Record snowfall prompts New Jersey bill to protect workers

minimum wage increase

image source city-data.com

After record amounts of snowfall in New Jersey this winter and many lost sick, vacation and personal days a bill has been introduced to protect workers. Senator Barnes (D-Middlesex) has proposed legislation preventing employers from requiring NJ employees from using sick, vacation and personal time when a state of emergency is called. Recalling many of the poor road conditions during this winter, Barnes believes workers should be able to make their own decisions on travel without fear of retribution or loss of sick/vacation or personal time. Exempt from the bill, police, fireman and other public safety employees. Employers who violate the bill would be subject to a fine of up to $5000.00 for the first offense and $10,000 for subsequent violations.

What issues do you believe stand in the way of the bill’s passage? Calling a state of emergency has been very broad this winter, covering a small snowfall of 4 inches to a foot. Leaving it up to the workers discretion on “when it is safe to drive” or being comfortable with the conditions, will many just stay home when the state of emergency is called? When lifted, will then the employee be required to depart for work?

Don’t get me wrong, I am for this legislation. This issue has been on the table many times this year and in previous years. Attempting to work out a reasonable solution with employers has not been easy and with some hasn’t been worked out at all. Let us wait and see if Senator Barnes is successful in getting it through the legislature. I doubt though that Governor Christie will be on board.

Raising the Federal minimum wage, New Jersey is the truth meter

unemployment

image source: marketmixup.com

Raising the minimum wage will cause job losses! This the fear statement coming from the Right-Wing and their media mouthpiece Fox News. In November, New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved raising the minimum wage in the state to $8.25 an hour (with cost of living). So to accept the “fear statements” from the Right-Wing as fact, one would think that employers across New Jersey would shed jobs moving into the New Year. What we saw was not the exodus to the unemployment office. December saw New Jersey’s unemployment rate decline to 7.3%, lower by .5%. This the second largest one month decline in New Jersey history!

To beat the Right-Wing to the punch, this is what they will be saying. The .5% decline in unemployment was from the workers no longer looking for work, leaving the workforce. Let’s take that into the equation to entertain the nonsense. The .5% left the workforce but, the unemployment number did not increase!

Nationally there is a push to increase the minimum wage and the FEAR language has been coming hard. Fox reports a loss of 1 million jobs if the minimum wage is increased. Looking at New Jersey as 1/50 of this equation this statement would appear FALSE.

We must focus on the unemployment number in New Jersey in the month’s ahead to get the truth of the effect of raising the minimum wage. What we are looking for? A stable number would solidify the Rights claim of job losses to be a lie.

George Norcross hand picks successor to Rob Andrews seat, the Dems are all lining up

image: insurancejournal.com

image: insurancejournal.com

Democrats have held the 1st District Congressional seat for the past 39 years (Jim Florio/Rob Andrews). When Andrews announced his resignation, the Democratic Party Machine or the George Norcross machine’s first name, Donald Norcross. Yes, George’s brother. Following up in typical South Jersey political fashion, they all have lined up. From State Senate President Steve Sweeney, Camden Mayor Dana Redd to departing Congressman Andrews have all thrown their support behind Donald Norcross. What makes Donald Norcross the man for the job? Well if you know anything about South Jersey politics, because George said so!

In time we will evaluate Donald Norcross and whoever else dares to run against him in a primary (if there is another). Only one other name to date has shown on the radar, former Eagles linebacker Republican Garry Cobb. What credentials does Cobb bring to the table? None in the political sense. But he certainly has name recognition, which is something. Could he possibly challenge and win the 1st District seat? The last outsider another former Eagle Jon Runyan managed victory though in a Republican district. I for one have much interest in this coming election. Can 39 years of Democratic rule be overthrown? More importantly can George Norcross’s wishes be defeated?

In short-time we will know if another Democrat will take on Donald Norcross. If we get one, I am throwing my support behind them. The state of South Jersey and the 39 year political machine’s wishes speaks for itself. We need change. I as a Democrat want to support the party that aligns with my beliefs. If the nominee is Donald Norcross without challenge, I will rethink this. ENOUGH! Big time and non-elected George Norcross is not doing anything for the voters best interest only his.

New Jersey to bring casino to Camden? You must be joking!

NJ internet gambling

Gaming and online casinos

This afternoon on talk radio 1210, it was announced that NJ Senate President Sweeney was looking into the possibility of a new casino. The possible sites, Camden or Newark.
Considering the state of the Atlantic City Casino industry this is a scary proposal and more scary if tax dollars are used. First for Camden, the poorest city in NJ, why would we want one there? Competition from Philadelphia alone should disqualify but we must also take a hard look at crime. The most dangerous city in America, who would possibly go there? Newark is not much different in regard to crime as well, but would make a bit more sense just by geography.
I can hear the promises of economic growth and success, just as they promised in Atlantic City. The bottom line, too many casinos already in the region would make it a waste of tax dollars. Can one not remember the money thrown at the Revel? Far from a success.

Tax-Freeze coming to New Jersey, get serious!

The much praised tax-cap of Governor Christie could be headed to a tax-freeze. Reading that Senate President Steve Sweeney desires a push for legislation for a Zero-Cap or tax-freeze doesn’t excite me or my wallet. Sweeney believes this legislation would be a push for towns to share services. Police, fire or any other functions of local governments. Considering local governments managed to get around Christie’s cap through re-evaluations, what success would ZERO bring? It all sounds good but at what cost?

minimum wage increase

image source city-data.com

Local towns and their citizens, would they be willing to lose their identities to save money? The glaring example that there is little interest in shared services, The Camden County Police Force. Yes the wonderful move made by government with the Metro Division that services Camden City. What other towns participate in the County Police Force? That number would be ZERO! So in the wonderful democracy that we call New Jersey, the next step would be to squeeze (or starve) other towns into submission. Cutting off the ability to raise funds to honor police, fire, teacher contracts? Yes this is what could happen under tax-freeze legislation. Towns/Cities will be forced to make some tough choices.

You can’t have your cake and eat it too. The reality is that state employees do cost taxpayers. State employees are also taxpayers. Forcing towns into shared services will reduce payrolls and increase those on unemployment, food-stamps and other aid. The bottom line is this, if the taxpayers are outraged, let them deal with their own towns elected officials. Big Brother Trenton has screwed up this state and now on the backs of the little people they will spin make-believed success that they tackled the property-tax issue. Who will take care of the waste that takes place in Trenton?  The biggest of offenders?

Corrupt Governor Christie, finally called out by Democrats! NJ suffers by lack of GUTS!

Long before bridgegate, and the Obama embrace on the beach, who knew the Christie Administration was corrupt and bad? I did! Click the tag in this article, long before it was cool to be bashing Governor Christie, I WAS! And I was in the minority, at least in the sense of voters and much of the media. So where were all these scandals and victims of Christie’s hard nose or play and Ill take the ball away politics? Where was Hoboken’s mayor Dawn Zimmer when her complaint would have really mattered? (prior to Christie’s re-election) Or the special investigations called for by the Assembly? (bridge lane closures in September) Or the complaints against Christie’s Sandy commercial featuring him and his family? (began late spring) Now only weeks back an investigation began for this misuse of funds.

Who really is the victim? ALL OF NEW JERSEY! The Democrats of the state were again asleep at the wheel, or was it corruption? We might never know and we will never know the impact of all these investigations if they were to have happened prior to November’s election. No wonder Barbara Buono the democratic challenger was pissed off at her party after the election. Further quantified by all the above. Maybe we need a special investigation into the Democratic Party and their lack of GUTS!

It is all below and it was written long before it was “COOL” to bash Governor Christie! And yes I was the first to coin “Governor Hamburger”

http://defenderofthemiddleclass.com/tag/governor-christie

 

protest Gov Christie

car magnet $10.00 GET yours by emailing paul@defenderofthemiddleclass.com

 

source: www.flickr.com

source: www.flickr.com

 

Artist: Dan Stoner

Artist: Dan Stoner

 

artist: Dan Stoner

artist: Dan Stoner

 

gov.christie

image source:www.leighvalleylive.com

 

Chris Christie

artist: Rebecca Betzler

 

Where do you stand on Governor Christie’s proposal to extend school year?

schools in NJ

picture: Rebecca Betzler

Governor Christie’s State of the State had one interesting proposal,” extending the school year”.  Christie pointed out the obvious failures of public schools in New Jersey, the state-run Camden and Newark districts. It all boils down to if we are preparing our children for success and will we be competitive with neighboring states and ultimately the world in the future.

The longer school day? Is longer better? Adding time to the school day certainly does not guarantee a better education. How would children respond to a longer day, are they equipped for a 8 hour school day? Maybe making more of the school day would be a better start. High School as we know allow students to choose a study hall or even two! Is this making the most of the school day?

Adding to the school year to go beyond 180 days. Another Christie idea and one that I am sure would be met by many a parents complaints on infringing on the family vacation. Heck my first question would be will the state mandate that all schools have air conditioning? I for one can’t imagine a young student having an open, clear mind to learn if the temperatures in the classroom are 95 degrees!

Christie should start here> A mandated summer curriculum of Math, Science, English and History, that would be graded and be a part of the next school year. Students would continue to learn and expand their skills while also still having summer fun. The cost to the taxpayer would be minimal (materials/grading when they return). The program would be universal throughout the state by grade level. Maybe even a way of seeing how each grade/school is performing. The next logical step would then be eliminating standardized testing during the year. By eliminating standardized testing the students would gain back valuable time in the classroom being wasted on preparing for and taking these tests.

Christie’s last State of the State?

artist: Dan Stoner

artist: Dan Stoner

Today, Governor Christie will give his state of the state address. Expected? Christie will tout his bi-partisan success in turning around NJ. Unemployment is tracking down, finally below 9%. Maybe even the economic success in tourism last year despite Hurricane Sandy.
What we will not hear? Bridgegate, Christie’s use of federal funds for a “tourism ad” or anything related to any scandal within his administration.
Although it took a long time for the Feds to look into his use of Fed relief money for what amounted to a campaign ad, it has now begun. Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone asked for this way back in August 2013. So why is it now being looked in to? One can only guess, incompetence? More important issues to take up? Christie was not a threat at the federal level? Who knows.
The bottom line, Christie is up shit’s creek without a paddle. Despite the deflection attempts by the right-wing, Christie is done and this might very well be his last State of the State. He might want to steal some more funds from FEMA to get that paddle he desperately needs.

The Right-Wing attempts to bail-out Governor Christie

When the heats on their guy how does the Right-Wing Media respond? Point to the “other” guy! This seems to be the plan in the wake of Governor Christie’s bridge-gate. Bill O’Reilly rolling out Bernie Goldberg to downplay the Christie controversy, calling it just a traffic jam? Moving on to issues in the Obama Administration, comparing Benghazi? Complaining of unfair coverage? O’Reilly is not alone in the RW attempt(s) to move the direction of the conversation away from Christie. Hannity, 1210 a.m. radio in Philly (multiple broadcasters) are attempting to direct the conversation away from the severity of the actions within the Christie Administration.

Time will tell us (hopefully) the real truth, as pages upon pages of information have been released in bridge-gate. Bridge-gate is not only about retribution. We can also include lost economic dollars, the production of those workers who lost time waiting in traffic. What about the wasted resources? Yes the gasoline burned away, sitting and waiting in that one lane traffic nightmare. Nobody seems to be talking of this, is it important? What of the wasted time of Governor Christie himself, defending himself? Christie hit the nail on the head in the statement of calling it stupidity. If he is part of the stupidity he should be run out of office. For the retribution and the waste of it all. Because isn’t this what he claims he has fought against for the last four years?

It is impossible to stay away from the attempts to misdirect, just don’t buy it! This is a big deal make no bones about it.

Governor Christie a bully? That’s news!

gov.christie

image source:www.leighvalleylive.com

Bridge-gate, if you did not know anything about it you sure do now. Emails that have made it to public knowledge, have top Christie aides discussing what sure looks like retribution/punishment against Fort Lee’s mayor (not endorsing Christie). Initially Christie denied and now he backtracks, throwing his aides under the bus, stating he was misled by staff. Christie calling the behavior outrageous and he knew nothing about it. Considering this occurred in September I question the reporting surrounding this entire scandal. Why would it take this long for such information to come to light? Why would top democrats not dig deep from the onset to root out the shenanigans? Were they afraid of the bombastic Christie and what closures he could create in their own towns?

“The bully” who runs New Jersey has finally lost his luster, month’s too late. What everyone LOVED about him is now what they are whining about? The Star Ledger (the former endorser of Christie) who is on board with the credible news outlets in hammering Christie? Screams this question to be asked, “why is your paper in the business of endorsing?” You should have done your investigating when the story was important, to all who reside in New Jersey.

Christie a bully? It took this long for you to finally get it?

New Jersey’s minimum wage increase, an opportunity to collect data

image source: ehow.com

image source: ehow.com

Now that the voters have spoken, raising the minimum wage by one dollar to $8.25 per hour, should the discussion be over? We have the unique opportunity after January 1 to begin gathering data on the impact of the increase. Prior to election day we heard the opponents of raising the minimum wage say, “it’s a job killer, small business will suffer, etc.” The proponents pointed to states with higher minimum wages and lower unemployment. Vermont for example has a higher minimum wage that will increase again January 1 to $8.73 per hour. Very notable, tipped employees minimum wage is $4.23 per hour  (New Jersey $2.13). Unemployment in Vermont as of Aug 2013 stood at 4.6% and has been lower than 6% since January 2011. During this same period New Jersey’s unemployment has been 9% or higher. The opponents of raising the minimum wage were using fear that unemployment would get worse with an increase. “Now is not the time” . The fear tactic obviously was ignored.

Gathering data for possible future fights to increase the minimum wage in other states and the federal standard will begin. This task is an important one and the data will provide others with the tools needed to push the wage up further. New Jersey’s economy is currently not good, making this even more interesting. If unemployment goes down and the economy improves, Governor Christie will be patting himself on the back, not pointing to this modest increase.

As for the tipped-employee and $2.13 an hour? The last attempt by the NJ Legislature to raise to $2.90 was unsuccessful. Fear again the winner. ”It will crush Mom and Pops and local small restaurants”  Can we look toward Vermont’s tipped minimum of $4.23 and make the same argument that increasing the wage does not correlate to higher unemployment? We can get some real facts in the coming months and maybe again Legislators will take another shot at an increase.

Up 23% Christie looks to be a sure thing, another 4 years of a TEPID economy

christie hamb dogNew Jersey heads to the polls today to elect their next governor. Polls have the incumbent Governor Christie ahead by 28%. Do the polls tell the true story and do you think they influence voters to stay home. Possibly even swaying the election to the side of the candidate who is ahead?

Polls depending on “what and how a question is asked” can be misleading. In New Jersey, voters opinions on the economy, jobs and taxes, Christie gets a 41% approval. Asked if do you like Governor Christie, 61% approve. Taking these numbers in hand and more likely than not being of weak mind, votes vote or stay home. Staying home could be catastrophic for New Jerseyans! Democrats swayed to Christie’s side or moved not to cast a ballot might be quickly changing their opinion of Christie if left with a Republican Legislature. What we could find is what Wisconsin is under Scott Walker. Anti-union, Right to Work and above all, a state that favors business and the rich.

We will see if the results and the polls match. If they do we can only hope that voters go to the polls and vote for the best candidate for our economy. Sure personality is great for clips on You-Tube and news casts, but with little else to offer, New Jersey is heading to another four years of TEPID ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE.

New Jersey voters, vote YES to raise the minimum wage

image source www.copyright-free-images.com

image source www.copyright-free-images.com

Tuesday’s election in New Jersey, the most important election in recent years? It will be to approximately 41,000 and a vote of YES on ballot question #2. The question to raise the minimum wage to $8.25 an hour. Also important, the future of the issue on minimum wage. In the proposed question is built-in cost of living for future increases. This will take the politics out of minimum wage moving forward.

The importance of raising this standard is not just for those 41,000 workers. “Rising tides raise the ship” a quote we have heard many times are applicable to the minimum wage as well. By voting YES, many other workers in lower paying jobs will receive a boost as well. To the opponents who are saying this is bad for New Jersey? Where will the increased wages go? Back into the economy, buying necessities. Those getting this raise aren’t getting rich, just the chance to provide a little more for themselves and their families.

Governor Christie, lacking leadership on the most important of issues.

image source:http://egb63.wordpress.com/2008/11/04/

image source:http://egb63.wordpress.com/2008/11/04/

The final days push to election day in New Jersey has the campaign coffers from both candidates fully open. Spending money on commercials to influence the undecided voters of the state. What we will hear will be the “facts” according to the candidates. Governor Christie who is ahead in some polls by 20% has the advantage of name recognition, much more money and Hurricane Sandy. Using this tragic event in one of his campaign commercials in the attempt to show his leadership skills. One can say, the advantage of being the incumbent.

The disadvantage to being the incumbent, the previous years of governing. Christie’s New Jersey ranks 44th in the nation when it comes to job growth, a record he is also attempting avoid in another campaign commercial. In his job growth commercial Christie claims New Jersey has seen the largest private job sector growth ever. If we were to take the commercial at face value, how is the 8.5% unemployment explained? Christie in boasting the private sector job growth is comparing his administration to prior ones of the past not making apples to apples comparison to the rest of the nation.

We also have examples of his failure to lead. Christie has punted the ball on the minimum wage issue and this will be a ballot question on election day. Voters will decide on increasing the minimum wage as well as future increases tied to the cost of living index. Christie previously vetoed legislation and the Legislature continued to support the issue, creating the ballot question. Another glaring failure to lead example, same-sex marriage. Christie also vetoed legislation on this, suggesting a ballot question. The State Supreme Court decided the issue for Christie.

Leadership, a quality that Governor Christie is claiming is his strongest attribute. The reality, Christie conveniently leads, avoiding the decisions that are contrary to the National Republican Party. The truth behind his campaign commercials? Little, but with plenty of money Christie will pump the airwaves in the coming days to push his version of truth. Are voters buying words or are they interested in facts.

Governor Christie and the use of NJ tax dollars for his presidential bid

image source:http://egb63.wordpress.com/2008/11/04/

image source:http://egb63.wordpress.com/2008/11/04/

Step 1 of Governor Christie’s plan to win re-election in New Jersey is over with Corey Booker winning handily over Steve Lonegan. Christie’s $12 million dollar special election a steep price for taxpayers but as he said “I don’t care what it costs”. To avoid sharing the ballot with a Senate race and also to avoid large Democrat turnout, the move by Christie would look to be the right one considering the results. Moving on to the next and final step on November 5, Christie’s election day.

Step 2, looks to be shaping up to be rather easy for Christie. Heading into the final weeks, Christie still has a commanding lead. But as they say, “it only matters on election day.” so one must hope that voters show up to the polls and remember. Remember the fear that Christie has in his heart. Yes fear! The big tough-guy who spent $12 million of your dollars, in avoiding VOTERS. Christie is popular for his say it like it is style and his tough-guy persona, so where was it here? Christie cannot stand on his record and to add to his failure list, same-sex marriage. This week the State Supreme Court shot down his bid of a stay and he still will be heading to court. Wasting more of taxpayer money! It doesn’t matter what side of the issue you are on, the ruling by the court pretty much covers Christie’s future results on the issue. So why his he spending your tax dollars on litigation? On his political standing in IOWA. 

So on election day voters need to remember the very recent history of Governor Christie. WASTING MONEY of the New Jersey taxpayers, twice in a mere few weeks  to appeal to the national conservative base.