Assemblyman launches NJ ‘Fiscal Sanity Tour’
For more than a decade, New Jersey has been cash-strapped, to say the least. Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick said it is time for a common sense approach to righting the ship. At a State House press conference Monday, Bramnick announced his summer "Fiscal Sanity" tour.
Under Bramnick's plan four bipartisan, bicameral committees would be created to address issues of government tax and spending policies. He also called for a constitutional amendment to move up the redistricting process and change the way the political map is drawn. He said the idea is to produce more competitive legislative races.
"This would set up a strategic planning committee that looks at the school funding formula. Another would looking at phasing in 401Ks while preserving the pensions for those (public employees) who have earned those pension," said Bramnick (R-Westfield).
A third committee would look at the state's inheritance, estate and income taxes. The final panel would be tasked with preserving business incentive programs.
In 2011, Republicans lost the most recent redistricting fight when an independent tie-breaker chose the Democrats' map, all but ensuring the latter party would retain control of both legislative houses until 2021. Bramnick said if the process was changed to allow districts to be drawn so that one party has no more than a 10 percent voter advantage, bi-partisanship could thrive in New Jersey.
"Because the districts have become so partisan, representatives play to the wings and not to the middle," Bramnick said.
It is unlikely Democrats would be open to the notion of making districts more competitive when they have solid majorities in the State senate and the Assembly. Bramnick said getting the conversation started can't hurt.
"As a government office, we have no comment on press events and releases put forth through campaign consultants," said Tom Hester Jr., a spokesman for the Assembly Democratic Office.
Monday's press conference was put together with the aid of a Republican political consultant.