Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Prominent Republicans Aren’t Exactly Happy About Their U.S. Senate Choices"

"You can’t get anyone on the record about it, but some prominent Republicans aren’t exactly happy about their U.S. Senate choices."

“'Ambivalent is probably the most charitable word you can use for what people say about the choices,' said one Republican elected official who wished to remain anonymous."

"Multiple Republican sources also say that some county chairs are continuing the search and calling around to find new candidates."

On Estabrook and Pennacchio: "...Some in the party feel that neither has the combination of deep pockets, name recognition and charisma that it will take to beat U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg in 2008."

-From PolitickerNJ, 12/10/07

Monday, February 11, 2008

PolitickerNJ poll shows Kyrillos should run for U.S. Senate

As of 7:05 PM, 38% of users voting on say that Joe Kyrillos should get into the race for U.S. Senate.

Watch Joe on the Senate floor discussing New Jersey's broken state government and rising property taxes:

FLASHBACK: Kyrillos was ahead of the curve on new job growth in New Jersey

October 30, 2005

New governor faces task of luring private-sector jobs

Jobs, well-paying jobs, must be job one for whoever is elected governor next month.

The candidates' promises - to ease property taxes, safeguard vulnerable children, fund our schools and protect the air and water - will never become reality if New Jersey remains 41st in the nation in private-sector job creation. The rapid increase in government jobs is not going to sustain our prosperity.

"Corporate America is expanding briskly; however, they are doing this largely outside of New Jersey," economist James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, said last week.

The policies of the past four years have damaged New Jersey's economy. We have seen taxes increased by $3.2 billion a year, mostly on employers and investors, deterring economic expansion. We have heard state officials publicly berate business leaders.

These policies were aimed at settling scores and gaining short-term political advantage, with little regard for the long-term economic consequences.

I'm not predicting a calamity. Instead, I worry our state's economy will slowly shrivel, almost imperceptibly, until it is ruined.

Defenders of tax increases and anti-business tirades are sure to say I exaggerate. They point out that New Jersey has historically prospered despite being an expensive place to do business. They will point to the recent labor report that showed New Jersey added 7,100 jobs last month.

Upon closer inspection, the report provides plenty of evidence that New Jersey's prosperity is endangered.

The report shows New Jersey continues to add low-paying jobs, such as those in the leisure and hospitality industries, while losing high-paying jobs, such as those in the telecommunications and pharmaceutical industries.

Of the 7,100 "new" jobs reported in September, 4,000 were school bus drivers returning from summer layoff. Another 2,000 jobs represented growing government payrolls. During September, the number of high-salaried, private-sector jobs shrank by 600.

Unfortunately, September wasn't an anomaly, but part of a trend. Last year, government at all levels was the leading sector for job growth in New Jersey, accounting for 1-in-3 jobs created. The national average was 1-in-16 jobs. Meanwhile, New Jersey ranked 41st among the states in private-sector job growth.

Rutgers University economist Joseph Seneca, who chairs the New Jersey Council of Economic Advisers, sees trouble on the horizon.

He was recently quoted saying that New Jersey's sluggish economic growth and loss of high-wage jobs "are very serious warning signals that should alert policy makers that we need to redirect some our resources at the state level to growing the economy and ensuring a competitive business climate."

The next governor must embrace Seneca's advice and restore New Jersey's brand. There needs to be a shift in policy and style that changes our state's image as being tax-happy, anti-business and hopelessly corrupt.

Given what has happened in the last few years, why would a corporate leader want to do business in New Jersey?

New Jersey has imposed new and much higher business taxes. Supporters of the succession of cigarette tax hikes have argued the increases would drastically reduce cigarette consumption. The same principle applies to business investment and job creation: the more you tax it, the less there will be.

Two years ago, a "half-millionaires'" tax was imposed, which steeply raised income tax rates for high earners such as top corporate executives. It's naive to think those executives don't consider their own income tax bill when they decide whether to locate or expand in New Jersey.

New Jersey's business recruitment efforts have declined. We have failed to match our neighbors - all of which have been experiencing stronger job growth - in the competition for companies by providing a wide range of support programs. The vast majority of businesses in this state, including manufacturing enterprises, employ fewer than 100 people. This is the sector that has the greatest potential to grow and create new, high-quality jobs.

The scandal epidemic is also a deterrence, creating the perception that doing business in New Jersey involves handing "bags of cash" to officials and political warlords. We need new leaders in Trenton bent on changing the current political culture rather than enabling it.

Our families and state common welfare depend on businesses offering high-quality jobs coming to or expanding in New Jersey. Making sure that conditions are favorable and resources are available must be at the center of our next governor's agenda.

Joseph M. Kyrillos Jr. is a state senator from the 13th District, which includes parts of Monmouth and Middlesex counties.

Frank Lautenberg's Promise