Sunday, September 30, 2007

New Jersey Shell Game

We have the honor of having the highest taxes in the nation, and after 5 years of Democratic control we can in all probability add the most in taxes to that list, also.

We have a governor who promised tax relief to the citizens of New Jersey. We are still waiting, most of us do not want tax relief, what the voters are looking for is tax reform.

Even with a 1.2 billion dollar tax hike, we are selling our assets to cover the mounting debt still accruing. The sale of the NJ Turnpike would generate state tax revenues and cut property taxes, but without cutting state spending, it would also leave New Jersey with a bigger hole once the one-time revenues run out. Not to mention that the voters of this state, who use the NJ turnpike, will have their tolls increased over 100% due to “monetization”. In the end, the state receives a temporary stay of execution, but again it is the citizen’s who will pay.

If we do not resolve the issues that got us into this state of affairs to start with, we have accomplished nothing. If we wind up where we must start selling state assets to remain solvent, we have embarked on a dangerous path. By placing the citizen’s of New Jersey on that path, our legislators have failed in protecting us. By asking the voters to sacrifice once more, you have again lessened their quality of life due to the mismanagement and squandering of tax money.

We still do not have a school funding plan in place. The citizens’ would like to reduce the reliance of property taxes that funds our public schools, and would like reform to our state taxation formula. Failing school budgets can be attributed to the growing tax burden placed on families. The state’s inability to fully implement CEIFA (school funding law), and the lack of extraordinary aide funding for special education have caused severe hardships for many school districts.

The promise last year to the taxpayers of New Jersey was that a new aid formula was a top priority and a year later, the old formula is still in effect, with the burden still in the backyard of property owners. The reality is Trenton Democrats, by ignoring the problem, and doing nothing has allowed the continuation of an unfair formula, resulting in increased property taxes. While self-funded rebate checks were received, property tax bills also increased. So in essence we paid for our rebate, had our property taxes increased and gave back the rebate we just received. Which shell is the pea under?

In the mean time we have had the time to name state dirt, sift threw the pork barrel for Christmas tree items, name a state vegetable, attempt to ban aluminum baseball bats, put NJ into a college logo, and create a voter lottery.

We are being asked to vote in blind faith and plans are forthcoming after the election.

It is time to stop turning a blind eye to what affects the pockets of the voters of New Jersey.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know what it is we are voting for first, before we put the same policy makers back in office?

We need an effective school funding formula, we need to make the necessary cuts and stop spending so we do not have to sell our assets. The fact is, to conquer New Jersey’s soaring property tax dilemma, we need practical and efficient solutions now, not later.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District
Assembly Candidate

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Menendez is wrong on "The Dream Act"

In a recent article printed in The Record regarding the Dream Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), Charles Goldstein executive Director of the New Jersey Immigration Policy Network is quoted as saying, "America succeeds when we integrate immigrant communities."

He is right as long as it refers to legal immigration. When we integrate illegal immigrant communities at the expense of the legal citizens of this country, we have a problem.

The DREAM Act, would grant legal status to possibly tens of thousands of illegal immigrant youth who entered the United States before the age of 16, have lived here at least five years and graduated from a U.S. high school.

Another paragraph states, “Bills in the New Jersey legislature that would allow undocumented high school graduates to attend college at in-state (reduced) tuition rates have languished for years. So, unable to pay out-of-state fees, many forgo four-year colleges or try to scrape together money for county community colleges.” Aren't our own children in the same predicament?

There are an estimated 1,200 undocumented (illegal) high school graduates in New Jersey who would probably apply to public colleges each year if they could pay in-state tuition. I would think that statement would also apply to the taxpaying families of our state who cannot afford the high tuition costs of colleges, caused by Democrat education cuts to higher education.

States offer college scholarships and reduced in-state tuition to illegal aliens who also receive free public education. An estimated 11.7 percent of the K-12 public school students in New Jersey are children of illegal aliens.

When our own citizens pay more to attend our colleges and secondary schools than the illegals that are here, there is a definite problem with our system. Especially when property taxes are constantly going up due to increased education costs.

A majority of Americans (54%) oppose the current U.S. law that grants automatic citizenship to children of illegal aliens born in the United States, 63% opposes automatic citizenship.

What the article does not mention as I have stated in another post, is that what is wrong with this bill is that there is no upper age limit with no burden of proof placed on the applicant. A 50-year-old illegal immigrant can walk into the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office and provide a sworn statement that he has been in the United States before he or she was here before they were 16.

If passed it would grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens and dramatically increase the importation of foreign workers at a time 10 million Americans are looking for jobs and cannot find employment. This would open the door for every illegal alien falsely claiming amnesty.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. says, "By allowing these students, who would be otherwise qualified, to attend college or serve in our military, we provide them with the opportunity to become exemplary citizens and achieve the American dream." Mr. Menendez we also have immigrant families that are legal, and minorities that warrant those same opportunities granted to illegals.

If I understand that statement, an illegal has a choice to either attend college at a reduced rate, or join the military. That is some choice.

Our own children are having a hard time of achieving the American dream with all of the student debt they are strapped with after graduation.

Then we have bleeding heart Tamara Morales, vice president of Casa Puebla-New Jersey, a Passaic-based non-profit group that serves the immigrant community. "There are so many undocumented (illegal) kids, who have great potential, but with no real options for the future, they end up just working low-skill jobs or they get married young."

Huh, can you explain that? Either they work at a low-skill job, and if not they will get married at a young age.

Unless I am missing something, I cannot fathom why it is part of the Department of Defense appropriations bill.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., has been pushing to get it included in a defense appropriations bill pending in the Senate. The Senate may vote on the defense bill within the next week.

I agree with Gayle Kesselman (co-chairwoman of New Jersey Citizens for Immigration Control) when she says "The American people have made clear that they don't want a form of amnesty, people who crash the line and come into our country illegally shouldn't get special privileges or financial breaks.”

Undocumented means illegal, enough of being politically correct already.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District
Assembly Candidate

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Clock is Ticking

As of September 24, 2007 the debate on the Defense Department authorization of bill, H.R. 1585 is in a temporary holding pattern over the senate floor, so that other business can be addressed. When it resumes it would grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens and dramatically increase the importation of foreign workers at a time 10 million Americans are looking for jobs and cannot find employment.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has not announced when a vote will occur on the DREAM Act amnesty amendment, formerly SA 2237 was redrafted into SA 2919.

Adding this bill to the Department of Defense Act is a back door approach to amnesty. It will make millions of illegal aliens eligible for Federal student loans and federal work-study programs, leaving our own children behind for entrance to colleges. This would add another benefit law-abiding foreign students cannot receive. Illegal aliens could claim "retroactive benefits" and start the clock running the day that the DREAM Act is enacted.

Federal officers would be barred from using information from the application to deport the alien or sharing that information with another federal agency, or suffer the threat of up to $10,000 fine. Therefore, an alien's admission that he has violated Federal immigration law cannot be used against him.

How this amendment is considered part of the Department of Defense Act is beyond me. This is by no means what the majority of Americans consider pursuing "The American Dream".

As of this point in time, 21 Senators are telling their constituents that they will vote NO on the amnesty. It will take 41 NO votes to kill this amnesty.

Call Senator Lautenberg at (202) 224-3224 and Senator Menendez (202) 224-4744. They have not made this commitment. Let them know that you oppose the Dream Act (SA 2919), and that you cannot and will not support anyone supporting an amnesty bill.

Halloween is approaching, and this is amnesty in a costume.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District
Assembly Candidate

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

End of the American Dream?

To those of you who thought amnesty was a dead issue think again. It is back, it is called the Dream Act.

What it is supposed to do is address the situation faced by young people who were brought to the U.S. years ago as undocumented immigrant children but who have since grown up here, stayed in school, and kept out of trouble.

A student must have been brought to the U.S. more than 5 years ago when he or she was 15 years old or younger and must be able to demonstrate good moral character. Under the DREAM Act, once such a student graduates from high school, he or she would be permitted to apply for conditional status, which would authorize up to 6 years of legal residence. During the 6-year period, the student would be required to graduate from a 2-year college, complete at least 2 years towards a 4-year degree, or serve in the U.S. military for at least 2 years. Permanent residence would be granted at the end of the 6-year period if the student has met these requirements and has continued to maintain good moral character.

The DREAM Act is buried into the Defense Authorization Act, separate from the immigration bill and away from the broader debate over immigration.

None other than the National Council of La Raza, a radical group that is directly opposed to our national interests, is pushing this act down our throats. Their goal is to open our borders and advocate special treatment for illegal immigrants along with the obliteration of the Border Patrol.

La Raza advocates the elimination of the U.S.-Mexico border, and actively supports legislation that would grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants currently residing within the United States.

I have stated that the amnesty bill is not over and will return after the presidential elections. While the amnesty bill itself is on temporary hold, it is being introduced in bits and pieces attached to other bills.

The DREAM Act, previously S.774, has been introduced as an amendment to H.R. 1585, National Defense Authorization Act (Defense Authorization Bill) as SA 2237, Title XXXIII (National Defense Stockpile), Sec. 3301 (Authorized Uses Of National Defense Stockpile Funds).

It will take 41 NO votes to kill this amnesty. On Wednesday, September 19, the floor vote on the amendment containing the DREAM Act amnesty (SA 2237) may occur. There has not been a large commitment by our Senators to kill this bill.

What’s wrong with this bill is that t here is no upper age limit with no burden of proof placed on the applicant. An illegal immigrant 5o years old can walk into the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office and provide a sworn statement that he has been in the United States before he or she was here before they were 16.

If passed it would grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens and dramatically increase the importation of foreign workers at a time 10 million Americans are looking for jobs and cannot find employment. This would open the door for every illegal alien to falsely claim amnesty.

Only 18 Senators have committed to voting no, has yours?

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District
Assembly Candidate

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Undemocratic Taxation

In this fall's campaign, it's important for voters to scrutinize the judgment of their representatives. In 2004, Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan was the sole Assembly sponsor of a bill (A3127/S1659) that taxed our medical practice 3.5 percent of its gross receipts. It was the largest gross receipt tax imposed on any small business in the state. There was no debate on the tax, as it was introduced a week before both houses were to recess for the summer and signed into law eight days later. Four years after its inception and despite hundreds of proposed amendments to this makeshift law, not one amendment has been allowed a committee hearing.

This onerous tax has forced us to close offices that provided care for the indigent. We had to let go of a physician, and my partners and I have made substantial cuts in our salaries, yet we still can't afford this tax. If Diegnan can get away with taxing small businesses without representation, preventing any say in legislation and preventing any amendment from being heard, everyone is vulnerable to similar irresponsible legislating. I hope voters let him know his undemocratic methods will no longer be tolerated.

-- Timothy J. Dunn, MD, Mount Laurel

September 16, 2007 / Star Ledger

Diegnan Socks it to Physicians

The Assembly Bill A-3127 was introduced on June 21st, 2004 by Assemblyperson Richard Deignan (D)

Middlesex County. Mr. Deignan is the Primary Sponsor.


A3127 [Diegnan, Patrick J.], Est. annual assess. on cert. ambulatory care facilities

The Following is from INSIDE NJMGMA July 2004 Volume 2, Issue 4

Physician’s Take It In The Neck......Again

If the malpractice debacle wasn't enough get a load of this. The New Jersey Legislature at the behest of the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) has rammed a gross receipts tax bill through the legislature with lightening speed. The bills, S-1659 and A-3127 establishes annual assessment on gross receipts of certain licensed ambulatory care facilities and requires licensure of certain health care services.

The Senate bill S-1659 was introduced on June 7th and originally sponsored by Richard Codey (D) Orange County. However the primary sponsorship of this bill was changed and the current co-sponsor is Wayne Bryant, (D) Camden and Gloucester Counties.

This is how it went;

6/7/2004 Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee

6/21/2004 Reported from Senate Committee as a Substitute, 2nd Reading

6/24/2004 Substituted by A3127

The Assembly Bill A-3127 was introduced on June 21st by Assemblyperson Richard Deignan (D) Middlesex County. Mr. Deignan is the Primary Sponsor.

It went even faster in the Assembly.

6/21/2004 Introduced, Referred to Assembly Budget Committee

6/21/2004 Reported out of Assembly Committee, 2nd Reading

6/24/2004 Passed by the Assembly (42-34-2)

6/24/2004 Received in the Senate without Reference, 2nd Reading

6/24/2004 Substituted for S1659 (SCS)

6/24/2004 Passed Senate (Passed Both Houses) (21-19)

Based on the information I received from the Medical Society this bill is a fait de accompli meaning that the governor will sign it into law effective July 1, 2004.

Is there a possibility that the governor might not sign it? I would give it the same chance that I would beat Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France.

The Bad News

The following is almost verbatim from the summary statement provided on the New Jersey Legislative Website:

Assembly Bill No. 3127 imposes an assessment on certain licensed ambulatory care facilities, based on the facility's gross receipts, beginning July 1, 2004. The revenues raised by the assessment will be deposited in the Health Care Subsidy Fund. The assessment would apply to facilities that are licensed to provide one ormore of the following ambulatory care services: ambulatory surgery, computerized axial tomography, comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation, extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, magnetic resonance imaging, megavoltage radiation oncology, positron emission tomography, orthotripsy and sleep disorder services. The assessment would not apply to an ambulatory care facility with annual gross receipts less than $300,000, or to an ambulatory care facility that is licensed to a hospital in this State as on offsite ambulatory care service facility.

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 (which begins July 1, 2004), an ambulatory care facility with at least $300,000 in gross receipts shall pay an assessment equal to 3.5% of its gross receipts or $200,000, whichever amount is less. The assessment will be payable to the department in four installments, with payments due October 1, 2004, January 1, 2005, March 15, 2005 and June 15, 2005. The Commissioner of Health and Senior Services is directed to provide notice no later than August 15, 2004 to all facilities that are subject to the assessment that proof of gross receipts for the facility's tax year ending in calendar year 2003 must be provided by the facility to the commissioner no later than September 15, 2004. If a facility fails to provide proof of gross receipts by that date, the facility shall be assessed the maximum rate of $200,000 for FY 2005. Each facility that is subject to the assessment will be required to submit an annual report including, at a minimum, data on volume of patient visits, charges and gross revenues, by payer type, for patient services, beginning with calendar year 2004 data. A facility that fails to provide the required information shall be liable to a civil penalty not to exceed $500 for each day in which the facility is not in compliance.

Finally, the bill amends N.J.S.A.26:2H-2 and 26:2H-12 to clarify that an entity that provides magnetic resonance imaging or computerized axial tomography services shall be required to obtain a license from the department to operate those services prior to commencement of services. The bill also provides that a physician who is operating such services on the effective date of the bill shall have one year from the effective date to obtain the license.

What Does It Mean?

Well it means the physicians continue to take it in the neck here in the Garden State. Given the speed at which this bill got through the legislature (all bills should be this lucky, given that the financial impact is modest, the state estimates the revenue generated from this tax at approximately $31million, and given that hospital outpatient facilities are exempt from this tax, it seems reasonable to assume that the tax is a retaliatory strike against the physicians for taking revenue from the hospitals via the above named outpatient facilities. All of this in the name of charity care. Call me prejudiced but the last time I checked how much charity care did the physicians collect? I believe the word is zero, nada, nothing. The hospital's complained that they provided $778 million in charity care last year and received less than half in reimbursement from the state. This budget year FY 2005 $558 million is budgeted for charity care. The estimated $31 million is included in that number and is approximately 5% of the total. I am going to take a wild stab at this but I am willing to bet the hospitals have never approached the physicians with a check in hand and said thanks for all of the help here is a little something for taking care of those indigent patients for us. Can I bet the house on it, probably not? The financial impact for charity care is nominal but the financial impact to physicians is severe. Physicians who are owners of these facilities are triple taxed. They are tax corporately, individually and now have to bear this tax.


For those of you whose physicians are members of the Medical Society they should work closely with MSNJ who is working diligently to minimize the impact of this onerous tax. For those of you whose physicians are not members of MSNJ they should consider joining. The Medical Society is not the end all but it is one of the few resources available to fight this tax.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Questionable South Plainfield Ethics

South Plainfield is another case of ethics being flaunted at a cost to the taxpayers.

A large campaign contributor benefiting from a land swap, sweetheart deal from a sitting assemblyman who also represents the borough as legal counsel.

A recent Star Ledger Article quotes Mr. Diegnan as saying "I find it personally insulting, I'm never going to give somebody a benefit over a $200 campaign contribution."

The actual number was more like $5200 in total contributions towards Mr. Diegan’s campaign, with an additional $450 this year going to the South Plainfield Democratic Organization. As Chairman of that organization, Mr. Diegnan had to be aware of that contribution.

According to Mr. Diegan it was a “detached, arms-length transaction.” Excuse me?

What wasn't mentioned is there is a sign posted on this tract that says "This site has been permanently preserved as Open Space."

Do we just throw an ‘open space’ sign anywhere to place a hold on property that can be used as a payback favor for future contributors?”

The "deal" that was sold to this contributor is a corner lot; the surrounding lots were auctioned off at a price considerably higher because they were "ready to build" with sewer lines and utilities available on site. How do you get to the surrounding lots without improving the corner lot?

Mr. Diegan also stated "I'm outraged that every two years me and a lot of other people in this state have to put up with this baloney.” He also said "I find it personally insulting. You should ask the Republicans for a reason why people should elect them."

Mr. Diegnan in his statement seems to feel that this is his deserved position. He is right in saying every two years a lot of other people have to put up with this baloney. Every two years is there is an election, it is called the political process.

First, by recusing himself from the “detached, arms-length transaction” there would not have been any baloney. The citizen's are the ones that should be outraged over partisanship deals.

Second, I think the people should elect Republicans, if an attorney representing his constituents in the borough cannot tell the difference of what is ethical and what isn’t.

With one lot being auctioned off for $275,000, that is almost $100,000 difference from the $177,000 corner lot “transaction”.

Perhaps the taxpayers should also take it as personally insulting when they are being sold out.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District
Assembly Candidate

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Truck Load of Dynamite

Mexico has begun sending their tractor-trailers across U.S. territory under a long-delayed, NAFTA-mandated program. Already we can see the potential results under this program.

Just recently, a truck loaded with dynamite exploded after colliding with another vehicle on a busy highway in northern Mexico killing at least 34 people, injuring over 150 people, leaving a 10 by 40 foot crater.

We were lucky it wasn’t heading across the US . . . this time.

Mexican Trucks rolling across US Highways will kill off jobs for American truckers. It is a serious security risk, putting us all in jeopardy. Interstate-40 in San Bernadino County California has been a human smuggling route for years, this will open up more avenues for the smuggling of illegal aliens. This would also give the drug lords a little more flexibility in their shipments to the US.

Wait until the accidents start accumulating; try collecting on an insurance policy across the state border. Who will pick up the tab, the Mexican government or the American taxpayers? Many of our trucks that are not considered safe by US standards end up in Mexico. Those trucks will now be back on our roads.

Driving on our roads will be unskilled, unchecked, non-English speaking, no insurance holding drivers with trucks that are not road worthy.

With terrorism being a major concern for all of us, Mexican load checks are not required. This will provide a great way to transport weapons to terrorists already imbedded into our system. So much for Domestic Security.

Bill Clinton’s signature on the bottom line of the NAFTA treaty spelled the first giant step in reducing the middle class to poverty.

For years I have been saying the Unions are backing the wrong horse. Look at the trend in the trades, the halls are half full or less, skilled jobs are being lost to lower wages and unskilled labor. The influx of illegals is killing the Unions, and this is another nail into the Truckers coffins. Ask the UAW how many jobs were sacrificed to NAFTA.

In recent years truckers rates have gone up, not for long. The more drivers you have, the lower the rates, Economics 101 law of supply and demand.

We will have containers from all over the globe shipping to the US from Mexican ports, without any help from our longshoreman. How can our government guarantee Homeland Security?

The freight transportation providers, warehouses and distribution centers provides employment to over 484,000 workers in New Jersey.

There are many other issues at stake. There is a long road ahead of us, if we can manage to get to the end . . . without crossing the path of a truck loaded with dynamite.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District
Assembly Candidate

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Signs of Desperation

The average tax bill in South Plainfield for the year 2006 was $5,136.

There are large signs in South Plainfield with the slogan, “You heard Right” TAX CUTS. What is ironic is that the Democrats have had, and now have the majority control in South Plainfield.

South Plainfield is in the 7th Congressional District represented by Republican Congressman Mike Ferguson; also it is represented in the State Senate by Democrats Frank Lautenberg, and Bob Menendez.

As part of the 18th legislative district South Plainfield Democrat representatives are Senator Barbara Buono, and Assembly representatives Patrick Diegnan and Peter Barnes III. Prior to Peter Barnes III was his father Peter Barnes Jr., also Democrat.

Next we have all Democrat Freeholders, Director David Crabiel, Deputy Director Steven Dalina, and board members, Camille Fernicola, James Polos, John Pulomeno, Christopher Rafano, and Blanquita Valenti.

On the local level we have Democrat Mayor Charles Butrico, Democrat Council President Dennis J. Cerami, and Democrat council members Raymond S. Petronko, Joseph Scrudato and Kathleen Thomas. There are two Republicans Robert Bengivenga and Matthew Anesh.

New Jersey Democrats hold the Governorship, having majority control of both houses of the Legislature; Senate: 22-18 & Assembly: 49-31. The federal Democrats hold both U.S. Senate seats and also 7 out of 13 of the state's delegation to the United States House of Representatives.

It appears that the Democrats have had control in the state, county and local level for some time now, if tax cuts were the issue, they could have been cut long before the 2007 elections.

Homeowners have seen their property taxes increase, but yet will still vote strictly because of party affiliation, even if it means less disposable income in their pocket.

Last year South Plainfield officials voted to raise taxes and now they are going to give a tax cut. How much will you really get back after the election? Maybe the question should be, "Before I cast my vote, how much?"

Lowering taxes has been the Republican platform. From state taxes to local taxes, Republicans have been pushing for tax relief. In going to over 6,000 doors that is the number one issue with taxpayers in New Jersey this year. What the Democrats in South Plainfield are doing in their campaign strategy, is trying to turn the tax increase issue around to appear as if they had nothing to do with those increases.

Taxes have gone up on the state level and passed on to the county, which in turn passed those increases onto the local towns.

If your taxes went up 6 points last year and cut by ¼ of a percent to make it appear as if you are getting something back, that is not a tax cut. What you are getting back is a small rebate, which will more than likely go up again next year, undoubtedly more than what you are getting back. If there aren’t any funds available, and taxes had to go up to start with, where is South Plainfield getting the money to give back? You heard right (give us $600 and get back $25) “TAX CUTS”

It seems as if the officials running the show had plenty of time to lower taxes, in 8 years and a Democratic majority, taxes weren’t the issue.

Taxes could have been lowered before the elections, but to get re-elected you need to sweeten the pot, just a little.

Spending money on such large signs posted around South Plainfield touting “TAX CUTS, only appear to be large signs of desperation.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District
Assembly Candidate

Saturday, September 1, 2007


In a recent editorial The Home News asked what will it take for failing schools in the No Child Left Behind evaluation process to make the grade and questioned the value of the No Child Left Behind Law. While the No Child Left Behind Law has some significant limitations, particularly in the handling of Special Education and Limited English Proficient students, I believe there have been many positives to this law.

As a Board of Education member in South River I have seen this law increase the focus on improving academic achievement within our school system. By grouping results by sub-groups the law forces communities to address the achievement gaps existing in lower economic, ethnic and certain educational sub-groups. NCLB has created a sense of educational urgency to improve performance. Administrators and teachers want to succeed on these assessments (no one wants to be labeled a failing school) and they are working harder to have their students succeed.

In South River, after school homework programs have been initiated and administrators and faculty are continually looking for research based curriculums and programs that have a proven track record for increasing student achievement. Our administration committed to a new Math program based on the techniques used in Singapore - an international standout in Math performance. After two years this new curriculum has created outstanding results. For example, in our fourth grade we had a 36% increase in proficient Math scores this past year and an astounding 118% increase in Advanced Proficient scores.

However, to take our education to even higher levels of performance we will need to create a system that defines, measures the effectiveness and rewards the major elements of academic success - outstanding teaching, administration and family involvement. One change needed is to NCLB testing and evaluation process itself. To accurately measure effective teaching the growth in learning for a child must be measured every year and standards for growth must be created based on where a child began the year. Now that students are tested every year from grades 3-8 we have the opportunity to evaluate teaching performance based on this growth model.

Once a growth model is in place school districts can, at least partly, link the achievement of students to the evaluations and ultimately the compensation of the teachers and administrators that deliver it. Many educators argue that it is unfair to base their evaluations exclusively on test scores and I readily agree.
However, test scores can and should be apart of the overall measure of effective teaching and administration. Other measurements could include: the exposure and implementation of continuing education, effectiveness in working with and assisting co-workers and parents, parent involvement with the child, Principal and administration observations and class preparation. Whatever the criteria for evaluation, to continue to improve education performance of students in our state we will need to work with the Teacher and Administration Unions in developing a fair system that more accurately defines, measures, evaluates and rewards effective teaching and administration.

Bill England

Candidate for State Assembly
18th District

Spending 2 Billion Dollars for a Road We Won't Own

There is a plan by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to widen the Turnpike between Interchange 6 in Mansfield Township, Burlington County and Interchange 9 in East Brunswick Township, Middlesex County. The Turnpike Authority is to hold 4 hearings in September of 2007.

A distance of approximately 35 miles, the roadway is to be widened to 12 lanes with major modifications constructed at four interchanges.

When complete, the proposed program will result in a 12-lane (six in each direction) dual-dual roadway from Interchange 6 to Interchange 9, capable of accommodating projected traffic needs through the year 2032.

The program will add 170 lane miles at a cost of about $2-billion dollars.

The state has no money, we are broke, and the governor has not presented a plan as to what his intent is with the future of the New Jersey Turnpike.

I for one would like to know before the elections in November, and before the taxpayers acquire another 2 billion dollars of debt, what does our governor intend to do with this roadway?

Until we get our priorities in order and have some insight as to what we are facing there should be a moratorium placed on the expansion project.

New Jersey does not need a new spending plan, what New Jersey needs is a savings plan.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District
Assembly Candidate

The Cost of Illegal Immigration

It is costing the state’s taxpayers nearly $2.1 billion per year for education, medical care and incarceration due to the illegal alien population residing in New Jersey.

Based on Census Bureau data, studies estimate that households headed by illegal aliens used $10 billion more in government services than they paid in taxes. If illegals had been given amnesty, the fiscal deficit at the federal level would grow to nearly $29 billion.

The average illegal household pays more than $4,200 a year in federal taxes, for a total of nearly $16 billion, but they impose annual costs of more than $26.3 billion, or about $6,950 per illegal household.

Amnesty would increase costs because many illegal immigrants are largely unskilled; their tax payments would be very modest. However, once legalized they would have access to many more government services.

Illegal aliens receive free public education; states grant illegal aliens college scholarships and reduced in-state tuition. An estimated 11.7 percent of the K-12 public school students in New Jersey are children of illegal aliens.

Free medical care at taxpayer expense. Those who do not qualify for Medicaid will receive Charity Care paid by the State. Taxpayer-funded, unreimbursed medical outlays for health care provided to the state’s illegal alien population amount to an estimated $200 million a year.

All are great incentives for illegal aliens to enter the US illegally.

Over 17% of our Federal Prison population consists of illegal aliens. The uncompensated cost of incarcerating deportable illegal aliens in New Jersey’s state and local prisons, amounts to about $50 million a year.

Iranians have been caught sneaking over the border. Over 100,000 illegal aliens from the Middle East currently reside in the U.S. If we can’t deal with the influx of illegal aliens in the US, how would we protect ourselves from terrorism?

The costs associated with illegal immigration, Medicaid ($2.5 billion); treatment for the uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs ($1.9 billion); the federal prison and court systems ($1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion).

A proposal requiring employers to fire workers who falsify identity documents, is favored by Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Americans, 74% believe that they should be required to provide documents proving they are in the country legally if a person wants to rent an apartment.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Americans believe it is very important to improve border enforcement and reduce illegal immigration, a view that is held by 80% of Republicans.

By a margin of (60% to 28%), Americans believe it is more important to gain control of the nation’s borders than to “legalize the status of undocumented workers already living in the United States.”

Sixty-two percent (62%) of Americans support doubling the number of border agents.

A majority of Americans (54%) oppose the current U.S. law that grants automatic citizenship to children of illegal aliens born in the United States, 63% opposes automatic citizenship.

The options we have are simple. We either accept the costs created by the presence of the large pool of illegal aliens, or enforce our laws by reducing the numbers of illegal aliens in the United States.

When we have groups in our nation flying their flag above ours, when we have people entering our country illegally and demanding that we as an American people live by their standards, we will lose our heritage and our traditions.

Ask any illegal if they would be willing to die to protect our freedom in order to remain a permanent citizen of our country.

We are either American or un-American. Our veterans who fought and died for our rights and individual freedoms will have fought in vain.

If the people of our nation lack the conviction to follow their conscience and vote purely on partisanship in November, it will be impossible to place the lock back on Pandora’s Box and stop the anarchy we will have unleashed.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District
Assembly Candidate