximum flexibility and ample time for collaborative review” of affordable housing plans. The governor and Democrats will face the challenge of articulating the need for COAH regulations to a public leery of continued development.

Affordable housing may be an issue that Republicans can use to their advantage, but thus far they have offered no policy alternative other than S2292, a bill re-establishing the regional contribution agreements that circumvented the intent of affordable housing in the first place. Their advocacy of a return to the failed status quo does nothing to address the real problem.

New Jersey is a “blue” state and New Jersey Republicans are a party rife with ideological divisions. Criticism of COAH presents them with an issue they can rally around. However, they will need more than rhetoric and stale policy to convince voters they can solve the problem. Democrats have demonstrated a willingness to ease the burden on municipalities without abandoning a commitment to providing affordable housing. The remaining challenge for lawmakers is to deliver reform.


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Filed under Affordable housing, Asbury Park Press, COAH, Frank Pallone, Fulbright Scholar, Gov.Jon Corzine, Hazlet, Monmouth County Democrats, RCA's, State of the State Address, Steve Lonegan, Vincent Solomeno

>Democrats on right side of affordable housing debate; Republicans only offer re-establishment of regional contribution agreements

>

The following commentary appeared in today’s Asbury Park Press and was written by Vincent Solomeno. Vincent is a life long bayshore area resident and a Monmouth County Democratic committeeman from Hazlet.

For those of you who do not know Vincent, he was named one of “50 Rising Stars in New Jersey Politics” by Politicker New Jersey, he has managed or worked on local, state, and national campaigns. He has worked for Congressman Frank Pallone.

In 2006, Vincent became a Truman Scholar and in 2007, he was selected as a J. William Fulbright Scholar to the Netherlands where he earned a Master of Arts in European Studies at the University of Amsterdam. A Distinguished Military Graduate (DMG), he is a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve and is training to become a Combat Engineer. 

So when Vincent has an opinion about something it’s worth listening to, he is not some loony liberal trying to push mandates down our throats. He is an extremely intelligent and distinguished member of the Monmouth County community who’s thoughts and ideas  should be considered:

Democrats must be able to transform the statewide mandate of the Council on Affordable Housing or else be ready for Republican criticism that may diminish Democratic support among suburban voters.

Ex-Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan recently traveled to Freehold to stump for votes in his campaign for the Republican nomination for governor. He likened his campaign to the American Revolution and compared Gov. Jon Corzine and the Democratic majorities in the Legislature to the tyrants of Europe and Asia.

The 21st-century Gen. George Washington continued with a blistering attack on COAH and promised that, when the general election is through, the self-financed Corzine will be living in one of the program’s 40,000 units.

November’s election not only will determine who occupies the front office in the state Capitol. It will test New Jersey Republicans’ ability to make inroads into the Democrats’ legislative majority. Unless Democrats present a compelling narrative for affordable housing, COAH and its cumbersome regulations have the potential to unite the feuding factions of the GOP and erase Democratic gains in suburban battlegrounds.

From a policy perspective, the need for affordable housing remains as clear today as it was when the Supreme Court ordered state action on the issue in 1984. According to the U.S. Census, New Jerseyans pay 30 percent or more of their income for housing, the fourth highest percentage in the nation. However, members of both parties recognize that in its current form, COAH often results in continued overdevelopment and an increase in property taxes.

Democrats in the Legislature have indicated their willingness to take on the challenge. As chairman of the Economic Growth Committee, Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Union, introduced legislation (S2485) that directs the state Housing Commission to consider the impact of its assessments on local property taxes.

Lesniak also wants COAH to provide housing not only to low-income individuals, but to those in the middle class who do not qualify for the program but nonetheless struggle with New Jersey’s high cost of living. Called “work-force” housing, the change would allow individuals such as secretaries, firefighters and recent college graduates to qualify for assistance.

In his recent State of the State address, Corzine indicated his willingness to “allow for maximum flexibility and ample time for collaborative review” of affordable housing plans. The governor and Democrats will face the challenge of articulating the need for COAH regulations to a public leery of continued development.

Affordable housing may be an issue that Republicans can use to their advantage, but thus far they have offered no policy alternative other than S2292, a bill re-establishing the regional contribution agreements that circumvented the intent of affordable housing in the first place. Their advocacy of a return to the failed status quo does nothing to address the real problem.

New Jersey is a “blue” state and New Jersey Republicans are a party rife with ideological divisions. Criticism of COAH presents them with an issue they can rally around. However, they will need more than rhetoric and stale policy to convince voters they can solve the problem. Democrats have demonstrated a willingness to ease the burden on municipalities without abandoning a commitment to providing affordable housing. The remaining challenge for lawmakers is to deliver reform.


Leave a comment

Filed under Affordable housing, Asbury Park Press, COAH, Frank Pallone, Fulbright Scholar, Gov. Jon Corzine, Hazlet, Monmouth County Democrats, RCA's, State of the State Address, Steve Lonegan, Vincent Solomeno