New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Senator Tom Kean’s Remarks on Behalf of the Republican Caucus Opposing Today’s Override Attempts

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Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. made the following statement on the floor of the Senate in opposition to attempts to override the Governor’s veto of unaffordable tax legislation:

Thank you Mr. President for the opportunity to speak on the motion.

As the Senate President is well aware, Republicans have supported these bills. We like them. We were even the first ones to sponsor some of them. That is not at issue here.

What is at issue is that we don’t have the money to pay for them. We do not have 167 million dollars that OLS estimates these bills will cost.

To pass legislation we cannot afford isn’t helpful to job creation. It is a continuation of the same fiscal recklessness that has made New Jersey one of the most unaffordable places in America to live, work, or open a business.

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Senator Tom Kean

Tom Kean: Toolkit Reforms Could Save Police, Fire Jobs

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Responding to today’s statehouse protest staged by unions representing police and firefighters, Senator Tom Kean, Jr. called on Democratic leaders to schedule votes on the remainder of Governor Christie’s toolkit reforms in order to help local governments retain public safety personnel:

“Senate Democrats aren’t hiding out in another state like their counterparts in Wisconsin, but they may as well be given their lack of action on toolkit reforms that could save the jobs of brave police and firefighters,” Senator Kean stated. “These reforms will free up money in municipal and county budgets to help comply with the property tax cap while maintaining essential public safety personnel. Every protester who came to Trenton today should ask the Majority why they scheduled yet another voting session without a single toolkit bill scheduled for passage.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Tom Kean: “Democrats Choose Political Theater Over Property Tax Relief”

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March 3rd Agenda Fails Taxpayers, Again

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) today said that Democrats’ failure to post remaining toolkit legislation for a vote during the Senate’s March 3 voting session puts election year politics ahead of New Jersey property taxpayers:

“Rather than vote on ways to help property taxpayers, Democrats have chosen to use the Senate’s time to pick an election year fight with the Governor,” Kean said. “The Legislature’s calendar has been hijacked for political theater instead of taking on the significant challenges facing our state. Rather than scheduling override votes on bills they cannot pay for or trying to one up the Governor on tax cuts proposed in his budget, Senate leadership should be holding votes on the toolkit bills they’ve ignored for a year.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Republican Senators Stand United Against Tax Increases

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A letter signed by all sixteen Republican members of the New Jersey Senate announcing their opposition to any attempt by Democrats to insert tax increases into Governor Christie’s proposed FY 2012 budget was sent to Senate President Stephen Sweeney today.

The text of the letter follows:

Dear Senate President Sweeney,

Yesterday we learned that for the third year in a row New Jersey residents carried the highest tax burden in America. While clearly undesirable, this distinction should not be a surprise to anyone.

For far too long New Jersey’s answer to its problems was to throw money at them. In the eight years prior to Governor Christie’s election, taxes were raised 115 times to fund $11 billion in spending increases and a doubling of the state’s debt. It’s hardly surprising then that the state has lagged in population growth, seen among the highest job losses in the region, and was rated the worst place in America to employ workers during that time period.

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Senator Tom Kean

Tom Kean: “Pension, Healthcare, Toolkit Reforms Will Yield Property Tax Relief”

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Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) today praised Governor Christie’s budget proposal for addressing major drivers of local property taxes: healthcare and pension costs for public employees.

“Pension and health benefits reform for public employees does not just impact the state’s budget, ” said Kean. “The conveniently overlooked story by the Governor’s critics is that reforming these overly generous benefits systems will yield substantial and, in the case of health reform, immediate savings to local government. The Governor’s budget featured sustainable property tax relief by demanding swift enactment of meaningful pension and benefits reform, which are major drivers of municipal, county, and school district budgets. Property tax payers should not be asked to pay for a system of benefits more generous than they themselves receive.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Tom Kean: “Governor’s Budget Is All About Jobs”

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Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) issued the following statement on the Governor’s budget:

“Governor Christie presented New Jersey with a budget that creates permanent, private sector jobs by forcing the state to live within its means and not balance wasteful spending on the backs of businesses. Restoring sanity to our state budget is the most powerful action we can take to put people back to work- far more effective than any cleverly named, haphazard package of one-shot legislation.

“I am exceptionally pleased the Governor has made Senate Republicans’ priority of increasing school aid his own this year. School budgets are the single largest part of New Jersey’s property tax burden, and the Governor’s proposed $250 million increase in aid is welcome relief- particularly in long-shortchanged suburban districts.

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Senator Tom Kean

Tom Kean: “Tenure Reform Shifts Education Focus to Outcomes”

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Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) said that Governor Christie’s proposed changes to teacher tenure will bring a much needed focus on student outcomes to public education:

“Current tenure protections provide no incentives for excellence in the classroom and no consequences for failure,” said Senator Kean. “A system of career promotion based solely on seniority and length of service serves neither the interests of teachers who care about their jobs nor the students who are entitled to a thorough and efficient education. Governor Christie’s proposed tenure reforms are pro-teacher, pro-student, and bring the focus of education policy in New Jersey where it truly belongs- educational outcomes for our children.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Democrats Admit Their Civil Service Bill Falls Short, Won’t Save Money

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Senate Minority Leader Calls for Vote on Governor’s Conditional Veto

“…even if the governor signed the bill, it would not instantly lower property taxes.”
-Asw. Linda Stender (D-Union), The Record, 2/15/2011

“Voters must be allowed to decide whether their towns will keep civil service or chuck it. There is room for a deal on other civil service issues, but not that one.”
The Star-Ledger, 2/14/2011

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) called on Senate leadership to schedule a vote on Governor Chris Christie’s conditional veto of civil service reform. His call comes on the heels of Democrat admission that their changes to the civil service system will not result in savings for property tax payers:

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Senator Tom Kean

Give New Jersey Kids a Chance to Escape Failing Schools

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The following editorial by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean appeared in The Star-Ledger on February 10, 2011:

Most communities in New Jersey are blessed with great schools, good teachers and a local district that prepares children to enter the work force or go to college. By and large, New Jersey public schools produce good outcomes for the majority of their pupils.

But in a handful of communities — our state’s poorest and most dangerous — children and their parents face dire circumstances. Despite billions of dollars spent on education in these cities, their schools are failing nearly every student day in and day out, each and every year, with no end in sight.

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Senator Tom Kean

Tom Kean: “State Bond Rating Downgrade Shows Costs of Legislative Delay”

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Responding to news that Standard and Poor’s has downgraded the State of New Jersey’s bond rating, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) issued the following statement on the Senate Majority’s failure to address needed financial reforms in last year’s legislative session:

“Standard and Poor’s sent a clear message to Legislative leadership today- get serious about reform,” said Senator Kean. “Pension reform, employee benefits reform, and other measures integral to fixing our state’s finances were put on the table last year by Governor Christie, but were left untouched by Trenton Democrats. This is an ambitious agenda, but one necessitated due to eight years of spending, borrowing, and dishonest budgeting by the very same legislators dragging their feet on reform today. The taxpayers are once again the victims, as more of their tax dollars will now be spent on interest and debt service instead of improving their communities.”

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