View Full Version : NEW JERSEY IS CLOSED

07-01-2006, 10:21 AM
Just watched a press conferance from our Govorner signing the order to shut down all non essential state functions. It will be interesting to see what he deems essential.

07-01-2006, 03:17 PM
Dave - it's even worse than I thought. According to CNN he is possibly shutting down the main tourist destinations during the heart of the season - state beaches, state parks, etc. Basically because his fellow democrats don't support him in raising the sales tax. :mad:

New Jersey shut down over budget dispute (http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/07/01/nj.budget.ap/index.html)
Atlantic City may be hit
Saturday, July 1, 2006; Posted: 11:56 a.m. EDT (15:56 GMT)

TRENTON, New Jersey (AP) -- New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine closed the state government Saturday amid a bitter dispute with fellow Democrats in the Assembly over his plan to increase the sales tax, threatening to shutter beaches, parks and possibly casinos in the coming days.

After Saturday's constitutional deadline to adopt a new balanced budget passed without agreement, Corzine signed an executive order just after 9:30 a.m., a grim climax to weeks of budget squabbling among Democrats who control state government but haven't been able to agree on a budget bill.

"It gives me no joy, no satisfaction, no sense of empowerment to do what I'm forced to do here," Corzine said.

Within minutes of Corzine signing the order, road construction projects were required to begin winding down. Motor vehicle offices planned to close at noon. About 45,000 state employees were immediately furloughed. State courts were closed for anything but emergencies. State-run beaches are set to close Wednesday morning.

Services such as state police, prisons, mental hospitals and child welfare were to keep operating. The casinos could be forced to close because they require state monitoring, though the casino industry is challenging a possible closure in court.

A bid by Atlantic City's 12 casinos Friday to get state monitors declared "essential employees" who would stay on the job despite a government shutdown is now before an emergency appellate court panel, casino association lawyer John Kearney said Saturday.

The dispute centers on Corzine's determination to raise the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to help close a $4.5 billion budget deficit.

Corzine sees the increase as a vital step toward providing reliable annual revenue, but most Democrats in the Assembly -- the lower house of the state Legislature -- and several Senate Democrats say the plan is unnecessary.

Opponents have questioned the need for a sales tax increase, predicting voter backlash and demanding that any increase be reserved for property tax reform.

The state Constitution requires a balanced budget by July 1, but the deadline has been missed four times in five years. Nothing happened when deadlines were missed before, but the state never went past the morning of July 2 without an adopted budget. Without one, the state has no authority to spend money.

Another idiot governor that the citizens of New Jersey voted into office! The voters have nobody to blame but themselves. What is even worse is that he has four more years in office, unles we can impeach him. Four more years of him destorying New Jersey and dismantling the state. Again - nothing but a tax and spend governor. He increases the budget by over a billion dollars and INSISTS on raising the sales tax to pay for it.

This truly affects tourism - which is the second largest industry in New Jersey and he threatens it during the prime season.

Here is the various contact information -

Governor Corzine's phone number is 609-292-6000, or go to the state website at www.state.nj.us.
Assembly Budget Chair Lou Greenwald's phone number is (856) 435-1247, or his e-mail is asmgreenwald@njleg.org.
Senate Budget Chair Wayne Bryant's phone number is (856) 757-0552 or his e-mail is senbryant@njleg.org.

Take a stand and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

BTW - I tried to call "Corzine's" number - and there is no way to leave him a message - you merely have to leave it in the general mail box if it is after hours. I tried dialing his name in to get his mailbox and sent me back - invalid recepient. So much for the governor working for the people of New Jersey. :mad:

I am aginst the sales tax increase and I am against Corzine use of force to get his way.

07-01-2006, 04:10 PM
From the Star Ledger...

Historic shutdown looms as Trenton budget fight builds
Speaker: Corzine trying to ‘strong arm’ sales tax

Gov. Jon Corzine prepared to shut down state government starting today, as New Jersey’s budget crisis turned into political warfare between the governor and lawmakers in his own party opposed to his plan to increase the sales tax.

Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts denounced Corzine for trying to ‘‘strong arm a tax increase upon the citizens of this state,’’ while the governor’s top aide accused Roberts of ‘‘grandstanding.’’

Corzine planned to sign an executive order at 9:30 a.m. to begin a phased shutdown of nonessential state operations, including the Lottery, road construction projects and motor vehicle offices, because no spending plan is in place for the budget year that begins today.

It would be the first state government shutdown in New Jersey history.

Officials said Lottery sales would halt immediately, but it was not clear how quickly other operations would cease.

State parks, beaches and campgrounds would remain open during the July 4 th weekend, but could close next week if the stalemate continues. Essential functions such as State Police patrols would not be interrupted. A spokesman for the governor said that ‘‘unless the courts rule otherwise’’ the shutdown would include Atlantic City’s casinos, because they cannot operate without monitoring by state regulators.

Casino officials yesterday sought to block a shutdown. A Superior Court judge said closing them over the holiday weekend would have an ‘‘irreparable’’ and ‘‘catastrophic’’ effect, but that he was powerless to stop it. An appeals court declined to take up the case before Corzine issued his order.

In a last-ditch attempt to avert a shutdown, Corzine met for 45 minutes last night in his Statehouse office with Roberts and Senate President Richard Codey (DEssex). Emerging from the meeting, Roberts indicated negotiations would continue through the weekend. ‘‘We’re talking, and that’s a good thing,’’ he said.

But a short while later he called a news conference in the balcony of the Assembly chambers and blasted the governor’s tactics, calling the shutdown plan ‘‘indefensible.’’

‘‘Governor, we have no interest in having a gun placed to our head and passing a sales tax for a state budget that doesn’t need it. We urge this governor to retreat from the precipice and not push the state over the edge into the uncharted waters of a government shutdown,’’ Roberts said.

Corzine chief of staff Tom Shea responded by saying any shutdown would be the result of ‘‘the failure of the Legislature to pass a balanced budget.’’

‘‘While the Assembly leadership is at the microphone grandstanding, the governor is sitting at his desk waiting for a budget,’’ Shea said. He said Corzine stayed in his office until the midnight budget deadline had come and gone.

In his news conference, Roberts noted that Corzine stood in the same Assembly chambers three months ago and asked critics of his budget proposal to come up with their own alternatives.

‘‘We believe that turned out to be a hollow invitation,’’ Roberts said. ‘‘The problem is not that our alternatives are not legitimate. The problem is that the governor simply doesn’t care for them. Is that enough to shut down the state?’’

Corzine’s spokesman, Anthony Coley, said ‘‘unless they send us an appropriations act, the governor has no choice.’’

State Personnel Commissioner Rolando Torres released a radio public service announcement aimed at state employees saying, ‘‘We will have no choice but to shut down all state government operations other than those that are deemed essential.’’

The five-member Casino Control Commission last night unanimously adopted a resolution requiring each casino to ‘‘effectuate the orderly closure of its casino and simulcasting facilities’’ if Corzine mandates a shutdown. Their hotels and restaurants could remain open.

The commission did not announce a timetable for halting gambling. The order followed a hearing at which casino lawyers pleaded with commissioners to give them days, not hours, to implement any gambling shutdown. They warned of potentially violent patrons if the gaming tables were shut abruptly.

Commission Chairman Linda Kassekert said a shutdown would have ‘‘a devastating financial impact’’ not just on the industry, but also on senior citizens and disabled people who benefit from programs funded through casino taxes.

Earlier in the day, Superior Court Judge Steven Perskie reluctantly rejected a bid by casino lawyers to declare state gaming inspectors ‘‘essential’’ employees . Perskie said he did not have jurisdiction to issue such an order.

Casino lawyers immediately went to a state appeals court. The three-judge panel denied the casinos’ request ‘‘at this time,’’ but left the door open to reconsidering it if Corzine orders a shutdown.

At the Statehouse, the day got off to a contentious start yesterday as state Treasurer Bradley Abelow appeared before the Assembly Budget Committee. On Wednesday, the committee had dispatched a sergeant at arms in an attempt to force Abelow to appear; the treasurer declined to show and lawmakers left after a six-hour sit-in. Greenwald (D-Camden) opened yesterday’s meeting by apologizing to Abelow.

In his opening remarks, Abelow said the administration has agreed to hundreds of millions of dollars in concessions to the Legislature, including a surcharge on the corporate business tax, acceptance of more optimistic revenue projections from the Office of Legislative Services, a smaller contribution into the state pension system and an elimination of tax increases on hospitals and water.

But he said those compromises would not negate the need for a sales tax, which would raise $1.1 billion. He said the Assembly’s plan has a $1 billion hole.

Abelow strongly criticized a key piece of the Assembly Democrats’ plan — a $370 million increase on the state disability tax on wages — saying, ‘‘Simply put, it is a tax on work, not a tax on consumption.’’ He also said that of $753 million in cuts proposed by Assembly Democrats, $358 million of them ‘‘are either not achievable and reliable or not sustainable or fair.’’

During questioning, things got tense.

Greenwald repeatedly asked Abelow to confirm the accuracy of revenue projections associated with a list of proposed taxes and fees. The treasurer responded he could not verify the numbers, and that some of the proposed taxes had proven unreliable in other states.

‘‘This is not the forum for us to negotiate,’’ Abelow said.

The repetitious exchanges prompted Republicans to come to Abelow’s defense.

‘‘It is obvious it is not going to solve anything for us to sit here and listen to this,’’ said Assemblyman Joseph Malone (R-Burlington), the committee’s ranking Republican, who later compared the exchanges to ‘‘driving back and forth over road kill.’’

After the hearing, Greenwald and Abelow met privately in the treasurer ’ s office and emerged more optimistic.

‘‘There is substantial and significant progress,’’ Abelow said.

But optimism waned after further meetings throughout the day. Codey dismissed the Senate in the afternoon, and told them they wouldn’t have to come back until at least Sunday, guaranteeing this year’s will be the latest budget in state history.

‘‘It’s the worst I’ve ever seen,’’ said Sen. Joseph Doria, a Hudson County Democrat and 26-year veteran of the Legislature. ‘‘Compromise is the mother’s milk of politics and there’s no compromise.’’

The Senate Budget Committee did advance three measures designed to help raise new funds for the upcoming budget year. One would raise $50 million by tapping a surplus in a fund earmarked for insurance payments to injured workers. A second would raise $102 million through a surcharge on corporate taxpayers, and the third would cancel the scheduled phaseout of a tax on energy producers, netting $57.1 million.

Staff writers Dunstan McNichol, Deborah Howlett, Josh Margolin,
Robert Schwaneberg and MaryAnn Spoto contributed to this report. (Star Ledger)

07-01-2006, 04:19 PM
Again - Star Ledger -

In case N.J. shuts down

Jon Corzine’s administration for a possible government shutdown, based on information from the governor’s office and other state officials yesterday:

Q. When could the government be shut down?

A. If Corzine decides ‘‘substantial progress’’ has not been made, he is expected to sign an executive order calling for the ‘‘orderly shutdown’’ of state government operations sometime this morning. (Government shutdowns were threatened, but not carried out, when the deadline was missed in 2002, 2003 and 2005.)

Q. What happens if Corzine decides to do it?

A. The New Jersey Disaster Control Act permits the governor to issue an executive order declaring a limited state of emergency that would allow him to keep a limited number of employees working — those deemed essential to health, safety or welfare, or to prevent damage or destruction of private property. The order would allow Corzine to bring people to work, but he would not be authorized to pay anyone until the shutdown is over.

Q. What could be affected in a shutdown . . .

• State parks, beaches and campgrounds? Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa Jackson said these facilities would not be closed until July 5.

• Casinos? Casino operators lost a bid in Superior Court to get state monitors declared ‘‘essential employees.’’ They filed an appeal and an appellate court ruled late last night it would not rule whether a casino shutdown was legal until the order is actually signed by Corzine. If the casinos lose the appeal and Corzine orders them closed, a shutdown would be phased in. Casinos want days, not hours, to enact the shutdown but is believed the administration will want it to occur within hours of the order.

• State Police? They will continue to patrol highways and local roads and investigations will continue. A shutdown would apply only to a limited number of staffers classified as nonessential.

• DYFS and Corrections? As with State Police, most employees are considered essential, but a limited number will be told to stay home.

• State lottery? As soon as Corzine signs the shutdown order, lottery dealers will stop selling tickets. But drawings will continue as scheduled for games in which tickets already have been sold.

• Public schools and colleges?
They will be open.

• Motor vehicles? The state centers where drivers can apply for licenses and get their cars inspected are expected to open as schooled this morning, but will close for the duration of the shutdown by noon, their regularly scheduled closing time. Should the shutdown extend through Monday, the centers will not reopen, and their status after the scheduled July 4 holiday will depend on the outcome of ongoing budget negotiations.

• New Jersey Network? The state-subsidized public television network will remain on the air, but will have a reduced staff working.

Q. Will tolls be collected on the Turnpike and Parkway?

A. Yes.

Q. Will people get their welfare and pension checks?

A. Families on welfare will have access to their money because half of the program is paid for with federal funds. The 30,000 childless adults on welfare under a separate state program may have trouble accessing their checks Monday. Pension funds are not part of the budget and those checks will be sent out, as will checks from federally funded programs such as Section 8 housing.

Q. Will state workers be paid retroactively for the days the government is shut down?

A. Yes — unless the Legislature votes to withhold that money. When the federal government was shut down by President Bill Clinton and Congress in 1996, employees were paid retroactively, even if they hadn’t worked during the shutdown.

Q. Will road construction projects continue?

A. Transportation Commissioner Kris Kolluri said he will immediately suspend work on 128 highway projects worth a total of $1.5 billion. ‘‘We’re going to secure the work sites and we’re going to shut the projects down,’’ Kolluri said. The commissioner said only 329 of his department’s 3,800 employees would be brought in to work in the event of a shutdown, and that the staff furloughs would mean there would be no DOT inspectors on the job to monitor construction work. Kolluri said his crews were spending yesterday and early today attempting to clean up flood-damaged Routes 29 and 46.

Q. Did legislators receive their paychecks?

A. Yesterday would ordinarily have been the first payday of the new fiscal year for 120 members of the Legislature and their staff members. (They get paid on the first day of the month they are about to work). Because of the budget stalemate, checks that ordinarily would have been available for pickup at the Statehouse were not available. For some lawmakers, who can choose to be paid for one year of legislative duty at the start of the budget year, the budget stall meant a delay in picking up a check worth $49,000.

07-01-2006, 10:49 PM
It is very possible that I will not vote for any of the boneheads that are now in office come Nov. , I will instead vote for the new guy . These so called politicians have to get the message they work for us and all this money belongs to us not them .

07-02-2006, 02:41 PM
Finallly - at the end of this article the Star Ledger FINALLY gives an indication of the economic impact of Corzine closing down the Casinos. Most New Jerseyans, unless the want to go their will probably say - who cares. Well when the Casinos alone bring in 7.3 million during the weekend - people should care that our governor is shutting this source of state revenue down.

Atlantic City casinos luck out with appeals court reprieve
Staff writer Rohina Phadnis contributed to this story.

Even though Gov. Jon Corzine signed an order yesterday directing casino gaming to stop after the state failed to get a budget by its constitutional deadline, the Boardwalk was teaming with people who are betting it’s an idle threat.

‘‘I don’t think they’re going to close,’’ said Rosemary Cicalese of Cranford.

'‘Look at the people here; there’s millions of people here. It would take forever to get the people out.’’

Russell Eisele, a security guard at Bally’s, recalled the summer of 2003, when then-Gov. James E. McGreevey threatened to close the casinos during a budget standoff with lawmakers.

‘‘We didn’t close then,’’ Eisele said. ‘‘Why would we close now?’’

When July 1 arrived with no state budget in place, the government had no money to pay casino inspectors and all gaming was to cease, according to the state constitution.

What amounted to a reprieve came about 1:30 p.m. yesterday when a state appeals court gave lawyers until mid-day today to file additional written arguments on whether casino inspectors should stay on the job while non-essential government services shut down.

Winnie Comfort, a spokes-woman for the court, said the appeals court granted the joint request by lawyers for the casino industry and the Corzine administration. Technically, that order does not guarantee the casinos will remain open until the court rules, but a lawyer for the industry predicted it would have that effect.

‘‘Our understanding is nothing is going to happen before that (a court ruling) happens,’’ said John Kearney, a lawyer representing the 12 casinos. ‘‘We take it one day at a time.’’

A shutdown could still materialize if the standoff between Corzine and the state Assembly drags on. But the gambling halls remain open and are expected to stay that way at least through July 4.

‘‘It feels like the process with the casinos is on a pace that looks like July 5,’’ Corzine said during an interview in his Statehouse office yesterday afternoon.

Corzine and his chief counsel, Stuart Rabner, said they would follow the court’s ruling on whether the casinos should close.

‘‘We’ll abide by the court,’’ Corzine said.

‘‘At this point of time, it’s in the hands of the court,’’ Rabner said. Alyce Parker, a spokeswoman for Harrah’s Entertainment, which owns the Harrah’s Marina, Bally’s, Caesars and Showboat casinos, said the threat of a shutdown has not kept gamblers away.

‘‘We’re finding absolutely no decline in overnight attendance or people coming for the day,’’ Parker said.

But the uncertainty left some casino workers on edge.

Frank Albertson, a maintenance worker at Sands, sat sunning himself on a bench after finishing his 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift.

‘‘The people working in the casino depend on that money,’’ Albertson said. ‘‘I hope they settle, for a lot of people.’’

A citywide shutdown would be the first in the 28-year history of casino gaming in Atlantic City. Its casinos have stayed open during labor strikes, blizzards and Hurricane Floyd, according to Dan Heneghan, a spokesman for the Casino Control Commission. He said a single casino, Caesars, was shut for a single day in November 1985 as punishment for violating gaming regulations.

Heneghan said commission chairwoman Linda Kassekert and staffers met yesterday with casino executives and city officials to discuss how to execute a shutdown.

‘‘The chair will conclude that review as quickly as possible, but until that time our inspectors continue to staff the casinos,’’ Heneghan said. ‘‘Our concern is to make sure this is done in a safe and orderly fashion.’’

Corzine said if the casinos close, that will be the legal consequence of the Legislature’s failure to pass a balanced budget by the deadline. As a result, he said, he is empowered to authorize spending only for ‘‘essential’’ government services.

‘‘Our casinos are not essential under the law,’’ Rabner said.

Kearney argued they are, both for the sake of the 47,000 people they employ and the $7.3 million in state taxes they are expected to raise over the long July 4 weekend.

Beyond the lost money, he said, is the black eye a shutdown would give Atlantic City.

‘‘It’s the reputational impact,’’ Kearney said. ‘‘What’s going to happen next July 4 th? Are tourists going to say: I’m not going to book my vacation in Atlantic City?’’

07-02-2006, 02:50 PM
My cousin's girlfriend was a Monmouth Racetrack yeatersday. I think she may work there.

Lottery players are big losers but tracks catch break

The Lottery machine line at the 24 Seven convenience store on Newark’s Court Street was thick yesterday afternoon with customers plunking down dollars and hoping for riches.

Then, about 8 p.m., the ticket terminal began flashing, ‘‘No traffic.’’ The last four customers in line were out of luck.

New Jersey Lottery sales across the state stopped under orders from the governor last night and thousands who had paid little attention to the politics roiling in Trenton suddenly realized what part of the government shutdown meant.

No Pick 6. No Jersey Cash 5. No Mega Millions.

‘‘What, we are not supposed to have fun,’’ said Teresa Torres, 63, as she savored her last few preshutdown scratch-offs at Vik Parikh’s corner convenience store in Bayonne.

The state shutdown also forced the Monmouth Park and Meadowlands racetracks to close at 6 p.m., and when the betting windows shut in East Rutherford, droves of angry fans trudged to the parking lot, cursing the governor and calling for rebellion.

‘‘It’s just unbelievable. It’s like communism, '’ said a stunned Marty Campagna of Rahway who was among the 2,400 people at the Meadowlands yesterday watching simulcast races until the televisions went dark at 6 p.m, in accordance with Trenton’s orders.

Then last night, Appellate Division Judge Stephen Skillman ordered that the ban on racing be lifted pending action by a threejudge appeals court panel. He gave lawyers for the state and for two organizations representing racing interests — the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association — until 2:30 this afternoon to file briefs with the Appellate Division of Superior Court.

‘‘At least for (Sunday), we are in business,’’ said Carol Hodes, a spokeswoman for the Meadowlands Racetrack.

The Meadowlands, she said, will offer simulcasting. Monmouth Park, meanwhile, will host both simulcasting and live thoroughbred racing, Hodes said.

Gaming is big business in New Jersey. Hopeful customers spent an average of $6 million a day last year on Lottery tickets in the state, generating about $800 million in annual state revenue, according to the state Lottery’s Web site.

Shuttering the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park racetracks for the holiday weekend would have cost the state about $1 million, said Dennis Dowd, senior vice president of racing for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

Silencing the Lottery machines will sock the profits of countless convenience store and gas station owners from Cape May to Clifton.

‘‘It will definitely be bad for business,’’ said Parikh, whose father, Gary Parikh, estimated that 60 percent, or roughly $70,000, of the store’s annual income stems from Lottery sales.

Aside from their direct revenue, Lottery machines act as magnets that lure buyers into stores.

‘‘People come here for the Lottery, then they buy a coffee, or a soda, or candy,’’ said Bharat Barot, who works at Krauszer’s on Bayard Avenue in New Brunswick.

Mo Tai, 23, manages VIP News and Things on Broadway in Bayonne and said t h e Lottery generates enough revenue each month to pay the store’s utilities.

‘‘Lots of people live off the commission of the Lottery,’’ Tai said.

While ticket sales have ceased, the state will continue Lottery drawings throughout the shutdown to honor tickets purchased in advance.

Most customers yesterday seemed unaware that the Mega Millions and Jersey Cash 5 tickets they were buying may have to tide them over for some time.

‘‘People don’t seem to know this is going to happen,’’ Barot said hours before the Lottery sales ban began.

Some Lottery agents also seemed unaware of the shutdown.

At the Metro News store in Newark’s Penn Station, Vipul Sodha, a manager, insisted tickets would be for sale tomorrow. ‘‘If it closes, we get a message in the machine, but it didn’t say anything,’’ said Sodha, 27.

If the Atlantic City casinos go dark in the course of the budget stalemate and the horse-racing officials’ appeal fails, there would not be a legal game of chance in all of New Jersey.

That could trigger problems for heavy gamblers, said Ed Looney, executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling.

‘‘It will force some anxiety,’’ he said. ‘‘When you have a disruption like this, people are going to say, ‘How can you shut that down? Shut down the government, but don’t close the Lottery.’ ’’

As she collected a few bucks in winnings from her scratch-offs in Bayonne, Torres predicted that seasoned players would find ways to wager.

‘‘If the lotto shuts down, people will start doing illegal things,’’ she said. ‘‘A gambler is a gambler. They will find a way to do something.’’

Staff writers Joe Ryan, Dunstan McNichol and Andy Belfiore contributed to this report.

07-02-2006, 03:25 PM
I don't support either sides plan to balance the budget. I say - eliminate things like funding for Stem Cell research. I don't have a problem with stem cell research - I just don't think the state government should be involved with it - it should be private enterprise. As I have also said repeatedly - bring tourists into the state, they cost less than this subruban sprawl is costing NJ. Tourists bring money from the outside into the state - money NJ would not otherwise get. Stop the sprawl!!! Thius is another form of money going out the window. All this consturction going on causes widening of roads, extra schools, etc. All this adds up to big money.

The politicians should be working at improving Newark, Camden, Trenton, etc and getting people to move back to the CITIES instead of to the country which is becoming less and less county and more exurbia! That brings me to another point I have mentioned before. STOP exporting our businesses to NY and making NJ into a commuter state. Attract businesses to NJ - so then New JERSEY can reap the full benefits of the taxes generated. Right now all the politicians - including Tom Kean Jr support that ridiculous one way rail tunnel into NY. And yes - when it comes to NY - you can hear the sucking sound as our money is drained from NJ into the coffers of NY. Enough is enough!

At center of the impasse, a battle of two strong wills

One is a former bond trader who climbed to the top of Wall Street amid high-stakes deals before spending his way into the governor’s office. The other is a political warrior who spent three decades battling his way up from small-time campaigns to the third most powerful position in state government.

Now it boils down to who blinks first.

Behind the first state government shutdown in New Jersey history there are policy and political differences over whether the state should increase the sales tax. But it’s also a test of wills between Gov. Jon Corzine and Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts, two Democrats who may be putting their political futures on the line in an unprecedented Statehouse standoff.

‘‘It’s brinkmanship. It’s nuclear conflict without the warheads. You get into an impasse like this and it’s important to demonstrate your toughness, resolve and fortitude,’’ said Ross Baker, a Rutgers University political science professor. And, he added, ‘‘These two guys are not necessarily conciliators by nature.’’

For both men, risk-takers who have a relationship that has run hot and cold, it could be a matter of political survival.

Corzine, the Trenton outsider who was elected last year to clean up a fiscal and political mess in Trenton, says an unpopular sales tax increase is necessary to get the state’s fiscal house in order before tackling New Jersey’s property tax crisis this summer.

He’s looked to another CEO turned politician — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg — as a role model. Bloomberg made unpopular decisions such as raising property taxes early in his term, but eventually was credited with turning his city around and ultimately earned re-election.

‘‘This was a defining moment for Governor Corzine,’’ said Senate Majority Leader Bernard Kenny Jr. (D-Hudson). ‘‘The governor is exercising his prerogative as chief executive and he’s demonstrating courage and leadership. I think he became the governor this week.’’

Roberts, a 19-year Statehouse veteran who captured the speaker’s job last year after years of fighting for it, wants to use a payroll tax hike, cuts and other fiscal maneuvers to balance the budget. He says a sales tax increase — if enacted at all — is unacceptable unless ‘‘every single, solitary penny’’ is dedicated to reducing property taxes.

He finally won the speaker’s job after leading the Democrats as they expanded their majority to 49-to-31 last year. But key swing districts are in South Jersey, and a tax revolt could endanger vulnerable Democrats allied to Roberts — which could jeopardize his position as speaker.

‘‘He thinks it’s worth it,’’ U.S. Rep. Robert Andrews (D-1 st), a Roberts ally, said of the speaker’s gamble. ‘‘Joe Roberts sincerely believes the sales tax is a bad idea. Obviously there’s a political consequence. Joe thinks the majority is at risk.’’

Throughout his career, Roberts has been closely aligned with George Norcross III, a friend, former business partner and Camden County’s Democratic power broker. Roberts said he has conferred with Norcross, a skilled political tactician, on this latest skirmish.

‘‘We talk a lot,’’ he said.

Roberts was in the Legislature when his political mentor, Gov. Jim Florio, raised taxes by $2.8 billion, triggering a tax revolt and costing Democrats control of Trenton for more than a decade. With polls showing voters oppose the sales tax hike by nearly 2-to-1, Roberts says he is determined not to make the same mistake.

When Corzine first entered politics six years ago, he and Roberts were adversaries. That’s because Corzine faced Florio in a bitter Democratic primary during which he criticized the former governor for raising the sales tax.

But the two eventually became allies as Corzine poured nearly $1 million into Norcross’ political action committee. Just seven months ago, Corzine and Roberts stood on a stage on Election Night, hoisting their joined fists in the air in a moment of shared triumph.

Earlier last year, Roberts and Norcross helped solidify South Jersey support for Corzine to keep then-Gov. Richard Codey out of the Democratic primary.

During the campaign, however, secretly recorded tapes from a state corruption investigation emerged that exposed Norcross’ blunt, take-no-prisoners political style and his boast that he held sway over Corzine. Corzine quickly distanced himself from Norcross and his ‘‘pressure politics.’’

Now, Corzine is casting the shutdown as a battle between his desire to make tough decisions and the politics of Trenton insiders who wrecked New Jersey’s finances.

‘‘I am prepared to compromise and I have,’’ he said yesterday. ‘‘But there will not be a continuation of the practices of the past that leave New Jersey practically in the same (fiscal) shape as the Katrinaravaged Gulf states.’’

Roberts has sought to cast Corzine, the former Goldman Sachs CEO, as someone indifferent to the public, saying he’s been ‘‘intractable’’ on the sales tax.

‘‘The people of this state are paying a very dear price for his singular focus on the sales tax as the only way to balance the budget,’’ he said.

No matter the outcome, the political repercussions may last.

Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, who was elected with Roberts’ help but is now in Corzine’s corner, said there is speculation among Democrats that the political rupture could lead to a coup to replace Roberts as speaker. DiVincenzo said the party is in the midst of a civil war.

‘‘To me , it shouldn’t come down to a north-south thing, but it appears that it is,’’ he said.

Roberts and his allies say the caucus would never turn on him for seeking to protect their own political interests.

‘‘Joe will emerge from this stronger than when he went in,’’ said Andrews.

Both men insist their differences are not personal and say that despite their tough public talk, their meetings are cordial.

But Baker questioned how well they will be able to work together, especially as Democrats this summer seek to tackle property tax reform, which could decide the fate of the party’s control of Trenton. ‘‘These guys are involved in hand-to-hand combat,’’ he said, ‘‘and the scars could be very long-lasting.’’

Staff writers Josh Margolin and Joe Donohue contributed to this report.

Stop treating New Jerseyans like the serfs of Feudal Europe!

It's time to get people into office who actually care about New JERSEY! But the question is how, when new Jerseyans seem to vote based on stupid natiopnal issues like the "war in iraq", or abortion, or stem cell research. Everyone says they are sick of property taxes, well it's been an issue in NJ since the late 1800's. I don't forsee it going away anytime soon, becauise the only thing the stupid politicians can think of is "let's raise taxes!" It doesn't matter if it's the sales tax or the employment tax or the inclome tax or tax on frigging cigarettes - it's still the same song - "Let's raise Taxes!". Well I say - enough is enough. Trenton gets enough of our money - it's time for them to start using OUR money wisely and stop acting like this feudal Europe where they felel they can just take our money to support their wanton misuse and pet projects! I call on ALL New Jerseyans to send a message to Trenton, write, e-mail, call their offices. Bug the hell out of them until they listen and don't fall for their lame soundf bites either. If you get a form letter in the mail stating all their accomplishments, you know right away they don't care about you as a voter, they only care about getting reelected!

As it says in the above artilce - it's time for a rebellion in Trenton!!!

BTW - isn't it ironic that all this would take place over 4th of July weekend? We as Americans rose up against the British because of wanton misuse of government power and taxes. It's time for a similar rebellion against Trenton and our politicians.

07-02-2006, 03:54 PM
No end in sight for budget stalemate

Unable to reach a budget agreement with members of his own divided party, Gov. Jon Corzine yesterday ordered a step-by-step government shutdown for the first time in New Jersey history.

Corzine, his demeanor grim, said at a morning news conference he had no choice but to close down non-essential state operations after he and Assembly Democrats failed to agree on a balanced budget by yesterday’s 12:01 a.m. deadline, as required by the state constitution. Without a budget, the state has no authority to spend money.

The shutdown follows a week of political brinkmanship between Corzine and Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden), who opposes the governor’s plan to plug a billion-dollar budget gap with a penny increase in the state sales tax.

‘‘It gives me no joy, no satisfaction, no sense of empowerment to do what I’m forced to do here,’’ Corzine said. ‘‘And there will be people who do not receive the attention that they rightfully deserve from our state government. I don’t like it. Others don’t. And we will do everything we can to bring this to a short conclusion.’’

Corzine’s signature on an executive order just after 9:30 a.m. led to the immediate furlough of about 45,000 state employees across 31 departments, agencies and authorities.

By 10 a.m., work on non-emergency highway projects was ordered stopped. By noon, Motor Vehicle Commission offices had closed.

Until a budget is adopted, the state Lottery is out of commission. The last tickets were sold just before 8 p.m., drawing an angry reaction from players accustomed to a daily date with scratch tickets and pick-’ems.

‘‘It just doesn’t make any sense,’’ said Rachel Harris, 68, a retired teacher who spent about $30 on lottery tickets at a Newark convenience store ahead of yesterday’s moratorium. ‘‘They’re taking away from our recreation.’’

Lottery drawings will continue for those tickets already sold.

Horseracing at Monmouth Park was suspended at 6 p.m. At the Meadowlands, it never got started, with last night’s slate of 13 live races and simulcast wagering canceled. The tracks are not permitted to operate without state inspectors.

Last night, however, a judge lifted the ban to allow two groups representing horse owners to challenge it in court. A spokeswoman for Meadowlands Raceway said it would reopen today for simulcasting and that Monmouth Park would resume its racing.

State parks, beaches and historic sites were scheduled to shut after the Fourth of July weekend. Along the Garden State Parkway yesterday, digital traffic signs flashed the message: ‘‘All state parks and historic sites closed as of July 5.’’

Corzine’s order would also idle state casino inspectors and halt gambling at the 12 Atlantic City casinos — but they received at least a one-day reprieve. The casino industry challenged Corzine’s move in court, and yesterday afternoon a state appeals court gave lawyers 24 hours to submit additional written arguments.

The extension had been requested by both the casino industry and the Corzine administration, said Winnie Comfort, a spokeswoman for the courts. The delay makes it unlikely the three-judge appeals panel will issue a decision before tonight at the earliest.

Corzine, in an interview yesterday afternoon, said it appeared the casinos would not close before Wednesday.

Facing the first grave crisis of his six-month tenure, Corzine stressed that essential state services will continue, saying, ‘‘The shutdown doesn’t mean that everything is going to come to a grinding halt.’’

State Police will continue to work, as will most employees of the state Division of Youth and Family Services. Prisons, veterans homes and psychiatric hospitals will remain open. In all, nearly 35,000 employees will work through the shutdown, though they won’t be paid until a budget is in place.

Corzine, a former Goldman Sachs chief executive who made New Jersey’s fiscal troubles a key plank of his gubernatorial campaign, framed the shutdown as a principled stand against previous administrations’ legacy of ‘‘fiscal games, gimmicks and mounting debt.’’

‘‘I am absolutely committed to signing a budget that is fair, a budget that is honest, and a budget that restores stability and integrity to New Jersey’s finances,’’ he said.

He elaborated on the theme later in an interview, saying that for too long state government decisions have been swayed by special interests, individual preferences and a quest for power.

‘‘It’s about how business is done,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s about how budgets were formulated. It’s about how agreements to have compromises were put together. It’s an issue of change.

‘‘While I don’t think (the shutdown) is a good outcome, we ought to get budgets done well before deadlines,’’ he added. ‘‘Proposals ought to be vetted broadly with the public about major policy considerations — not in the dead of the night, not in backroom deals — but with people actually having to argue their case in public forums.’’

Corzine has insisted an increase in the state sales tax — from 6 percent to 7 percent — will do the least harm to the economy and to taxpayers.

But the proposal has run into vehement opposition by Assembly Democrats, led by Roberts.

The Assembly speaker and his allies last week vowed to bring forward an alternate budget without a sales tax increase. Corzine said he would likely veto it, though he added he would study such a bill if it were presented.

Corzine has publicly warmed to a compromise, offered by Senate President Richard Codey, to use at least half of the revenue raised by a sales tax hike for property tax reform, but Roberts has not embraced the idea.

Yesterday, a dispirited Codey called the stalemate ‘‘the most unfortunate budget situation I have seen in my 32 years in the legislature.’’

‘‘I think there’s a lot of blame to be placed around,’’ Codey said. ‘‘We all have to share in it regardless of where we are on the issue.’’

Four times over the past five years, the state has missed the July 1 deadline for a balanced budget, and while governors have threatened to shut down state operations before, they have never carried out those threats because no budget was adopted later than July 2.

Now in uncharted waters, no one could say how long the shutdown would last. Codey yesterday reported ‘‘no real progress’’ between the warring Democratic factions, though he said he, Corzine and Roberts were expected to meet this afternoon.

Corzine and Roberts spoke only briefly by phone yesterday, to make arrangements to meet today.


07-02-2006, 03:54 PM
Roberts — who spent most of the day yesterday hunkered down in his second-floor office at the Statehouse, a bottle of Tums on his desk — ordered the Assembly Budget Committee to meet this morning in Trenton. He said the committee would seek to pass a budget that can be presented to Corzine and that members should be prepared to work through tomorrow.

‘‘We believe it is essential for that process to be fast-tracked and for the budget committee to work around the clock,’’ Roberts said. ‘‘We’re in crisis mode now, and I think we need to redouble our efforts.’’

Separately, Codey said he would call the full Senate into session tomorrow.

Roberts, who remains opposed to a sales tax increase, criticized Corzine for the shutdown yesterday, calling it a ‘‘drastic’’ and ‘‘unnecessary’’ step.

‘‘This will have an adverse impact on so many New Jerseyans . . . as well as state employees who will have their lives disrupted in ways that are enormously unfair,’’ he said.

The shutdown also will take an economic toll on the state.

Dennis Dowd, senior vice president of racing for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, said shuttering the tracks for the holiday weekend would have cost the state about $1 million.

Closing the lottery will be even more costly. Players spent an average of $6 million a day on lottery tickets last year, generating an average of $2.2 million per day in revenue for the state, according to the state Lottery’s Web site.

Casino executives, meanwhile, estimate a closure would cost the state about $1.2 million a day. The holiday weekend alone was expected to generate more than $7 million in gaming revenues, they said.

In the hermetically sealed environment of the casinos, however, the news barely registered. Gamblers continued to roll the dice, place their cards on felt tables and spin the one-armed bandits. Almost to a person, they called it unlikely the state would shut down such a lucrative source of revenue.

Michelle Busman, a Staten Island resident visiting Atlantic City with her mother, had a more unusual take.

‘‘I had already lost my money,’’ she said. ‘‘If they shut down, they’d do me a favor.’’

Staff writers Mark Mueller, Jeff Whelan, Dunstan McNichol, Robert Schwaneberg, Deborah Howlett, Maryann Spoto, Nyier Abdou and Paola Loriggio contributed to this report.

I find it funny that Corzine keeps stating the same mantra over and over again - "fairness" and not being "swayed by special interests". Was it fair to only lay-off NON-union workers? But then again - the union boss sleeps in his bed so I guess their you have your answer!

As for the state parks and historical sites being closed, they are already in a severe mess. The state keeps cutting their funding over and over again and NOW they are shut down during the height of the toruist season! Ths is unconscionable. As many of you know - I am VP of Princeton Battlefield Society (http://www.SavePrincetonBattlefield.org) which is the Official Friends Group of Princeton Battlefield State Park and I see how New Jerseys rich history is falling apart becuase of the mismanageement and lack of funding coming from Trenton!

07-02-2006, 04:00 PM
By the way - there is a site that analyses voting records of politicians and then grades them on whether they are dictatorial, hands off, etc. Corzine is acting true to colors, the site which I had looked at before he was elected, graded him as a dictator. I think his actions with this shutdown prove that it's his way or no way. He does not compromise!

People actually tell me I should run for office, even going so far as to say I should run for governor. The sad thing is - I would never get elected in New Jersey, because I actually care about the state. Also, the NY and philadelphia news soruces would never carry what I had to say because I would state flat out that the time for NY and Phialdephia pushing NJ around was over.

07-02-2006, 04:30 PM
This article is from the Trentonian...

Don’t call ‘em clowns - it’s unfair to clowns

Column by Carl Barbati - TRENTON -- With Democrats controlling the governor’s office and both houses of the state legislature, the constitutional deadline for a new budget was missed and now the state is shutting down and becoming the laughingstock of America.

Laughter? It would be easy to call our governor and legislators a bunch of clowns.

But that would be unfair.

Unfair to clowns.

On the whole, clowns are an admirable lot. They show up on time, do their jobs, get paid and go home.

Yes, of course there’s an occasional bad clown in the bunch, but that could be said of most professions.

In general, clowns aren’t out to rip you off at any opportunity and clowns aren’t known for doubletalk or misappropriations or outright thievery.

Our governor and legislators look ridiculous, but please don’t call them clowns.

Most of us have deadlines built here and there into our jobs, and we hit the deadlines or we get fired.

The folks in the statehouse have nobody to answer to. Answer to the voters? Yeah, right. That’s a good one. The state constitution? Hey, it’s only paper.

Democrats in the legislature - mostly in the assembly - can’t stand the thought of campaigning for reelection if they approve Gov. Jon Corzine’s sales tax increase from 6 percent to 7 percent.

So, that’s the sticking point.

Supposedly, the two sides are miles and miles and miles apart, yet somehow they will reach an agreement in the next few days.

And that agreement will be a doozy.

They’ll all agree on some kind of badly-written budget document that will contain millions and millions and millions of dollars of needless spending.

The budget document will be hundreds of pages long and everybody will vote on it without ever reading it.

That’s what happens every year: needless spending and voting on something they haven’t read.

Usually, it happens in the final dramatic minutes before the deadline hits. Or even a few hours after the deadline, making it even more impossible for anybody to read the thing before they vote on it.

The only thing each of them will know about it before they vote on it is that their own pals and buddies and special interests are taken care of, either out in plain sight or hidden in the recesses of the budget document’s gray areas and bad grammar.

Somewhere in this year’s budget, just like every year’s budget, will be laughable spending on insanely useless things. Maybe $100,000 here for a ceramics festival or $200,000 there for a research project on butterflies..Millions a year are spent on such atrocities, and the longstanding suspicion has always been that our politicians were getting a healthy cut out of each dollar amount.

Okay, so these are small amounts in the big picture of Corzine’s proposed $31 billion spending plan.

But, a million here and a million there make the world (and the pockets) go ‘round at the statehouse.

So, here we sit this Sunday morning: The governor and the legislators acting silly and foolish over a one percent sales tax increase that would add an extra $1 billion to the state treasury.

Meanwhile, all the other trickery and convoluted language in the budget will live on. I’ll let you throw one in if you let me throw one in. You get your ceramics festival and a road project to be named later and I get my butterfly research and a couple more no-show jobs.

We’ll all squabble a bit over this sales tax increase, but no matter how that works out, it’ll be business as usual over at Pete Lorenzo’s steakhouse as soon as we can get out of this stuffy old statehouse.

"I’m going to shut down the government," says Corzine. "No you won’t. We dare you," say the state senators. "We double dare you," say the state assembly members. "You’re all jerks," Corzine says. "No, you’re the jerk," say the legislators. "No, you’re the jerks." "No, you are." "No, you are." "No, you are." "No, you are."

No wonder the country is laughing at New Jersey. Please send in the clowns.

Carl Barbati is editor of The Trentonian.

I do have a problem with this article though - none of the problems are laid at the voters feet. Last time I checked - we do live in a democracy. I do believe we had elections in November. People freely elected these clowns into office. New Jerseyans continue to elect the same people over and over again. I say the citizens of this state get what they deserve. I have a friend who says that New Jerseyans obviously aren't hurting enough to vote these people out, once that happens then you will see a change, The thing is - I travel around the state a hell of a lot - and people aren't taking their outrage to the polls - their picking up and LEAVING the state. This has very real consequenses for NJ, in our representation in Congress, in our level of wealth (let's be real here, the people who make the most - who everyone wants to tax to death - have the greatest level of mobility to leave and they do and they are). People are sick of the New Jersey government, but instead of getting involved and getting out there and doing things, they merely leave. I had high hopes for New Jersey, and I still love the state, but the government frankly sucks.

I also find it funny - or sad - that the legislators who are against the very open 7% sales tax, have no problem sticking the citizens of NJ with numerous HIDDEN taxes that won't affect their reelection. I have news for them - a tax is a tax.

07-02-2006, 04:32 PM
By the way - there is a site that analyses voting records of politicians and then grades them on whether they are dictatorial, hands off, etc. Corzine is acting true to colors, the site which I had looked at before he was elected, graded him as a dictator. I think his actions with this shutdown prove that it's his way or no way. He does not compromise!

People actually tell me I should run for office, even going so far as to say I should run for governor. The sad thing is - I would never get elected in New Jersey, because I actually care about the state. Also, the NY and philadelphia news soruces would never carry what I had to say because I would state flat out that the time for NY and Phialdephia pushing NJ around was over.

You got my vote!

07-02-2006, 06:30 PM
You got my vote!
Why thank you - I'll add you to my list of supporters. :)

Here is another article from CNN.com...

Budget crisis to close Atlantic City casinos
Legislature fails to adopt budget by July 1 deadline
Sunday, July 2, 2006; Posted: 5:51 p.m. EDT (21:51 GMT)

TRENTON, New Jersey (AP) -- Atlantic City's casinos were ordered to close Wednesday, the latest casualty of a state government shutdown that entered its second day Sunday after the Legislature failed to adopt a budget by its July 1 deadline.

The head of the Casino Control Commission ordered gaming in Atlantic City to cease at 8 a.m. Wednesday -- the day after the July Fourth holiday -- if New Jersey fails to enact a budget by then.

Atlantic City's 12 casinos, which require state monitoring, have waged a court battle to remain open, and an appeals court was weighing the matter Sunday. There was no word on when a ruling would be made, courts spokeswoman Winnie Comfort said.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine said Sunday there was "no immediate prospect of a budget." State parks, beaches and historic sites also were expected to shut down Wednesday.

If the casinos shut down, the state would lose an estimated $2 million in tax revenue each day they stayed closed. Republican Assemblyman Francis Blee, whose district includes the casinos, said it was important for them to remain open.

"We will have tens of thousands of individuals, real people, that are going to be hurt by this," he said. "There will be bread-winners who are not bringing home a paycheck."

Corzine shut down nonessential government services Saturday after the Legislature failed to adopt a budget by its July 1 deadline, leaving the state without the means to spend money. Budget talks became heated this year as Corzine, a Democrat, proposed increasing the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to help overcome a $4.5 billion budget deficit.

Most Democrats in the Assembly and several Senate Democrats oppose the sales tax increase, fearing voter backlash and reserving any tax increase for property tax reform. Assembly Democrats proposed a series of alternatives, some of which Corzine accepted, but both sides remained $1 billion apart as the budget deadline passed.

About 45,000 state employees were furloughed Saturday. Corzine's order allows him to keep 36,000 state employees working without pay. Services such as state police, prisons, mental hospitals and child welfare were to keep operating.

The lottery and road construction projects were among the first to close. A state appellate panel on Sunday ordered horse tracks closed at the end of business Tuesday. It was not immediately known Sunday whether the horse racing industry would file further appeals to keep harness and thoroughbred tracks open past July 4.

Corzine was expected to meet in private Sunday with top Assembly and Senate leaders. Assembly Budget Committee members were called to the Statehouse and were discussing alternatives to a sales tax increase, panel chairman Lou Greenwald said.

The Senate is scheduled to meet on Monday, and Senate President Richard J. Codey has told senators to be ready to stay in session until a budget is adopted.

"Let's get on with getting this problem solved," Corzine said while touring a state police dispatch center in Hamilton on Sunday, emphasizing he couldn't "sign a bill that doesn't exist."

Republicans, the minority party in both the Assembly and Senate, have expressed frustration.

"I'm appalled that this reached this stage," said Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance, R-Hunterdon. "It is very unfortunate that the Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in the Legislature could not achieve a budget in place by June 30, and now all the people of New Jersey suffer as a result."

Some lottery sellers -- and many customers -- were surprised to learn that the games were being put on hold until the budget impasse is resolved.

"People will be angry, but we can't do anything about it," said Umesh Patel, 40, owner of Deli Delight in Ewing. "I don't know how long it's going to be, so let's just see what happens next."

07-04-2006, 06:30 PM
Hi Jersey Devil, This is really most unfortunate indeed. While they cannot reach an agreement the state is losing money. The casinos are closing down tomorrow because their appeal to stay open has been denied. Imagine 36,000 state employees working without pay? Parks, racetracks, road construction, all are being halted. So far no agreement has been reached. It is interesting to note that many people are going to Philly to purchase lottery tickets. Corzine wants a tax increase to 7% which will only net about 1 billion dollars. What will happen to the government officials who are not working? They may lose their homes. How unfortunate for parks and beaches to close. I have a feeling that an agreement is not going to be reached soon enough to avoid disaster for the state. Infact the entire economy could collapse. Corzine has allowed this to happen. He could see the deadline coming up. I am willing to bet he still gets paid. He has been in office long enough to show the stuff he is made of. Marianita:mad:

07-05-2006, 01:57 AM
Marianita -
All employees will be getting paid after the budget passes - whether they were working or not. So basically New Jerseyans will be forking over a hell of a lot of money for work NOT performed, inaddition to losing money because of the lottery, casinos and state parks being closed. it really is a double whammy. Not only that though - if fewer people go tot eh casinos or vacation in New Jersey because various attractions or sites are closed, they don't spend money at hotels, they don't spend money at restaurants, they don't spend money on gas. All these businesses and more are affected!

The thing that gets me is that democrats only know of one thing to do and that is raise taxes. They're rejecting the 7% sales tax that corzine wants - but instead are proposing an increase in the income tax. Sorry to tell these folks in trenton - a tax is a tax is a tax. Isn't NJ taxed enough? I mean really - what do we get out of our money from Trenton? They tell New Jerseyans over and over again - "this tax increase will solve the budget problem and we will never have to go through this again" Well here we are again. When are New Jerseyans going to demand more from our politicans. I say enouygh is enough. Stop treating New Jerseyans liek the serfsa and picking our pockets for their mismanagement and pet projects. Star bringing in REAL money into the state and they will then see the coffers of New Jersey filling with money. Here is another suggestion - nix the 85 million dollar stadium that the TAX payers of New JERSEY are payign for the New "York" Red Bulls in Harrison. Tell them to foot their own bill. :mad:

N.J. lawmakers meet amid shutdown
Atlantic City's casinos may be closed
Tuesday, July 4, 2006; Posted: 7:34 p.m. EDT (23:34 GMT)

TRENTON, New Jersey (AP) -- Legislators opposed to Gov. Jon S. Corzine's proposal to raise the sales tax rejected a compromise sought by the governor Tuesday and began devising their own budget plan, which might involve an income tax increase.

Corzine had hauled lawmakers in to work on the July Fourth holiday, imploring them to end a budget standoff that has shut down many government services, while Atlantic City casinos fought to keep from being dragged into the dispute.

Members of the state Assembly budget panel planned to spend the night crafting a new plan, said Speaker Joseph Roberts Jr.

Tuesday's special session came three days after Corzine started shutting down state government because lawmakers missed the July 1 constitutional deadline to approve a new budget. Without a budget, the government can't spend money.

"Make no mistake, people are being hurt and unfortunately more will be hurt in the days ahead," the governor told the lawmakers.

The state lottery, road construction, motor vehicle offices, vehicle inspection stations and courts already have closed. More than half the state work force -- 45,000 people -- was ordered to stay home on Monday. Lost lottery ticket sales are costing the state $2.2 million per day, according to the state treasury.
Closing casinos

If no deal is reached, state parks and historic sites would be closed Wednesday along with Atlantic City casinos, which are required to have state regulators on duty.

It would be the first time casinos have been forced to close since Resorts opened its doors in 1978 as New Jersey's first casino-hotel. In the intervening years, they have always managed to keep the doors open, even if it meant shoveling snow, fortifying entrances with sand bags to protect against ocean waves or putting CEOs to work flipping burgers during labor strikes.

Casino operators, whose arguments were rejected by the state Supreme Court in one effort to avoid the budget crunch, lost in a lower court again Tuesday after asking to avoid being shut down as a side effect of the state's problems. An appeal was planned.

"It's uncharted territory," said Joseph Corbo, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey. "We'll obviously try to control it as best we can under the circumstances."

Roberts said he asked Corzine to avoid a casino shutdown by declaring state regulators "essential" employees, or by allowing state police to monitor gambling.

But the governor's emergency powers don't allow him to deem casino workers essential to the health, safety and welfare of state residents, said Stuart Rabner, Corzine's chief counsel.

Some gamblers said they didn't understand why the state would close the casinos during a budget crisis when gambling provides so much in-state revenue -- $1.3 million per day, according to the state Casino Control Commission.

"Why close it down when you could just do your job and put the budget together. That's what they're paid for," slots player Jerome Harper, 42, of Philadelphia, said Tuesday of state officials.

The dispute between the governor and his fellow Democrats who control the Legislature centers on his plan to increase the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to help overcome a $4.5 billion budget deficit for his $31 billion spending plan. The proposal would cost the average New Jersey family $275 per year, according to experts.

Corzine had urged the lawmakers to approve a compromise plan rejected Tuesday. Offered by Senate President Richard J. Codey, it would have used half the $1.1 billion raised by his sales tax increase to ease the state's property taxes, among the nation's highest.

Only 15 of 49 Democrats in the state Assembly supported the compromise, Robert said.

Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew said a new plan may involve a proposal to increase the income tax for those earning at least $200,000 per year. In the past, Corzine has rejected proposals to increase the income tax.

Ahh yes - the old tax the rich scheme. Let's see - you over tax the rich beyohd what is fair and they just merely move out and you lose their tax revenue completely. People who can already move out have been - msotly middle class at this point because proterty taxes and killing them. let's see how much the politicians can decimate the lives of New Jerseyans - so far their do a pretty damn good job at it. Does anyone KNOW where all this money that Trenton gets goes? Remeber - under Jon Corzine's budget the citizens of New Jersey fork over 31 billion dollars of their hard earned dollars to the state - that 2 billion more than last year - goes? going by 8 million population - that's roughly $4,000 for every man, woman AND CHILD in the state of NJ! Also remember, that doesn't include any of your local governments expenditures and hence local taxes, such as property taxes.

07-05-2006, 04:00 PM
Well it's official - the casinos are closed, thousands out of work and millions being lost in revenue each day. I just want to clarify my statement above, only STATE employees would be getting a paycheck after the shutdown. There is no guarantee that the waitresses, etc who work the floors of the casino would be getting a pay check.

New Jersey casinos close doors
Budget talks at a stalemate, as government shuts down
Wednesday, July 5, 2006; Posted: 11:29 a.m. EDT (15:29 GMT)

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (AP) -- New Jersey's casinos ushered the last of the gamblers away from slot machines and tables Wednesday, and janitors locked the doors behind them as a state government shutdown claimed its latest victims.

In the first mass closure in the 28-year history of Atlantic City's legalized gambling trade, all 12 casinos were dark.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine addressed the Legislature at the Statehouse Wednesday morning, defending his position as a stalemate over the state budget entered its fifth day with no deal in sight.

Corzine wants to raise the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to close a $4.5 billion state budget gap. Lawmakers oppose the tax increase, estimated to cost the average New Jersey family $275 per year.

When the Legislature missed its July 1 deadline to pass a state budget because of the dispute, Corzine ordered the government shut down.

"It is deplorable that the people of this state are left in such a painful position," Corzine told the Legislature Wednesday. "The people of New Jersey have every right to be angry.

The closure of the Atlantic City casinos is a particularly hard hit. They have a $1.1 billion payroll, and the state takes an 8 percent cut -- an estimated $1.3 million a day. (Watch how the budget mess can get worse -- 2:02)

But with no state budget, New Jersey can't pay its state employees, meaning the casino inspectors who monitor the money and whose presence is required at casinos are off the job and the casinos can't operate.

State parks and beaches were also closed Wednesday because of the lack of staff.

Fewer than half of the state's employees -- about 36,000 in vital roles such as child welfare, state police and mental hospitals -- remained on the job, and they were working without pay.

The doors to the Boardwalk side of Caesars were locked by janitors. An announcement came over the public address system telling gamblers the casino was closing. Doors directly to the Trump Plaza Hotel casino also were locked. At other locations, access was open to hotel-casinos, but gaming floors were roped off, with guards standing nearby.

"It's like last call at a bar. It's a little bit eerie," said Michael Trager, 36, of Cincinnati, who was playing a video poker machine at 10 minutes to 8 a.m. when an attendant told him to conclude his bet. "They said, 'That's it, you gotta cash out. We're closing."'

At Bally's Wild Wild West casino, a sign at the entrance read: "We apologize for the inconvenience. We will resume casino operations as soon as a NJ state budget resolution is reached."

"I can't understand how they can't find a solution to the budget," said Frank Cannatella, 65, of Staten Island, New York, an overnight guest at Trump Plaza.
Governor, his party at odds

Assembly Democrats worked through the night on a new budget proposal that could be introduced Wednesday, but the governor, without being specific, dismissed alternatives. He called them "a patchwork quilt of unknown, untested and unvetted ideas that we hope will once again simply get us to the finish line."

Atlantic City police spokesman Lt. Michael Tullio said it was quiet Wednesday morning in town after the shutdown.

Up to 15,000 casino employees are out of work because of the closings, and that number could double if the casinos remain closed through the weekend, according to Robert McDevitt, president of Local 54 of UNITE HERE, a labor union that represents rank-and-file casino hotel workers.

The gamblers were well aware of the loss for the city.

"They're going to lose a lot of money," said Jerome Harper, 42, of Philadelphia, who was playing the slots at Resorts Atlantic City. "It's bad. Why close it down when you could just do your job and put the budget together? That's what they're paid for."

Ruth Dodies, 77, of Philadelphia, stood at the entrance of the Trump Plaza Casino, simply staring at it.

"I never thought this would happen," she said.

My cousin keeps saying "NJ is a great state." with a ton of sarcasm. The thing is - NJ is a great state - if we were to get rid of the inept politicians we have running the government at this time. I say OUT with the legislature and OUT with the governor. The only thing they know how to do is spend and tax.

07-05-2006, 08:51 PM
Hi Jersey Devil, I sort of figured that the government officials would get paid later. That won't help them now though. The people of New Jersey have endured high taxes for a long time. And that stadium project needs to go. It is spending like that that lead up to this problem in the first place. Naturally if the money is spent on things like that when there is a deficit things are not going to get better any time soon. I too am against the sales tax increase because I don't think it will solve the problem. It never solves financial woes to continue spending. The stadium can wait. I believe the casinos are now closed and the parks and beaches. They will lose money so that is counterproductive. If some agreement is not reached soon, things can only get worse. Corzine only knows, tax this and that. But he continues to spend. I don't believe the people of New Jersey are going to put up with this much longer. Marianita

07-06-2006, 01:47 PM
it's interesting to note that the most searched on phrase from search engines which brought people to the messageboard was "impeach corzine". No one wants the sale tax increase and what codey is recommending is a bait and switch tactic. Raise the sales tax to 7% with half of it going to property tax relief. Okay - let's explain this to codey and the other legislators and the governor - if you raise taxes in one area and give it back in another - we have not come out ahead. You have NOT given us anything. You have merely transferred the burden from property taxes to sales taxes. Also, they're so called compromise would also add the sales tax to currently tax exempt items - such as computer servies, seasonal rental properties - ie shore rental homes, etc. We seriously need to send a message to them - CUT SPENDING!. CUT funding to things like "stem cell research" - which the private sector should be managing, cut the deal with the ungrateful New "York" Red Bulls- that woiudl save $85 million right there.

07-06-2006, 06:26 PM
Hi Jersey Devil, I read in the news at NJ.com and our local paper that the casionos are shut down and thousands are out of work. I totally agree that an increase in the sales tax will only shift the tax burden elsewhere. Nothing will be gained untikl spending is halted. Moving money around does not solve the problem. There is a huge deficit because of spending. But an agreement of some kind needs to be made and quick as things are getting out of hand. As for Corzine being impeached I am sure it will eventually happen, hopefully not too late to save the state of New Jersey. I am truly concerned. The state could go broke. I discussed it with my administrator at work and he said it is very bad when something like this happens. Nothing good can come of this unless the spending stops. Marianita

07-06-2006, 09:01 PM
Cozine and his boys and girls MUST go ! Come Nov. I will remember this day when the democrats and corzine celebrated reaching a budget deal after screwing N.J. once again by raising our sales tax . I wil not vote for any democrate in Nov ! They had the balls to stand at the podium and celebrate and congratulate each other after thousands of New Jerseyians could not go to work for a week . I say we celebrate in Nov. when we vote these S.O.Bs OUT of office ,then we can ask them how it feels to be without work .:mad: P.S. I am very happy I did not vote for corzine! Think my man Forrester is getting a good laugh now?:lmao:

07-06-2006, 10:40 PM
I'm with you NJPride. I made no secret who I thought would be better for NJ. What I find really ironic is that they were going on about how the budget mess is because of out of control spending - I believe it was the Star Ledger or Trenton Times which laid it at McGreevey's feet - but yet they didn't consider cutting this spending. They obviously support the spending - well of course they do - since they were the ones that apporved the past budgets - they are the ones that got NJ into this mess and then they merely tax the citizens of this state more.

I also lay much of the blame with NJ voters - as I have made no secret here. I was at a toastmasters meeting and someone had said about being happy the agreement when through and it was good for the governor and that the beaches could now reopen. Beaches reopen? The beaches were the least of the problems - it affected all of two beaches - NOT ALL the beaches. I really question whether New Jerseyans really have any idea of what goes on in this state. I swear - the citizens of New Jersey go around with blinders on when it comes to Trenton. :roll:

07-06-2006, 11:27 PM
Hi NJPride, So the sales tax went through. I was afraid of that. Ofcourse we already knew the stuff Corzine is made of. He only knows tax this and tax that. Well, I am sure not voting for him (or I wouldn't) and I have already talked to ''Jersey Rich'' and he sure isn't voting democrat either. talk about getting screwed. a 7% sales tax. Like that is going to fix the budget when spending is the problem. Thousands were without income all week but you can bet that Corzine was getting paid and he pretends his heart is aching for the citizens of New Jersey. And you know what? The reason Corzine pushed for the sales tax is because he did not know what else to do. There are always options if one will only think. like quit spending. I am willing to bet that the stadium deal goes through because Corzine seems to want it. As for McGreevey, he should have tried to work on the budget deficit also. There will always be a deficit as long as there is someone like Corzine in office to spend money. the tax payers money. Marianita:mad:

07-06-2006, 11:39 PM
Corzine wanted to raise spending by$1.7 billion. The Republicans had a plan to cut spending by $2.2 billion that he ignored.


He wanted his tax increase and he was going to stomp on every one of us to get it.

07-06-2006, 11:44 PM
Corzine wanted to raise spending by$1.7 billion. The Republicans had a plan to cut spending by $2.2 billion that he ignored.


He wanted his tax increase and he was going to stomp on every one of us to get it.
Welcome Keymanjim. Not only did the republicans plan get the cold shoulder, Corzine and his cronies in the assembly acted like NJ was a one party system The republicans weren' talked to at all. nothing was discussed other than the Corzine plan or the Codey plan. Codey's plan basically won and they just made NJ MORE expensive to live in. So much for listening to the people of this state. Come November - I hope the tax increasing democrats are out of a job and I hope Corzine soon follows.

07-07-2006, 03:05 AM
Hi keymanjim, I say, it sure will be expensive living in New Jersey now. I am glad that people can return to their jobs but this should have never happened anyway. For heavens sake, July 1st was the deadline and Corzine could see it coming. A lot of damage has been done. The only way to take care of the deficit is plain and simple. Quit spending. By the way I saw Corzine on our local news tonight and the city of Trenton. I wish I were in Trenton now. Corzine acts as if he has scored a huge victory for the people of New Jersey. I do not think he will last another 4 years. Lord I hope not. Marianita

07-07-2006, 06:18 PM
New Jersey has its own Axis of Evil now Corzine , Codey and Roberts . They are the Evil Empire . Maybe I should call my friend Pres. Bush and ask him to liberate New Jersey . This would be easy and ALOT less expensive then invading Iraq or Afganistan . He could start with shock and awe on Trenton using planes from Maguire Airforce base , then follow it up with missiles from the most decorated battleship in U.S. naval history BB62 The USS NEW JERSEY along with the submarine the USS Ling . Then when N.J. needs to be occupied the soldiers can come from Fort Dix and Fort Monmouth . I would be there to greet them as liberators with cold beer and pizza . :D

07-08-2006, 02:05 AM
Hi Jersey Pride, It would not do much good to for President Bush to go in and liberate New Jersey. New Jersey can only be liberated when some decent politicians come in who really care about what is going on. There have been a series of politicians who have been much like Corzine. In the meantime the situation worsens because these politicains do not know how to run things or they are dishonest. For one thing the state deficit is huge. Anyone knows that spending is not the answer. The main objective should be to spend only what is needed and concentrate on eliminating the deficit. It is all well and good to spend money to enhance the state but not now. Moving money from one place to another won't solve the problem. The increase in the tax will only cost the tax payers more and could hurt the economy. Think of the money that has been lost this past week while Corzine sat there with his buddies unable to come up with something better then increasing the tax. And don't think Corzine cannot be impeached because I know he can. And I believe he cannot last 4 years.Anyone knows that spending must be decreased for now to handle the deficit. It seems to me that Corzine could come up with nothing better. Well, we will see what happens. Marianita

Jersey Warren
07-08-2006, 11:34 AM
I think New Jerseyans blew their chance by rejecting Brett Schundler at the polls a couple of years back. His record as mayor of Jersey City was excellent and I think he could have turned New Jersey around.

They say that people get the politicians they deserve, but it would help if more New Jerseyans got their news from a press that cared about the state, not the New York or Philadelphia media.

07-08-2006, 10:42 PM
Hi Jersey Warren, I do not think New Jersey deserves the politicians it has had over the years. But other places get them too. One of our govenors went bye bye a few years back because he was recalled.I have often heard it said that politicians are a crooked bunch but I am sure there are some some ones too. Now that man Brett Schundler would have been good and I wonder why he was not elected. It rather surprised me that he wasn't what with his good record and all. When Corzine was elected I was hoping he would work on the property taxes and the deficit. I am sure the sales tax increase will not make too much difference in the property taxes. With only half of it being used for that, it just isn't enough. New Jersey is the most densely populated state. It was a bad decidion to make and I wonder if Corzine could'nt have come up with something else. Marianita

Jersey Warren
07-10-2006, 02:08 PM
Hi Jersey Warren, I do not think New Jersey deserves the politicians it has had over the years.

Hi Marianita! ;)

You are right, of course. Maybe if New Jersey had a stronger local press that covered New Jersey better, the people would have the information they need to choose better governors and legislators.


P.S. I hope you REALLY enjoyed your trip! :)

07-13-2006, 01:19 AM
Hi Jersey Warren, I think the people of New Jersey need to really read up on people who are up for election and find out what they have done in the past. I myself did when the terminator was up for election here. lol. Anyway Corzine will be a goner come Nov. lol. My trip to New Jersey was quite magnifcient. I was completely at home again. Each and every day was great. My day in beautiful Medford was unforgettable,. they had a festival and I had the time of my life. There were gatherings with friends around the pool , carefree relaxed conversations, much laughter and fun. My little granddaughter would get off her school bus to run and meet me. She says I am the best grandma in the world. And there's the excirement of the ''New Jersey baby'' due in Sept. The baby boy will be born in Mt Holly. Cape May was awesome. It was all I could have wished for. Take care. Marianita:)