Friday, June 24, 2011

Assemblyman Diegnan and Barnes vote against pension reform in lieu of $84,750 in union campaign contributions

Recently, national CWA labor leader Chris Shelton in speaking to the crowd in front of the New Jersey Statehouse said “Welcome to Nazi Germany”, comparing NJ Governor Chris Christie to Adolph Hitler and Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) as his two generals. He further stated "Any politician who stands up against collective bargaining, in this state or any other, is not a Democrat, they’re Nazis, goddamn it."

As a professional, Chris Shelton was out of line for taking the lord name's in vain, and off the mark by condemning Democrats who didn't agree with his stance into eternal damnation.

There were almost 50,000 Italian-Jews who were sent to the Nazi death camps, along with the millions of Jews who perished during the Holocaust. His remarks are offensive and should be construed as such. Many soldiers died to rid the world of the likes of Adolph Hitler, and the right for those like Shelton to spew his vitriol. For Shelton to ask the crowd “Are we ready for WWIII?” disrespects what our soldiers paid the ultimate price for. There are no similarities between the rally in Trenton and the Holocaust horrors and is an affront to all victims of Nazi crimes.

Attending that rally were Assemblymen Patrick Diegnan and Peter Barnes from the 18th District who supported Chris Shelton's platform and it showed as they voted against the bi-partisan pension and benefit reform bill, a bill that will potentially save taxpayers $122 billion over the next 30 years.

Are they for the rights and freedoms of those they profess to represent? Or do they want to continue with their "public be damned" attitude, only to serve their self interests regardless of the cost?

Is it because of the $84,750 in campaign contributions they have received from public unions since 2001 that conflicted with doing what was right for the taxpayers of the 18th district. The voters should be disappointed for their blatant disregard for this bill which sought to fix the broken pension and health benefit system which they as representatives have neglected since entering the legislature. Struggling taxpayers and small businesses understand the status quo Diegnan and Barnes seek to protect, and realize that status quo it is not working in our state.

Republicans and Democrats working together for the benefit of the people of New Jersey are refreshing. Voting partisan politics no longer works, it is time the people are represented, not special interests. Legislators need to do what they were elected for and that is to represent the people, without the fear of intimidation, name calling or being condemned into eternal damnation.

We need leaders who will make tough decisions with a mind clear of campaign fundraising to put our state back on track.

~ Joe Sinagra
    18th District NJ Assembly Candidate

Monday, June 20, 2011

Press Release: Patrick Diegnan Participates in Hate-Spewing Trenton Rally

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                               CONTACT:  Lily Cortese                                     
June 20, 2011                                                                                                                                      

GOP Challengers Blasts Patrick Diegnan’s Participation in Hate-Spewing Trenton Rally

Sinagra and Silva Challenge “Out of Touch” Assemblyman to Apologize

SOUTH RIVER, NJ- Joe Sinagra of Helmetta and Marcia Silva of South River, the Republican candidates for New Jersey State Assembly in the 18th District, rebuked Assembly member Patrick Diegnan for his participation in a Trenton rally on Thursday where CWA vice president Chris Shelton compared Governor Chris Christie to Adolf Hitler and referred to the Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney as a Nazi General.  

“This kind of hateful language has no place in our political discourse,” said Silva, a former assistant prosecutor for Middlesex County and currently an attorney in private practice. “These types of statements trivialize the Holocaust and are an affront to all victims of Nazi atrocities. Patrick Diegnan should denounce these statements immediately and issue an apology to his constituents.”

Silva added, “I am encouraged by the courageous steps taken by the Democratic leaders of our legislature to work in a bi-partisan fashion with the Governor to reform our enormous public-sector liabilities in order to provide real health and retirement security as opposed to unfunded promises that cannot be fulfilled. We owe it to our committed public sector employees to fix these programs.”
“Assemblyman Diegnan, who collects at least $99,800 [1] from three public sector jobs, is simply out-of-touch with the issues that matter to voters in the 18th District. Rather than work to reform bankrupt state programs in order to lower the tax burden and increase employment opportunities for all New Jerseyans, he protests angrily to maintain the broken status quo. While this might work for him personally, it is not working for most voters in the 18th District”, said former Helmetta Council President Joe Sinagra.

Sinagra concluded, “It is simply time to replace Patrick Diegnan. We cannot afford his approach to government any longer.”


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Press Release: NJ Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan holds multiple public jobs

For Immediate Release:                                            Contact: Lily Cortese
June   2,   2010                                    

Joe Sinagra and Marcia Silva Vow to End Practice of Taxpayer Subsidized Pay Days for Politicians

GOP Candidates question how Deputy Speaker of the Assembly Patrick Diegnan - who has amassed multiple public jobs - can claim that he represents the working class residents who subsidize his paychecks

Edison, NJ- Responding to a Star-Ledger article outlining that Trenton Democrat Patrick Diegnan makes a yearly income of at least $99,800[1] from his three taxpayer funded jobs, former Helmetta Council President Joe Sinagra and former prosecutor and successful small business owner Marcia Silva, the GOP candidates for State Assembly in the 18th Legislative District, are calling for an outright ban on politicians receiving multiple public paychecks and pensions.
According to the article, Patrick Diegnan is among 11 members of the Assembly that receive over $50,000 a year in taxpayer funded salaries on top of their annual legislative salaries of $49,000.
 “Too many families in the 18th district have seen a loved one lose their job and are making difficult decisions regarding their personal finances while Assemblyman Diegnan collects three public salaries”, stated Sinagra. “There is a dangerous disconnect between Diegnan whose part time public jobs alone account for a better pay day than many of the taxpayers who subsidize it.”
Holding multiple positions as a public employee or an elected official leaves room for “Conflict of Interests”, “Conflict of Obligations” and public mistrust.
Marcia Silva added, “Diegnan has not opposed one of the 115 new or increased taxes that have come before him in the Legislature. He has no problem voting to make taxpayers that face an affordability crisis in New Jersey while he collects paychecks from three taxpayer funded jobs. His yearly public payout is yet another insult to the working class families he has taken an oath to represent. The hard working taxpayers of the 18th district can no longer afford people like Patrick Diegnan in the legislature.”
“Voters will be given the opportunity to cut Diegnan’s taxpayer salary in half on November 8th by voting him out of office”, concluded Silva.


[1] Patrick Diegnan receives a $49,000 annual salary as Assemblyman, at least $40,800 annually as the attorney for the Middlesex County Joint Insurance Fund, and at least $10,000 annually as the municipal attorney for Spotswood.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Is America in Decline?

The official unemployment rate went up to 9.1 percent, as millions of Americans are unable to provide for their families, 45.1 percent of all unemployed Americans have been out of work for at least six months. Two years ago, the number of "long-term unemployed" in the United States was only 2.6 million, now up to 6.2 million.

The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the (WTO) World Trade Organization in 2001. The U.S. trade deficit with China is now 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

The number of "middle class jobs" is about 10 percent lower than a decade ago. The number of "low income jobs" in the U.S. has risen steadily over the past 30 years, accounting for 41 percent of all jobs in the United States. Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year, the lowest level ever been recorded in all of U.S. history.

College tuition in the United States has gone up by over 900 percent since 1978.

U.S. home prices have fallen 33 percent since the peak of the housing bubble, with 28 percent in negative equity. Over one million U.S. families lost their homes to foreclosure in a single year during 2010. New home sales in the United States are down 80% from the peak in July 2005.

The cost of food and the cost of energy have risen at a rate of 17 percent over the past six months. The majority of wages for those working haven’t gone up 17%, and certainly not for new job hires making less than previous earnings.

Over the past 12 months the average price of gasoline in the United States has gone up averaging about 30%. The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States was $1.83 in 2009, today it is $3.77. Oil companies will bring in about $200 billion in pre-tax profits this year, while receiving about $4.4 billion in specialized tax breaks from the U.S. government

Because of the economy, 32 percent of Americans have put off doctor visits, delayed preventive care, or have stopped taking medication to save money. But in the long term will only place a burden on health care as it only creates long-term health consequences.

Once Obamacare is fully implemented in 2014, 30 percent of all U.S. employers will "definitely or probably" quit offering employer-sponsored health coverage.

Americans now enrolled in at least one anti-poverty program run by the federal government are one out of six.

In 2007, there were about 26 million Americans on food stamps. Today, there are over 44 million on food stamps, with one out of every four American children on food stamps.

The U.S. federal government incurred $5.3 trillion in new debt during 2010, on top of the $61.6 trillion financial obligations not been paid for yet.

Americans think of the federal government when you mention”government debt”, but it is not just the federal government that has an enormous debt problem. State and local government debt has reached an all-time high of 22 percent.

The majority of Americans don't understand that the Federal Reserve and the debt-based monetary system that it runs are the nucleus of our economic problems. All of this debt is will eventually crush and bury us like a ton of bricks. The U.S. government spent over 413 billion dollars on interest on the national debt during fiscal 2010, and it is being projected that the U.S. government will be shelling out 900 billion dollars just in interest on the national debt by the year 2019.

Raising the debt ceiling and going into even more debt we are destroying the economic future of our children and our grandchildren. All it does is buy more time before the unavoidable collision course that is being set.

The stimulus didn’t work, the money has run out, and it only helped foster a temporary fairy tale economy. There is no economic recovery and may have even prolonged it by creatng a false economy, and though many still believe we are in a recession, as a nation we are heading full steam into a depression much worse than ever seen before.

The good jobs continue to decline and the number of Americans losing their homes continues to go up. People are having a much more difficult time paying their bills and our federal government is drowning in debt.

If the hiring to fill 64,000 jobs at McDonald’s is an indication of our new economy, things are about to get a lot worse.

Millions more of American families are about to lose their jobs and their homes as the U.S. economy continues to fall apart.

Government doesn’t ‘need’ to; it ‘must’ operate more efficiently and spend less than it ever has before.

~ Joe Sinagra
    NJ 18th District Assembly Candidate

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Democrat Years - A Record of Tax and Spend

Over eight years of Democrat oversight and New Jersey is no better off now than it was before, and probably even worse off.

The ten-year period between 1992 and 2002 the Republican-controlled Legislature reduced the tax burden of New Jersey residents no less than 62 times by including a 30% reduction in gross income tax rates and a rollback of the sales tax from seven to six percent.

New Jersey’s actual revenue for 1998, $17.2 billion, was greater than spending of $16.4 billion. The reverse was true for 2008, where spending was $33.3 billion, greater than the reoccurring state budget revenue of $32 billion.

Revenue from the state’s 2008 income tax increased 121 percent since 1998, 39 percent of total state revenue. Up considerably from1998 when the income tax paid for about one-third of state spending.

Sales tax revenue increased 84 percent, supporting about 28 percent of the state’s budget, as it did in1998. In the fall of 2006, the state’s sales tax was increased from 6% to 7% and expanded to cover additional goods and services. For 2008, sales tax revenue was projected to generate $1.9 billion more revenue than in 2006 and $4 billion more than 1998.

Taxes, fees and state revenue sources had increased by 58 percent or $4 billion, supporting 34 percent of the state’s budget, as compared to 40 percent in 1998.

Revenue tax had increased by 82 percent on the corporation and bank tax, and the “Realty Transfer Tax” increased 500 percent since 1998. The state received an increase of 82% from all other taxes and fees since 1998, generating a total of $4.3 billion more in revenue in 2008.

With all of this additional revenue, you would think New Jersey would be up to its eyeballs in profits. But through mismanagement the increased revenue has only added to our debt, as unaccounted spending was rampant.

To the Democrats, a tax reduction meant a loss of revenue. In 2004 former Governor McGreevey admitted that “tax cuts enacted during the [10 years of Republican control] lowered state revenues by $1.8 billion for this year alone.”

Governor Corzine and a Democrat-controlled Legislature were unwilling to reduce spending to meet recurring revenue so they did what Democrats in New Jersey always do – they raised taxes.

From 2002 through 2008 Democrats imposed 115 new taxes and tax increases. During this period there were five cigarette tax increases, four increases in realty transfer taxes, four health tax changes, and a new car rental tax with a subsequent increase.

The Democrat-controlled Legislature continued to increase revenue on income, sales and corporation business taxes.

In 2002 the McGreevey Administration and Democrat-controlled Legislature restructured the Corporation Business Tax in its mandate to raise an additional $1 billion from the business community.

In addition to the increased corporation business tax liability imposed in 2002, it now required a business to pay a surcharge equal to 4% of the amount of the corporation’s tax liability.

This legislation increased the corporation business tax minimum payment for taxpayers with New Jersey gross receipts of $100,000 or more. The new minimum tax ranges from $500 to $2,000.

The federal government granted business tax breaks in 2003 as part of the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act and again in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Democrat-controlled Legislature decided that New Jersey businesses should not be given certain of the tax breaks granted by the federal government and disallowed the depreciation deduction and the manufacturer tax deduction, as well as the deferral of the taxable income generated from the repurchase of certain kinds of debt.

Income tax rates were increased in 2004 in order to provide one year of increased direct property tax relief. After that first year, the increased revenue was diverted for other purposes and was again increased January 2009 through the creation of two new marginal rates and the increase of a third.

In 2009 businesses were hit with another mandate which had the same impact as a tax increase. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal on June 20, 2007, the federal Department of Labor estimates that paid family leave programs cost employers an average of $1.76 per hour per full-time employee, or 6.8% of total compensation. A company with ten full-time employees saw an average increase in costs of approximately $36,608.

Also, the elimination of the property tax deduction in 2009 actually caused certain homeowners to pay income tax on their property taxes.

The sales tax was increased from 6% to 7% on July 1, 2006. Democrats chose to raise this tax only for the reasoning that it had not been increased during the previous five years, and raising taxes is an easier alternative for Democrats than cutting spending.

In October of 2006 the following became subject to the sales tax including dry cleaning of non-clothing items; landscaping; self-storage rental units; tanning and tattoo services; massages; information services; limousine services; flooring and carpet installation; parking, storing and garaging a motor vehicle; non-subscription magazines and periodicals; investigative and security services; and membership fees. Membership fees included charges by health clubs, gyms, golf clubs, and YMCAs.

One-half of the tax increase is constitutionally dedicated to property tax relief. During fiscal years 2007 and 2008 the other half of the tax increase was used to pay for legislative additions (pork) to the budget.

The new increases were estimated to yield the state on New Jersey $1.3 billion in new revenue, meaning that state residents paid out their pockets the same $1.3 billion to purchase necessary goods and services.

Democrats like to talk about the affordability and accessibility of health insurance in New Jersey. They appropriated millions of dollars to provide health insurance to low and moderate income state residents through the Family Care program, while at the same time imposing new taxes on health insurance providers. All this did was to pass the cost on to the policyholders, making insurance even less affordable. As part of the 2006 budget, two tax changes were approved that led to higher premiums.

The Democrats also could have passed the millionaires tax which they choose not to impose during this time, which will not make a dent in paying down the debt. Now during a time of lost jobs, high unemployment, and a market of foreclosed homes they want to raise the gasoline tax by 24 cents, at a time when New Jersey taxpayers can afford it the least.

With 115 tax increase, you would think the state would have brought in enough revenue to bring us financial stability by now. Years of waste and mismanagement are the reasons the state is in the dire financial mess it is today.

A struggling state economy combined with excessive taxes, unchecked regulations, and rampant spending have made New Jersey unaffordable to middle class families and our seniors who live on fixed incomes.

Democrat legislation also eliminated the ability of seniors with an income of $100,000 or more to exclude their pension and retirement income when paying New Jersey income tax. Democrats called seniors impacted by this legislation “high income taxpayers.”

Government doesn’t ‘need’ to; it ‘must’ operate more efficiently and spend less than it ever has before.

Just for the record our opponents voted for 114 of those increases.

Many of our politicians have forgotten why they were elected and are more concerned about holding office, and while successful at winning elections, they have failed New Jersey.

  ~ Joe Sinagra