New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Murphy Administration Keeps Changing the Story on State’s Finances

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Says Governor Continues to Oversell Impact of COVID-19, No Real Need to Borrow or Tax Billions

Senator Joe Pennacchio said it’s impossible to trust Gov. Phil Murphy’s claim that billions must be borrowed to balance the State budget when the administration’s story keeps changing from week to week.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio said it’s impossible to trust Gov. Phil Murphy’s claim that billions must be borrowed to balance the State budget when the administration’s story keeps changing from week to week. (©iStock)

“Less than three weeks ago, the Murphy Administration told the New Jersey Supreme Court that the State would go broke if the governor couldn’t borrow nearly $10 billion,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “Today we heard from Governor Murphy say that $4 billion in borrowing and $1 billion in taxes is what’s needed. Now that he has approval to borrow, the real picture is starting to come into focus. Just as we warned, it’s increasingly clear that the administration intentionally oversold the fiscal impact of COVID-19 on the State’s finances to scare the court into allowing borrowing that isn’t needed.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Declines Invitation to Murphy’s Second Budget Address, at Football Stadium

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‘Rutgers Stadium? Seriously?’

Senator Joe Pennacchio announced today that he will not attend Governor Murphy’s outdoor budget address in Piscataway on Tuesday, opting instead to remain in district working on behalf of his constituents.

Senator Pennacchio will not attend Gov. Murphy’s budget address in Piscataway on Tuesday, opting instead to remain in district working on behalf of his constituents. (SenateNJ.com)

“District office phones continue to ring off the hook with calls from people who are struggling during the state lockdown,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “Parents are concerned their children cannot attend school, businesses are failing because of the Governor’s arbitrary lockdowns, and there are long DMV lines. Many have been waiting months for unemployment benefits, and loved ones want answers about the deaths of 7,000 residents in long-term facilities.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

NOW LAW: Pennacchio Bill Renames Antiquated ‘Freeholder’ Title to ‘County Commissioner’

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Senator Joe Pennacchio’s measure to replace the ‘Freeholder’ title in New Jersey county governments with ‘County Commissioner’ was signed into law.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio’s measure to replace the ‘Freeholder’ title in New Jersey county governments with ‘County Commissioner’ was signed into law. (SenateNJ.com)

“As a former freeholder, I believe it is important that the public knows the substance of what a freeholder does rather than what the term freeholder is,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “Today’s action was nine years in the making from when I initially proposed the abolishment of the antiquated term. The title ‘county commissioner’ will lend itself to transparency. This revamp will ensure more Garden State residents better understanding the function of this important position in county government.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Michael Testa

Pennacchio/Testa Bill Opening Access to Government Records Related to the Pandemic Advances

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Bipartisan Measure Removes Limits on the Emergency Health Powers Act that Obscure Transparency

Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio and Senator Michael Testa that would remove limits on access to public and government records under the Emergency Health Powers Act was approved today by the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.

Legislation sponsored by Senator Pennacchio and Senator Testa that would remove limits on access to public and government records under the Emergency Health Powers Act was advanced. (SenateNJ.com)

“The limitations in the Act help obscure government transparency during crises like the current coronavirus pandemic,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “The Act was never intended to conceal data and decisions impacting public health and fiscal stability from public and legislative scrutiny.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Continues to Challenge Department of Health on Nursing Home COVID Response

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Additional Letter Calls for Full Disclosure and Transparency for Why 7,000 Souls Died

Senator Joe Pennacchio today continued his efforts for more information on the policies and decisions that effected resident care at State-run long-term care facilities during the pandemic. In a follow-up letter (click here for PDF) to New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, the Senator again sought answers from the state’s top health official.

Senator Pennacchio, continuing his efforts for more information on the policies and decisions that effected resident care at State-run long-term care facilities during the pandemic, again wrote to NJ Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli seeking answers. (SenateNJ.com)

“We keep asking questions but we don’t get answers. The Administration seems to find it easier to ignore inquiries than to face the harsh reality of what happened, and could happen again, in our nursing homes,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “The victims and their families deserve answers. Seven thousand people died and nothing is being done. Why? Doesn’t anybody care?”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Decries Murphy Decision Blocking In-Person Voting

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Senator Joe Pennacchio today called in-person voting a fundamental precept of American freedom and criticized Governor Murphy’s decision to limit the November election to vote-by-mail.

Senator Pennacchio called in-person voting a fundamental precept of American freedom and criticized Gov. Murphy’s decision to limit the November election to vote-by-mail. (SenateNJ.com)

“We’ve gone through the Civil War, two world wars, natural disasters and depressions and we’ve always managed to vote in person,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “More than anything else, this is political.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Learning the Truth Behind Nursing Home Deaths Will Require Investigation with Subpoena Power

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Questions Why It Has Taken Five Months

Senator Joe Pennacchio said the COVID-19 victims who died in New Jersey nursing homes and their families deserve more accountability than this morning’s joint meeting of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and the Assembly Aging and Senior Services Committee.

Senator Pennacchio said the testimony during a joint legislative meeting on nursing homes presented a solid case for creating a Senate Select Committee to investigate the state’s pandemic preparedness. (©iStock)

“I welcome and appreciate the efforts of my colleagues in the Legislature who listened to disturbing testimony in an effort to improve conditions in nursing homes, but we must go much further to address the deaths of 7,000 vulnerable senior citizens who suffered alone in isolation without contact with family or friends,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “Those forgotten souls left behind a long trail of questions that demand answers so we can prevent similar tragedies in the future.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Responds to Supreme Court Ruling on Murphy Borrowing Plan

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Senator Joe Pennacchio released the following statement after the New Jersey Supreme Court decided in favor of Governor Murphy’s massive borrowing plan.

Senator Pennacchio said today’s ruling by the State Supreme Court supporting a massive borrowing plan by the Governor is a costly one for New Jersey taxpayers. (©iStock)

“This is a sad day for New Jersey. With this decision by the Supreme Court, Murphy will borrow up to $10 billion and impose a property tax on residents to pay for it. Incredibly, the court requires the treasurer, a Governor appointee and key member of his cabinet, to certify the need for the money in the budget. The Governor can now create an inflated budget knowing he has a New Jersey credit card to pay for it.

“New Jersey taxpayers will be paying for this mandate for decades to come.”

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio to Murphy: Stop Politicking and Find a Way to Make Federal Unemployment Relief Work

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Murphy-Trump Honeymoon Over?

Senator Joe Pennacchio today called on Governor Murphy to help make federal unemployment relief a reality for almost 700,000 out-of-work New Jersey residents.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Saturday that would provide an extra $400 more than basic unemployment benefits, replacing the $600 federal contribution that expired on July 31.

Senator Pennacchio urged Governor Murphy not to allow politics to interfere with $400 per week of additional federal aid for unemployed residents. (Wikimedia)

The federal government would pay $300 per week, and individual states would pick up $100, but Murphy has called the plan “unworkable.”

“Like Cuomo in New York and other Democrat governors, Murphy criticized this solution,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “He wants federal money to go to the state so he can spend it at will. That’s the wrong priority when so many New Jersey residents remain out of work through no fault of their own. Once again, he is prioritizing partisanship and politics over the people of our state.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Calls for More Robust Power Grid, Stronger Leadership to Prevent Mass Outages After Storms

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More than three days after Tropical Storm Isaias crossed the state Tuesday, more than 60,000 families in Morris County are still without power today.

Senator Pennacchio called for legislative action on his Reliability, Preparedness, and Storm Response Act bill and urged utility company leadership to step up efforts to prevent repeated storm-related power outages. (SenateNJ.com)

“It’s frustrating for everyone. If you are without lights, refrigeration and air conditioning or fans, every passing hour is excruciating,” said Senator Joe Pennacchio. “We all appreciate the work of the linemen who are working around the clock to restore power. We’ve had a good relationship with the regional liaisons who have been responsible and helpful, but utility company leadership needs to have a better plan. New Jersey’s utilities must be more proactive to prevent massive outages and strengthen the grid State residents depend on.”

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