New Jersey State Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick held a State House press conference today in opposition to a Democrat-proposed constitutional amendment that would lock in automatic tax increases and/or critical public service cuts, and a Democrat-proposed constitutional amendment that would diminish voter influence in rigged New Jersey legislative elections
The Democrats’ latest version of SCR184/ACR-3 would constitutionally require increasing annual pension payments for 8.9 percent of New Jersey’s population that would charge taxpayers billions of dollars a year no matter what issues arise with the economy, environment or national security.
“It is wrong to lock in the state’s constitution billions of dollars in annual spending to fund pensions for 8.9 percent of the population whose representation buys elected Democrats,” Kean said. “We’ve seen in the past five years that the state needs the flexibility to cope with economic, environmental and public safety emergencies. Otherwise, it translates to more Democrat tax hikes on New Jersey’s overburdened residents and employers and cuts to critical public services. Even though we’ve dealt with all three of those emergencies under this administration, we’ve made record-high annual state pension payments and every public pensioner is continuing to collect without delay their checks.”
The Democrats’ SCR-188/ACR-4 would expressly amend the constitution to create safe state legislative districts for “two major political parties” and specify that only “at least 25 percent of all districts are competitive districts.” It also expressly gives representation to elected officials, instead of preserving New Jersey’s reputation as a state known for having a less partisan redistricting process.
“Our overall goal should be to ensure every legislative district is competitive, not to constitutionally or purposefully make any percentage of legislative races uncompetitive as the Democrats’ amendment would do,” Kean said. “We should also do everything possible to keep politicians out of the business of crafting legislative districts, not to give politicians more power over that process as the Democrats’ amendment would do. Their proposal is a clear power- and money-grab attempt to preserve the status quo of nation-high taxes here and prevent as many as 75 percent of New Jersey voters from having the power to make their voices heard at the polls.”
Kean and Bramnick have proposed their own reforms to make the legislative redistricting process less political and more transparent and representative of the people.
Kean introduced today a constitutional amendment remove more political influence from New Jersey’s redistricting process and protect minority populations by allowing the apportionment commission to draw maps based solely on Census population data; to ban the use of political registration and election result data; and to ensure that minority populations cannot be diluted in the process. Kean’s amendment would also make the process transparent by requiring three public hearings on a map in the northern, central and southern parts of the state to allow voters to weigh in and it also requires a nonpartisan administered, interactive public website throughout the redistricting process.
In 2014, Bramnick introduced ACR-183, which requires the Apportionment Commission to establish districts that promote competition between the two major political parties.