Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean made the following statement about the uncommonly courageous leadership shown by Governor Christie in dealing with a $2.3 billion budget gap left by the past administration:
“It’s been years since New Jersey has had a governor who will talk about our state’s fiscal problems with decisiveness, honesty and courage,” Senator Kean said. “After less than two months in office, the governor has come up with a plan to close a $2.3 billion budget gap without tax increases, furloughs or disruption of our state’s schools.
Measures Would Protect Retirements of Rank-and-File Public Employees, Require Government to Meet Its Obligations
Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney and Senate Republican Leader Thomas Kean announced that bipartisan legislation to complete the unfinished business of reforming the state’s public employee pension and benefits system first begun nearly four years ago was formally introduced last night in the Senate.
The four bills would return the pension and benefits system to its original goal of ensuring the retirements of rank-and-file public employees and constitutionally require government to meet its annual pension obligations.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean of Union County introduced a Senate resolution today urging the NFL to select New Jersey as the location for Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014. The NFL owners’ Super Bowl Advisory Committee allowed the Meadowlands Stadium Co. to place a bid, waiving the traditional requirement that host stadiums have a minimum outdoor temperature of 50 degrees or an indoor stadium.
“New Jersey offers the best venue for the Super Bowl, period,” Kean stated. “We have the image, logistics and ambiance that is unparalleled in the world and the millions of diehard fans in this region would do everything in their power to make Super Bowl XLVIII the biggest, most talked about game in the history of the NFL.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Senate Republican Budget Officer Tony Bucco and Senator Kevin O’Toole issued the following comments regarding the announcement by Senate President Steve Sweeney that pension and benefits reform would be a top priority.
“My colleagues and I are all-too-aware that the pensions and benefits systems are unsustainable at the current time,” Kean stated “This effort will build on the bipartisan cooperation on pension reform that was successful in the last legislative session. It is vital that we complete the process of identifying and implementing necessary reforms to ensure that rank and file employees’ retirement funds are safeguarded.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said he is pleased by executive orders that Governor Chris Christie signed today to revive the state’s economy, help businesses create jobs, and bring refreshing openness and accountability to government.
“These steps show that New Jersey citizens have chosen well and voted in a man of character and decisiveness,” Senator Kean said.
“On his first day on the job, Governor Christie used his first executive orders to take absolutely critical steps to get New Jersey’s economy moving and create jobs,” Senator Kean said. “He showed we have a governor who will pay more than lip service to openness and accountability in government.”
Senator Joe Pennacchio and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean congratulated Governor Christie for making the Transparency in Government Act among his first Executive Orders. The Executive Order, which has the force of law, will create a searchable, easy-to-use Web site that taxpayers can use to track government spending.
“It’s been more than a year since I introduced this vitally needed legislation, yet without a full court press from former Corzine Administration, it failed to pass during the last session,” Pennacchio stated. “Today with the stroke of his pen Governor Christie made transparency in government the order of the day.”
Autistic adults and children will be protected from discrimination because a bill championed by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean of Westfield was signed into law today. The bill amends the state’s law against discrimination so that autism disorders are recognized causes of disabilities.
“Autistic residents will now receive the same protections as other disabled citizens from discrimination in access to housing, employment and public accommodations such as theaters, stores and restaurants,” Senator Kean said.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean hailed Governor-elect Christie’s selection of Bob Martin as Environmental Protection Commissioner and former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler as Education Commissioner. These Cabinet-level positions are among the most important positions in the state, and Christie has chosen well, Senator Kean said.
“With these nominations, Governor Christie again has demonstrated his deep understanding of the most important needs of our state and his willingness to wholeheartedly embrace the change we need in Trenton,” Senator Kean said.
Senator Joe Pennacchio, prime sponsor of the Transparency in Government Act, and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean urged Governor Jon Corzine to use all his influence to help win passage of the Transparency in Government Act during the lame-duck session. This bill, which is also sponsored by Senate President Richard Codey, will create a searchable, easy-to-use Web site that taxpayers can use to track government spending. Governor Corzine has said in the past that he supports this bill, which cleared the Senate State Government Committee today.
“It’s been more than a year since I introduced this vitally needed legislation, yet without a full court press from Democrat leaders, its passage is far from assured during this session,” Pennacchio said. “Governor Corzine needs to use all his influence to help push this through a Legislature controlled by his party.”
Five Republican senators today said that it’s unlikely that a bill redefining marriage can pass the Senate and asked their Democratic colleagues to join them in a bipartisan effort to strengthen New Jersey’s civil union law. The five said that while they can’t support the Freedom of Religion and Equality in Civil Marriage Act (S-1967), they will work to ensure that New Jersey civil union law is enforced and provides all rights and benefits that legislators intended.
“Moving testimony in Senate hearings suggests that New Jersey’s civil union law is not always understood or followed,” Senator Tom Kean said. “We need to educate the public about the law, and enhance it if necessary so that no civil union partner is turned away from the hospital bed of a loved one.”