“They were going to vote on it over the summer, the sales tax option. There was a coalition in support, but for some reason it split along party lines. I’m not sure why that happened.”
Benson said he was a cosponsor of that open space funding bill, and that he expected “a vigorous debate on bringing it up in the next Legislature.
“I think there were some other questions, concerns on the price tag. There were other concerns on using the sales tax, or the water tax, which I opposed. Some legislators on the Senate side were away for the summer and could not vote.”
For Benson, priorities for the next legislative session come down to property tax relief and making sure New Jersey’s economic recovery becomes more robust.
On the Governor’s decision not to establish a exchanges in New Jersey under the Affordable Care Act, DeAngelo said, “I don’t know his reasoning. There was uncertainty about how this would play out in New Jersey. I know I have questions about how it is going to work out. It’s going to be a challenge. I can honestly say I’m learning more about it. Right now I’m concerned at the union hall where I work what the impact is going to be. I don’t know.
“I’m going to a conference to hear how the Affordable Care Act is going to affect multi-employer benefit funds. (In the construction industry, individual workers sign up and pay into multi-employer benefit funds , which are held in trust during the time they are working, since any given job may last for only a few weeks or months and they may work for more than one employer during that time. While they are working these employees receive credit for money they pay into the trust fund, for which they receive credit toward health care and other employee benefits.)
Discussing his priorities in the next session, if elected, De Angelo said he favors “continued investment in higher education and in transportation infrastructure.” He said the ARC (Access to the Region’s Core) Tunnel between Secaucus and Penn Station in Manhattan, which was canceled in 2010 in one of Christie’s earlier decisions after being sworn in, would be “something we have to look at again.”
On the issue of permitting local referendums on new charter schools, DeAngelo said, “I agree that it should be brought to a vote of the people. I’m not a strong proponent of charter schools. We have a great public school system, but the resources are not going to them. Money doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. But we need to make sure the financial resources are going to our school systems in light of the 2 percent (state-mandated spending) cap. We need to do a little better than we are doing now.”
On the charter school issue, Haas said, “I applaud the record of Gov. Christie and his record on public school funding. In the current public school system, if it’s failing, charter schools provide an education to all students regardless of ZIP code. I want to get into the Assembly and support (the governor) in that effort. I believe it should be a vote of the people, and let the chips fall. I also support what the governor is doing and I will back him.”
On the governor’s decision on foregoing a direct state role in administering the health care exchanges. Haas said, “I agree with Gov. Christie that the federal government, should operate the healthcare exchanges. Due to lack of federal information, the state should not be on the hook and the federal government should pick up the tab.”
Cook also said he supported the governor’s decision not to set up health care exchanges in New Jersey.