Assembly GOP to Dems: Stop naming highways and pass Christie reforms

TRENTON – The lower chamber Republicans huddled up before their voting session today to decry the inaction and misplaced priorities of the Assembly Democratic Majority.

“It‘s been over five months since the Assembly’s been in session,” said Minority Leader Alex DeCroce, (R-26), of Parsippany. “Today we return to ‘the people’s house’ without addressing most of their concerns.”

He highlighted what he said are marginal bills offered by the majority, like a resolution to reduce the stink bug population and a measure to name a stretch of highway after a sitting Congressman, while the lawmakers are taking a hands-off approach to more substantial issues like civil service and sick/vacation pay reforms.

“We’re here to say today: It’s time for policy to trump politics,” DeCroce said.

Asked whether he supports the Democratic “jobs” initiatives on the agenda today, DeCroce said, “I don’t like too many of their bills, to be honest. I don’t think those bills are really going to help the job market.”

Conference Leader Jon Bramnick, (R-21), of Westfield, said the Back to Work NJ bill amounted to little more than a “$100 incentive to go to work,” a program that is scheduled to cost the state $3 million, but could be done through private sector internships and such.

“We don’t want to see spending proposals,” he said of the Democrats’ bills, even the Small Business Loan Program which Bramnick said is duplicative of an already-running program. Furthermore, he said the Dems’ bill offers a fixed interest rate that doesn’t allow for financial flexibility looking forward.

Assemblyman Joseph Malone, (R-30), of Bordentown, called these “hokey bills” with “no real significant benefit to the taxpayers,” or the business community. “(The Democratic leadership) better start building trust with the business community,” he said, or there will be “significant additional job losses.”

Bramnick said the momentum that Gov. Chris Christie has built, especially in the business community, is waning.

“We need today to put on the agenda for discussion education reform,” Bramnick said, and Christie’s remaining toolkit items, like civil service reform.

“The crisis in New Jersey continues and we can’t take a break,” Bramnick said. “It would appear now the Democrats are getting into campaign mode,” just coming out of a legislative race and looking far into the future at the gubernatorial election of 2013 and the presidential election of 2012.

“We need not to allow the Democrats to make this about getting President Obama re-elected,” added Alison Littell McHose, (R-24), of Franklin Township. “We need to focus on the taxpayers of New Jersey.”

Assembly GOP to Dems: Stop naming highways and pass Christie reforms