Friends, I hope you are enjoying your summer and taking the time to cherish these moments with family and friends. Representing the area in which I grew up, is truly a humbling and rewarding experience. Having the chance to speak on behalf of my neighbors, concerning the issues which impact our community is a responsibility that I cherish every day that I am privileged to serve. As always, I want to keep you, my Bosses, informed as to what is happening “under the dome” in Trenton. And, specifically what I am doing as your representative. So, let’s look back over the first six months of the 2014-2015 Legislative Session and review what has taken place.
Governor Chris Christie has currently signed into law seventeen proposals, covering a variety of topics. One of the major initiatives he has signed is A3424, which concerns the revisions to the law which set up the 2% interest arbitration cap concerning police and firefighter salaries. As a sponsor of this proposal, I disagreed with some of the tenets of the final bill. However, ultimately it was an example of the legislative and executive branches compromising to move an issue forward. To learn more about A3424, please click this link: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2014/Bills/A3500/3424_I1.HTM
I am also excited about a couple of bills that are currently on the Governor’s desk awaiting his action. A961, calls for the state to include a debt affordability analysis in the annual State Debt Report in order to provide a clear, data-driven framework to evaluate and establish priorities that may impact the amount of state debt during future fiscal years. In my opinion, fiscal responsibility cannot be achieved blindly. This proposal will allow our state to develop a comprehensive and precise forecast on what we can and cannot afford in order to create more sound fiscal policies for the future. To learn more about A961, please click this link: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2014/Bills/A1000/961_T1.HTM
The other proposal on the Governor’s desk that I am eager to see move forward is A2268. This bill establishes a State Transportation Infrastructure Bank within the New Jersey Environmental Trust. We simply cannot continue to ignore the underlying value that our infrastructure system holds for New Jersey’s economy. Economists of all political stripes have long said that the creation of a robust and dependable infrastructure system is an essential building block for a great economy. This proposal would leverage state, federal and private resources to achieve this goal. The public-private partnership envisioned by this proposal will not only generate much needed jobs for our state, but begin to address the deficiencies we see in our infrastructure network. To learn more about A2268, please click this link: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2014/Bills/A2500/2268_R1.HTM
I was disappointed that the Governor choose to go back on his word with respect to fully funding our state's public employee pension payments, by rejecting the Legislature's budget proposal. This blatant disregard to an initiative that he touted just three years ago will further exacerbate our state's structural deficit and unfounded pension liability. Ensuring that we have a sustainable pension system which acknowledges the commitment of our state's workforce and the ability to fund innovative programs to make New Jersey better, should not be competing interests. It will take cooperation and a shared commitment to fix this problem as we move forward.
While these are just some of the highlights of the first few months, there are other ideas that I am deeply committed to that are working their way through the legislative process. They range from reigniting our state’s manufacturing industry, stemming the tide of home foreclosures, modernizing New Jersey’s charter school law, and reducing the property tax burden we all face. These initiatives coupled with some “unfinished business” from last session like protecting our pets from abuse (A2389 Moose’s Law), the creation of an All-Payer Claims database to reduce health care costs (A952), modernizing our domestic violence laws (Lisa’s Law) and strengthening our state’s teacher preparation programs (A969) will form the basis of my policy agenda moving forward. To learn more about all the initiatives that I am working on, please click this link: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/bills/BillsBySponsor.asp
Again, I hope you have a safe and enjoyable summer. Remember, you can always reach me at www.TroySingleton.com, on Twitter at @Troy4NJ7, on Facebook at “Assemblyman Troy Singleton” or by contacting me in the office at (856) 234-2790 or AsmSingleton@njleg.org. Talk to you soon!