All about Trenton hearings this morning.
Here's Bill's testimony as well. We'll aim to get to Trenton 30 minutes before the hearing, so we can discuss and coordinate, if you can. Meet in basement cafeteria by 9:30.
Senate is asking for ten copies of any testimony (not mandatory). Assembly may ask for the same.
Sometimes, they ask you NOT to read your testimony. Feel free to read what you wrote. Better than having them throw you off your game.
Researching why two amendments not posted at 10:00. Anything could happen.
Sen. State Govt. Comm. on SCR 184 (Pensions) & SCR 188 (Re-districting) at 10:00, Annex, 2nd fl., Rm. 7
Asm. Judiciary at 11:00, Annex, 4th. Fl., Rm. 12 - on all four amendments.
Text me for updates. 973-538-8226. We'll do the same.
Testimony of William Eames, Whippany NJ
on behalf of Morris Patriots January 7, 2016
ACR-1 (Dedication of all motor fuels and diesel fuels taxes to Transportation Trust Fund)
• Budget policy decisions belong in the Legislature and Executive departments, not in the Constitution – (notwithstanding past violations of this tenet).
• The Legislature and Governor are given responsibility to formulate and execute a budget for the benefit of the People – not the benefit of the political class or any one sector of the economy. To so do, particularly in difficult economic times, they need flexibility. Dedicating every increasing portions of the state budget limits this flexibility and will increase fiscal stress on the Legislature, Governor, and People of New Jersey.
• Conveniently, this Amendment has been carefully crafted to avoid mention of the parallel debate to substantially increase the tax on motor fuels by 25-cents a gallon.
ACR-2 (Expanding casino locales)
• This measure is designed for the personal gain of a very few. It is conceived to benefit certain political and business interests for short term political and economic benefit, at the long-term expense of Atlantic City, those families whose economic livelihoods are already in jeopardy, and the People of New Jersey who will have to pay to clean up the mess. To suggest that adding casinos elsewhere is a way to help the people of Atlantic City is the height of hypocrisy.
• It is tragic that some members of this Legislature now look at expansion of every possible form of gambling to finance their habits of fiscal irresponsibility – without regard to the very real consequences.
ACR-3 (Constitutionally mandates full funding of pension contracts)
• The State and its political subdivisions face the moral dilemma of legal contracts that were negotiated with excessive promises of benefits that were never fully funded. Having failed to win full funding in the present political environment and in the courts, this is a maneuver to serve union labor without a balancing regard for fiscal flexibility. The State’s taxpayers will face great financial burden and reduced services if full funding is mandated by Constitutional Amendment. The taxpayers did not negotiate these contracts. Those who did escape accountability.
• The State faces great financial stress, as evidenced by lowered credit ratings. As significant blocks of funding are dedicated through the Constitution through bad political policy and completely inadequate explanatory statements to the voters, the flexibility which will be needed by both the Legislature and Executive is being ever more restricted. In our opinion, this will further disadvantage New Jersey in competition with other states to attract and retain taxpayers and employers – and could lead to fiscal insolvency.
• This proposal removes Legislative and Executive discretion and will likely create economic havoc in the short term.
ACR-4 (state legislative district apportionment)
• Beginning with the 1966 Constitutional Convention reacting to the Voter Rights Act, New Jersey chose to address legislative district apportionment in isolation from the citizens. This measure would continue that abusive practice, dividing the spoils of election primarily between the leadership of the two major political parties, and augmented with the appearance of impartiality by having the Chief Justice appoint a theoretically unbiased tie-breaker.
• Just as has been the case over past decades, these changes will benefit one political party over the other, and deny citizens the right to fairly choose representation that meets their custom and need.
• Continuing the practice of involving the Chief Justice of the NJ Supreme Court in a purely political endeavor is a breech of jurisdictional authority, an absolute conflict of interest, and exceptionally poor public policy. The Court is there to independently evaluate constitutional issues, not to be a party to the inevitable political manipulations.
• ACR-4 should not pass this Legislature because it makes bad policy even worse. And, it is a shameful reflection on those who should be the most honorable.
John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” I fear that New Jersey’s current day government demonstrates the fruits of that inadequacy.