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Governor Should Fix Stimulus and EnCap Bills in Light of Today's Arrests


Date : Thu, 23 Jul 2009 14:17:32 -0400

For Immediate Release

July 23, 2009

 

Contact:

Jeff Tittel, Chapter Director, 609-558-9100

 

Governor Should Fix Stimulus and EnCap Bills in Light of Today's Arrests

 

Today's news that more than 30 New Jersey politicians have been arrested in a corruption probe demonstrates the need for Governor Corzine to tighten reform in the state instead of weaken it.

 

Both the state Stimulus Bill (S2299/A4048) and the EnCap Reform Bill
(S1769/A2650) have passed through the legislature and are awaiting the Governor's signature. However, in light of today's news, the NJ Sierra Club is urging the Governor to add prohibitions against pay to play and other reforms to the Stimulus Bill. The bill, which gives away billions of dollars of taxpayer money with no oversight, is a scandal waiting to happen.

 

The NJ Sierra Club is also calling on Governor Corzine to conditionally veto the EnCap Reform Bill so that it can be strengthened to provide for appropriate oversight. This bill would exempt Jersey City and Hoboken from oversight and today's headlines show why that's outrageous.

 

"The headlines today show why we need to strengthen reform, not weaken it," NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said. "Governor Corzine has to stand up against corruption and strengthen these bills."

The EnCap Reform Bill, which establishes requirements concerning certain public contracts with private entities, has been weakened and deviates from its original intent of stopping the very corruption that we're reading about in the news today.

 

The legislature undermined true reform by removing from the EnCap bill contracts in the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Program, the Higher Education Business Partnership Legislation, and monies derived from tax exempt bonds. The bill initially asked oversight for all contracts over $25 million, which was later raised to $50 million.

 

Besides Jersey City and Hoboken, these Urban Transit Hub exemptions could affect Camden, Perth Amboy, Trenton, and Harrison. The fact that some of these cities have a history of corruption or are currently being investigated means these laws need to be stronger. ANDREW MILLS/THE STAR-LEDGERMonmouth County and federal investigators remove boxes of evidence from the Deal Yeshiva as part of an international money laundering and corruption probe that includes rabbis in the Syrian Jewish communities of Deal and Brooklyn.

 

The Governor should also conditionally veto the portion of the bill that exempts private partnerships from oversight with public universities.

 

The state has paid a hefty price for corruption. As a result of the EnCap disaster, New Jersey lost approximately $200 million, $50 of which has not been recouped. While $150 million of the losses was covered from insurance by AIG, that company was recently bailed out by the federal government. EnCap borrowed from New Jersey government entities, such as the NJ Infrastructure Trust, that did not have adequate insurance or bonds to back up the lands.

 

"Given the fact that there are billions of dollars of public money at stake, we believe the both the EnCap Reform and the Stimulus bills should be strengthened, with pay to play reforms and other measures added," Tittel said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kara Seymour, Program Assistant

NJ Sierra Club

145 W. Hanover Street

Trenton, NJ 08618

609.656.7612

(f) 609.656.7618

 <http://www.newjersey.sierraclub.org> www.newjersey.sierraclub.org

 

image001.jpg> Received on 2009-07-23 11:17:32

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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