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Kyrillos, Bateman, O’Toole: “Given a Chance to Save Taxpayers Money, Majority Takes a Pass”

December 15, 2011

Senators Joe Kyrillos, Kip Bateman, and Kevin O’Toole today attempted to provide tax relief to New Jersey residents by forcing votes on long-stalled legislation eliminating payments for unused sick leave for public employees, providing voters the opportunity to opt their community out of civil service rules, and implement accountability in the state’s numerous independent authorities and commissions.

Rebuffed by their colleagues, the Senators issued the following statements condemning the Majority’s reluctance to consider legislation that would save taxpayer dollars:

Senator Joe Kyrillos (R- Monmouth), S-2220 (CV)

“It’s really quite sad that the best excuse Democrats can find for caving to Trenton special interests on terminal leave reform is that public employees will commit fraud unless they are paid not to do so. Public employees should be fired if they inappropriately use sick time, not rewarded for following the rules. Sick leave is not deferred compensation, it is time made available to an employee in the event he or she falls ill. The Majority’s stalling tactics have reached new levels of absurdity, and are costing New Jersey taxpayers dearly.”

Senator Kip Bateman (R- Somerset), S-2039

“I do not understand why the Majority doesn’t trust voters to opt out of an antiquated civil service system that drives up the cost of government, makes it harder to find efficiencies in local government workforces, and is a barrier to shared services. This is a decision that is well within the rights of taxpayers, who are paying for the increased costs that can result from civil service rules, to make for themselves. Denying voters the choice to save tax dollars through an open referendum is simply wrong in a state with the highest property taxes in the nation.”

Senator Kevin O’Toole (R- Essex), S-2654

“Rampant waste, secrecy, and abuse exposed at the Passaic Valley Sewerage Authority is proof positive that we must act to bring accountability to the state’s independent authorities and commissions. How many more outrageous contracts and overpaid political patronage jobs do we need to uncover at these agencies before the Majority is convinced of the need for action? There are public dollars at stake here, and it is readily evident that those dollars are not being spent wisely by the state’s independent authorities and commissions under the laws that currently exist.”

Kyrillos: "Another Day, Another $1 Million In Taxpayer-Funded Boat Checks Down the Drain"

December 8, 2011

Trenton— Outraged at news that Lower Township will pay out nearly $1 million in terminal leave payments to its employees for unused sick and vacation time, Senator Joe Kyrillos (R- Monmouth/Middlesex), sponsor of legislation to end sick leave payments for public employees, called for terminal leave reform to be completed before the end of the current legislative session.

"Lower Township's taxpayers are being forced to pay for a needless, wasteful, and unjustifiable benefit that is enjoyed in virtually no other work environment," said Kyrillos. "While we can negotiate and compromise over the details of a final bill to fix this problem, there should be no debate about the fundamental idea that any future sick leave earned by an employee should not carry cash value. Abandoning the idea that sick leave is for when an employee is sick rather than deferred compensation would be a slap in the face to taxpayers."

The Press of Atlantic City reports that the Lower Township Council made an emergency appropriation of $900, 000 to fund terminal leave payments for employees this year, including three employees receiving checks in excess of $100, 000. Terminal leave payments are responsible for several cents on the municipal tax rate.

"We cannot allow this to go on any longer," said Kyrillos. "There is simply no good reason to assign cash value to sick leave that is not used by an employee. Taxpayers are being gouged for no reason other than inaction in Trenton."

Kyrillos Legislation Creating Property Assessment Demonstration Program Clears Committee

December 8, 2011

Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Kyrillos (R- Monmouth/Middlesex) creating a property assessment demonstration program aimed at eliminating errors in local tax rate calculations due to assessment appeals has cleared the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

“Current practices and timelines for property valuation and appeals are out of sync between county and local government, resulting frequently in errors when calculating tax rates,” said Kyrillos. “This trial program will, hopefully, demonstrate the administrative efficiencies and cost savings to local government of coordinating assessments between the county tax board and local assessors, and of completing the appeals process prior to the calculation of tax rates. The goal is to provide more predictability in local budgets and thus, avoid year surprises for taxpayers, all through sharing of services and regionalization at the county level.”

S-3029 establishes a four year trial program in which four counties coordinate municipal assessments with the county tax board to improve accuracy of property valuations. Most importantly, the program moves deadlines for assessments, revaluations, and appeals earlier in the year so as to complete the process prior to the calculation of tax rates.

Kyrillos is co-prime sponsor of the legislation along with Senator Jeff Van Drew (D- Cape May).

Kyrillos Bill Improving Cop 2 Cop Assistance Program Advances

November 22, 2011

Legislation clarifying and improving the services authorized under New Jersey’s Law Enforcement Officer Crisis Intervention Services (“Cop 2 Cop”) program cleared the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee yesterday.

S-2871 provides that, upon the request of an officer or family member, hotline operators shall deploy a network or team of crisis intervention and critical incident stress management professionals, as well as arrange for law enforcement suicide prevention services.

The bill also requires hotline staff to conduct educational and outreach activities in the law enforcement community to improve the accessibility, utilization, and responsiveness of the program.

“Cop 2 Cop is an innovative program that has been successful since its establishment in helping law enforcement officers cope with the unique stresses of their jobs,” said Kyrillos. “The legislation improves the current program in two important ways, first and foremost by clarifying the services to be provided to officers and/or their families upon request so as to ensure the officers get proper and timely treatment. Just as importantly, the bill works to boost utilization and awareness of the program through outreach and education to the law enforcement community.

Kyrillos “Grow New Jersey” Legislation Clears Committee

Bill Seeks to Spur Job Growth, Investment

November 21, 2011

Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Kyrillos (R- Monmouth/Middlesex) seeking to create jobs and business investment in New Jersey cleared the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee today. The Grow New Jersey Assistance Program established by S-3033 provides tax credits to businesses that invest at least $20 million in New Jersey and retain or create at least 100 jobs.

“This legislation will help businesses put New Jersey residents back to work by addressing the single biggest obstacle to job growth- the affordability of our state,” said Kyrillos. “Businesses that choose New Jersey as a place in which to relocate and/or expand will be rewarded by state government for their investment through a lower tax burden. This is exactly the kind of incentive program we need to bring New Jersey’s economy back.”

Businesses that qualify will receive a $5000 credit against its tax liability for each job created or retained in state under the program for up to 10 years. Senator Kyrillos joins Senator Ray Lesniak (D- Union) as co-prime sponsor of the measure

Sen. Kyrillos Participates in Roundtable Discussion on Education Reform

November 19th, 2011

Senator Joe Kyrillos (R- Monmouth/Middlesex) this weekend reiterated his call for the Legislature to enact reforms to New Jersey’s public education system in the closing weeks of the 2010-2011 legislative session at a roundtable discussion on principal and teacher evaluations at Princeton University.

“New Jersey is a national leader in student achievement,” said Kyrillos, “yet too many students still move through the system without receiving the quality education to which they are entitled. Reforming our public education system will not just make the good schools better, it will help children trapped in failing school districts obtain the education they need to build better lives and futures.”

Senator Kyrillos provided opening remarks to the forum, “Leading the Charge”, hosted by education reform advocates Better Education for Kids, Students First, and Princeton Students for Education Reform. They day’s panel discussions included public school teachers and administrators, representatives of the Department of Education, as well as leaders from the American Federation of Teachers and New Jersey Education Association.

Kyrillos said he is proud to sponsor two bills that are part of Governor Christie’s education reform agenda, the Opportunity Scholarship Act and the School Children First Act. “Quality education starts with an effective teacher in every classroom. That is why it is so important that we modernize teacher evaluations, tenure protections, and pay structure to value student achievement over seniority. In addition, children in chronically failing districts need options to improve the instruction they’re receiving immediately. The Opportunity Scholarship Act will provide these students an opportunity to enter a high quality school setting in the short term while we work to fix the systemic problems that are all too common in certain districts in New Jersey.”

Monmouth County Legislators Laud Christie Administration’s Plan to Preserve Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital Grounds

November 18, 2011

Marlboro—  Monmouth County Senators Joe Kyrillos (R- 13) and Jennifer Beck (R- 12) and Assembly members Declan O’Scanlon and Caroline Casagrande (R- 12) lauded the Christie Administration’s announcement of plans to preserve the long-vacant Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital.

“I’m pleased that under Governor Christie's leadership we are finally going to move this project forward,” said Kyrillos.  “At long last, the hospital grounds will be remediated and preserved as open space for the enjoyment of all.  I’m glad that the state has partnered with the town in a meaningful way to share responsibility in making Marlboro Psychiatric’s grounds usable again.”

The 411 acre site, which hosts both the former hospital and a wastewater treatment facility, will undergo remediation for environmental contaminants and deteriorating structures in order to make it safe for recreation and public use.

Beck stated, “This 411 acre State owned property is incredibly important to Monmouth County and Governor Christie deserves credit for being the first and only Governor to commit real State resources to make this site usable again.  Today’s announcement complements and continues the legislative work I and my colleagues have done to get $3.6 million to repair the wastewater treatment facility. It is a good day for our residents in Marlboro and Monmouth County.”

Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital was a State-owned facility from the beginning,” said O’Scanlon, “and Governor Christie sees that the State remains responsible for the site and any environmental damage that exists, without burdening local tax payers. I have worked closely with local and State officials through two administrations on this issue, so today was particularly gratifying. I look forward to my continued involvement in this process as we work to make this land available for use as open space. I welcome such a great example of government working as it should, in good faith and in the best interests of its people.”

“The residents of Marlboro Township have been waiting patiently for these improvements” said Casagrande, “Having this funding in place puts this property one step closer to finding a new future as a useful part of the Marlboro community.”

 

The Asbury Park Press Endorses the District 13 Team for Re-election!

We're just a few short days away from the November 8th Election!
The Asbury Park Press displayed their confidence in our candidates for State office by endorsing Senator Kyrillos, Assemblywoman Handlin and Assemblyman O'Scanlon for re-election this past Monday!
See the full text of the editorial below!

 

October 31, 2011
 
Kyrillos, Handlin and O'Scanlon
 
Even in a crowded field, the strongest candidates can sometimes stand out.

That’s certainly the case in the 13th District Senate race this year. The obvious choice among the five candidates is longtime Republican Sen. Joseph Kyrillos. For the Assembly seats, the choice also is clear. GOP incumbents Declan O’Scanlon of Little Silver and Amy Handlin of Middletown are the strongest of the six candidates.
 
We often bemoan the power of incumbency and the lack of competitive legislative races in this state. A big part of the reason so many races are uncompetitive is that those who run against the incumbents are not compelling candidates. Sadly, that is the case in the Senate race. Kyrillos’ four opponents are Constitution Party candidate Stephen J. Boracchia; Democrat Christopher G. Cullen, a former mayor of Hazlet; and independent candidates Karen Anne Zaletel of Keansburg and MacDara F. Lyden of Middletown.
 
The only one of the four who deserves any consideration at all is Cullen, who speaks of the frustration faced by local officials who must deal with unfunded mandates and shrinking state aid. But his solutions seem to be mostly in lockstep with standard Democratic positions. Boracchia, a sales manager in the oil and chemical industry with a law degree, is bright but, not surprisingly, an ideologue with no shot at winning.
 
In the contest for the two Assembly seats, Handlin and O’Scanlon are being challenged by Democrats Patrick Short, a former Middletown committeeman, and Kevin Lavan, a former Hazlet mayor and Hazlet sewerage authority member, and Constitution Party candidates Frank Cottone of Keansburg and William Lawton of Hazlet. O’Scanlon deserves much of the credit for bringing about the pension and benefits reform package in his key role as Republican budget officer. He is a bulldog on reducing taxes, ethics reform and consolidation and shared services.
 
While O’Scanlon, and other Republicans, may overstate the benefits of the pension and health benefits reforms, he understands we are a long way from where we need to be. Handlin is a thoughtful, knowledgeable legislator who also has worked hard in support of Gov. Chris Christie’s “tool kit” tax relief legislation, including civil service reform. And she is one of the most tireless advocates for pay-to-play reform and anti-political corruption legislation.

Short is a credible, well-spoken candidate who favors reducing property taxes by increasing income taxes and expanding the sales tax to other items. Lavan does not warrant serious consideration. Voting for any Constitution Party candidates, whether you agree with their platform or not, is essentially a wasted vote. The two independent candidates also don’t merit serious consideration.
 
“Look past the scarlet D that I wear on my shirt collar,” said Short, who is running in a traditionally Republican district. “Look past party and go with the person who is most qualified.”

In New Jersey, even in District 13, being a Democrat is hardly a scarlet-letter offense. But Short’s call to vote for the most qualified candidates works against him. By that standard, the Republican incumbents come out ahead.
 
The trio of Kyrillos, O’Scanlon and Handlin richly deserve to be re-elected so they can continue their work in restoring New Jersey’s fiscal health.
 
Additional Facts
 
The new 13th District: Aberdeen, Atlantic Highlands, Fair Haven, Hazlet, Highlands, Holmdel, Keansburg, Keyport, Marlboro, Middletown, Monmouth Beach, Oceanport, Rumson, Sea Bright and Union Beach.

VOTE on November 8th!

Click the link below to watch Senator Kyrillos' latest

TV spot for our upcoming November 8th Election!

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!

View Video Here: http://vimeo.com/31262400

 

General Election Day Polls open at 6:00 am and will remain open until 8:00 pm.
Visit Monmouth County's website, and the County Clerk's Election Division page for details on where to find your closest polling location and how to get registered! http://www.visitmonmouth.com/page.aspx?ID=1803

FEMA: Deadline extended!

October 28, 2011

The deadline to register with FEMA has been extended for those applying for aid as a result of damage caused by Hurricane Irene! It is now Wednesday, November 30th

To register with FEMA please call 800-621-FEMA or log onto www.fema.gov

Don’t delay. Register today!

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