New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: While New Jersey Moves Forward Towards a New Era of Prosperity, Illinois Remains Stuck in the Same Old Rut

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Senator Joe Pennacchio, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding news reports that Illinois is preparing to raise state income taxes by 75 percent:

“Over the past year New Jersey has made remarkable progress under the leadership of Governor Chris Christie and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean. The old pattern of tax, borrow and spend without limit, has been replaced by clear-headed fiscal discipline and restraint. New Jersey’s runaway state, county and municipal governments have been put on notice that more must be done with much less. New Jersey’s fiscal problems remain serious yet we have finally begun fix the structural problems underlying our yearly revenue shortfalls.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Mike Doherty

Pennacchio & Doherty Introduce Resolution to Study Regional Rail Cooperation

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Senators Joe Pennacchio and Michael Doherty, members of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, introduced a Senate Resolution today that would create the “Passenger Rail System Study Commission” to promote regional cooperation between various rail systems.

“The need for regional cooperation between the various rail systems is long overdue,” Pennacchio began. “We must create a streamlined mass transportation system to move passengers and goods throughout the region quickly and efficiently.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Pennacchio Challenges New Jersey’s U.S. Senators to Defend the State’s Taxpayers, Not Washington

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Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris/Passaic), a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, is once again questioning why both of New Jersey’s United States Senators have failed to side with New Jersey taxpayers by demanding the Federal government waive the $271 million contribution toward the ill-conceived, failed ARC Tunnel project.

“This project came with an open ended commitment for cost overruns that our Governor and New Jersey taxpayers refuse to accept. Even after the U.S. Inspector General criticized the project, the Federal government along with our two U.S. Senators continue to ask for $271 million which would be paid for with money we simply don’t have,” said Pennacchio.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Puzzled by Lautenberg’s Investigation

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Senator Joe Pennacchio, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg’s pronouncement that he will investigate the circumstances surrounding the cancellation of the ARC tunnel:

“Quite frankly, Frank Lautenberg’s decision to investigate Governor Christie’s cancellation of the ARC tunnel is, at best, puzzling. There must be at least a dozen federal and state agencies equipped to investigate all levels of government and I can’t recall one that answers to New Jersey’s Junior U.S. Senator.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Supports Governor’s Cancellation of Over-Budget ARC Tunnel

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Saves New Jersey Taxpayers Up to $5 Billion in Expected Cost Overruns

Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) expressed support for the decision of Governor Chris Christie to cancel the ARC rail tunnel after a 30-day review concluded that the cost of the project to New Jersey taxpayers would likely balloon by up to $5 billion. While the tunnel was originally expected to cost $4.3 billion, the cost had escalated to $8.7 billion by 2009. New estimates, including those of a federal audit, put the final cost of the tunnel at nearly $14 billion.

“Governor Christie has followed through on his commitment to not leave taxpayers on the hook for open-ended mega-projects like the ARC tunnel that only serve to enrich government contractors, lawyers and engineers,” said Pennacchio. “Every dollar of the expected $5 billion of cost overruns would have been paid for by New Jersey taxpayers. Governor Christie’s decision to cancel the ARC tunnel will directly save New Jerseyans billions of dollars.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Pennacchio Looks for Efficiency in Rail Lines

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State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris, Passaic), a member of the Senate Budget and appropriations Committee, has asked the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS) to investigate how national efforts of regionalizing rail services could apply to New Jersey and New York rail lines. In light of a recent article in The Record which describes a potential $5 billion cost over run on the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) rail tunnel, the Senator wants to make sure that New Jersey utilizes every avenue of efficiency and cost savings prior to building the ARC Tunnel. Recently, Governor Christie has put a 30 day moratorium on the project to study the cost overruns.

“AMTRAK has recently announced the construction of an additional rail tunnel under the Hudson,” Pennacchio stated. “Who is coordinating the rail transportation efforts? It makes no sense to have two redundant tunnels one built by ARC and another built by AMTRAK. It is quite possible, even probable that turf battles with different bureaucracies running the rail lines, AMTRAK, LIRR, PATH and New Jersey Transit contribute to inefficiencies and redundant services ramping up the high cost of rail transportation.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Lautenberg & Menendez MIA in “Race to the Top” Question

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Senator Joe Pennacchio, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding the silence of New Jersey’s two United States Senators and yesterday’s “Race to the Top” announcement:

“New Jersey already receives far less money from the federal government than it sends to Washington in taxes, less than any other state in the Union. So I guess the finger pointing by Senator Lautenberg is not surprising. He should want to obfuscate his abysmal record. I would hope in the future, New Jersey’s two U.S. Senators would concentrate more on making their home state more affordable than toeing the party line in Washington D.C.

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Senator Anthony Bucco
Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Mike Doherty
Senator Steve Oroho

Republican Legislators Unanimously Oppose Effort to Increase Local Borrowing

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Republican members of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee unanimously opposed legislation (Senate Bill No. 2209) advanced by Senate Democrats today that allows local governments to borrow for things that must now be paid for on a pay-as-you-go basis. The legislation allows local governments to skip a required 5% down payment on capital project costs and borrow 100% of project costs instead. The bill will saddle property taxpayers with hundreds of millions of dollars in additional underwriting fees and interest payments to Wall Street.

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Senator Anthony Bucco
Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Mike Doherty
Senator Steve Oroho

Republicans Call on Democrats to Approve Property Tax Cap Now

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Today the five Republican members of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee called on Democrats to concur with Governor Christie’s conditional veto of S-29, a statutory cap on property taxes. His conditional veto would impose a hard cap on property taxes and give voters a say in taxes.

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Senator Anthony Bucco
Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Mike Doherty
Senator Steve Oroho

Budget Committee Members: Library Funding Restored in FY 2011 Budget

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$4.3 Million Returned to 304 State Libraries

Five Republican members of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee announced today that $4.3 million in funding for public libraries has been restored in next year’s state budget:

“No one denies that this year’s state budget is the most challenging budget in living memory. Of the many necessary savings that were made this year, cutting libraries has been one of the most problematic and difficult,” the members stated.

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