Oldie, but not so good: A 1975
Jamie Audi Fox
From Blue Jersey:
The Senate Judiciary Committee has just commenced confirmation interviews for Jamie Fox as Transportation Commissioner, Richard Mroz as Chair of the Board of Public Utilities, and Upendra Chivukula as a member of the BPU. (You can listen here.) Both Fox and Chivukula are Democrats, a surprising step for Governor Christie. Fox has worked in the past for leading Democrats (he coined the powerful phrase “I am a gay American” for the resigning Gov. McGreevey), but has also served as a former Transportation Commissioner and Deputy Director at the NY/NJ Port Authority. Rumor has it that Christie, whose transportation fund is calamitously broke, may surrender his “no new taxes” policy and with help from Fox promote a gas tax increase. It is hard to remember when Christie nominations were scheduled so quickly before the Judiciary Committee. These appointments should sail through the vetting process today, and may even be presented this afternoon at a full Senate session.
Yeah, the legislative Democrats will let him sail right through all right. He’s their kind of guy.
Some of New Jersey’s most influential lobbyists — including a onetime Democratic operative now making more than $500,000 a year — are set to collect public pensions, their reward as political appointees to part-time government commissions.
Several get an even sweeter deal: lifetime enrollment in the state’s health care plans, leaving taxpayers on the hook for yearly premiums that average $5,200 for individuals and $13,000 for families. Among them is Jamie Fox, a former transportation commissioner and chief of staff for Gov. James E. McGreevey, whose $11,954-a-year appointment to the Local Finance Board enabled him to remain in the pension and health systems after McGreevey resigned, leaving Fox without a Cabinet-level job. Last year, he was paid $513,000 as a lobbyist……
(Part of the way he earns that $11,954 on the Local Finance Board is to dismiss ethics charges against people to whom he has made campaign contributions. This activity resulted in ethics charges being filed against him by our own Ted Ehmann.)
New Jersey has the second lowest gas tax in the country. This is an intolerable situation to the Democrats in Trenton and their union supporters. New Jersey is supposed to lead the nation in every form of taxation. How can we be second to last? This will not stand!
Help is on the way. Fox will have an important ally helping him to promote a tax increase. He will be assisted by a “blue ribbon” coalition! (BTW, if you hear of anyone ever being in any sort of “blue ribbon” group, you know he’s no good.)
COALITION PUSHES TO REPLENISH STATE’S TRANSPORTATION TRUST FUND
NJ Forward includes gas tax increase as one funding option, urges merger of transportation agencies and more public-private partnerships
With New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund running on empty after years of overborrowing, a blue-ribbon coalition has banded together to push for a stable source of funding for transportation projects, consolidation of the state’s five transportation agencies and authorities, and increased reliance on public-private partnerships to finance major initiatives.
New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce President Tom Bracken, who is chairing the Forward New Jersey reform coalition, was determinedly diplomatic in emphasizing that the group is simply offering a menu of revenue options for consideration by Gov. Chris Christie, who has refused to raise taxes during his first five years in office and is even less likely to agree to do so if he runs for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, as expected.
But it is significant that the coalition — whose 25 members also include an array of regional chambers of commerce, contractors associations, labor unions, and former state transportation commissioners — topped its list of revenue options with several gas tax increase options…….
I guess we can expect to see this scene repeated in the months ahead.
Last week I reported that New Jersey has among the worst road conditions in the country despite the fact that our highway spending is the most per mile of any state. With the way things are developing, we are going to add some distance to our lead.