Posted on

Reader says , “time is money and money is finding other places to live”

unnamed-12

Go west (or south) young families as leaving Ridgewood is sad but apparently, financially prudent. State and local governments have little leeway to manage their budgets given their contractual salary, healthcare and pension obligations. Population trends, prevailing taxes, and budget stress are tell tale signs that our Village and State’s financial problems are not revenue but expense related. Decades long deficits and massive unfunded pension obligations are proof that state and local fiscal strategies are out of sync.

Unlike the private sector, government wage and benefit payouts are not flexible. They increase with the passage of time. We in the Village have been served this sandwich for years and now people are moving faster to greener pastures that offer a different menu. With that said, it is encouraging that some of our state level elected officials recognize our financial crisis for what it is, as a spending problem. It would be nice to hear that locally…Our only hope is that the same political and perhaps certain union leaders will act bravely to modify current arrangements that mitigate growing budget deficits. In this matter, all interests are aligned.

Real and sustainable fiscal management is difficult to implement. It takes compromise and commitment but the resulting policy changes are not hard to understand. Some are obvious such as i) 401Ks for new hires versus a pension, ii) altering timing on pension payouts, iii) means based health care programs versus the gold standard regardless of house hold income, and iv) eliminating revenue draining white elephant projects such as municipally run/owned parking garages. (Sorry, I could not help myself.)

It is likely naive of me to hope that our leaders (again be they elected or union leaders) will deflect our current financial trajectory But it is a must because it is the only way to ensure what was contracted is delivered. A deal is a deal and we should stand by what we agreed to pay. However, all have to recognize that will be true only if there is money to pay for what was promised. The balance is we all have a line in the sand on how much more we will pay to support current services.

My comments are not intended to offend anyone. Their purpose is to be a call to action and compromise because I love it here. I enjoy my neighbors, the schools, teachers, the community, and I don’t want to bailout when my kids are off to college. I want to be apart of the solution and not just a piggy bank. I know others feel the same but we will vote with our feet if our leaders lead poorly and without reasonable foresight.

Village Counsel and union leaders, is there a willingness to make reasonable contractual changes now before it is too late or do you prefer the status quo? Your responses and actions are very powerful. Your decisions will dictate how fast our tax base erodes and how the Village will deliver on the benefits of your bargain. I respectfully suggest that your challenge is now because time is money and money is finding other places to live.

Posted on

Reader says , “The process of exodus has already started and will only excelerate as they way we work continues to change”

for sale Ridgewood_Real_Estate_theRodgewopodblog

file photo by Boyd Loving

Maybe YOU continued to walk into that ballot box and voted the party line because quite frankly like all good liberal dolts you simply can’t think on your own. And yes, your thinking along that line just put one of Hudson Counties finest criminals back in office. And yes the rest of the country looks at us and laughs…why not? Stupid is what stupid does. And taxing pension checks is NOT going to solve the problem of union malfeasance and corrupt government officials. The process of exodus has already started and will only excelerate as they way we work continues to change. Remember, nobody wants to work in NYC either so that only compounds the exit process. I’ll be gone come Feburary. We’ll leave here and let the people who started and supported this mess wallow in its remains. Good luck with that.

Posted on

New Jersey Now Collects More Revenue Per Capita from Drivers than Any Other State

the staff of the Ridgewood bog

Trenton NJ, according to Steven Malanga is the senior editor of City Journal, Federal Highway Administration data on revenues that the states have available for spending on roads, bridges, and mass transit New  Jersey collected the seventh-highest transportation revenues of any state, even before it raised its gas tax and every state that spent more was considerably larger.

Continue reading New Jersey Now Collects More Revenue Per Capita from Drivers than Any Other State

Posted on

The Real Maguire – Who Actually Invented Labor Day?

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

While most sources, even the Department of Labor, credit Peter McGuire with the origination of Labor Day, recent evidence suggests that the true father of Labor Day may in fact be another famous union leader of the 19th Century, Matthew Maguire.

Continue reading The Real Maguire – Who Actually Invented Labor Day?

Posted on

Labor Day stems from deadly labor strike, but few Americans know the history

President Grover Cleveland

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

A labor movement in Chicago in 1894 left 30 Pullman workers dead, and later spurred Congress and President Grover Cleveland to pass a bill creating Labor Day. But the history of this holiday is rarely taught in schools, and there are few full-time labor journalists to write about working class communities.

Continue reading Labor Day stems from deadly labor strike, but few Americans know the history

Posted on

N.J. Officials Respond to U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Labor Unions, Explain How Politicians Will be Protected Going Forward

bankrupt_monopoly

July 1,2018
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Governor Phil Murphy, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Labor Commissioner Rob Asaro-Angelo responded today to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says public sector workers need not pay their “fair share” of dues to the unions that represent public sector employees.

In an opinion issued this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The petitioners in Janus asked the Court to overrule an earlier decision that had determined public unions could require all workers to pay a “fair share” of union dues to defray the cost of collective bargaining. New Jersey, along with a coalition of states and unions, defended that prior decision. But in a 5-4 ruling this morning, the Supreme Court decided to allow workers to refuse to pay their fair share, potentially weakening collective bargaining by labor groups that negotiate employee compensation, pensions, and contracts.

“This disappointing decision does not in any way diminish our administration’s commitment to protecting the right of public sector employees to organize,” responded Governor Phil Murphy. “We stand firm with our labor unions and labor organizations to advocate and protect members’ rights as we did with the Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act I signed in May. Supporting strong unions is a critical part of making New Jersey’s economy work for everyone.”

If you read between the lines New Jersey politicians particular Democrats are upset that state workers will no longer be forced to support them through political donations.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal agreed , “The very first amicus brief I signed as Attorney General was one in support of workers’ rights in Janus v. AFSCME,” said Attorney General Grewal. “I was proud to stand with labor on this crucial issue and remain so today. In New Jersey, we’re charting a path to protect workers even as the federal government turns away from them.

“At the Attorney General’s Office, we will use our legal authorities to continue vigorous enforcement of state laws that protect workers’ rights to organize and to engage in collective bargaining,” Attorney General Grewal continued. “Nothing about today’s decision changes that.”

The only thing Trenton is interested in protecting is the compact between state workers and Democrats that says you give us campaign contributions and we give you raises and generous contracts .

“This decision is a travesty for working men and women everywhere, particularly here in New Jersey, where workers’ right to organize is protected by our state Constitution,” added Labor Commissioner Rob Asaro-Angelo. “The decision undermines the ability of working people around the country to receive the respect and appreciation they deserve. Despite this ruling, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development is committed to working with our sister government agencies to protect workers’ rights, secure their safety, and ensure the dignity that work provides.”

The only “travesty” has been the lack of tax payer representation in the political process and the control of state government to unions

Posted on

Republican lawmakers hail U.S. Supreme Court striking down mandatory union fees

Ridgewood Teachers

June 28,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Assembly sponsors of Right to Work legislation praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today that government workers cannot be required to pay union fees as a condition of working in public service.

“This decision restores free speech and freedom of association to every public school teacher and government worker across New Jersey,” said Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-Monmouth). “For far too long, unions have propped themselves up with money skimmed out of paychecks despite the workers’ objections.”

Handlin’s legislation (A183) would make New Jersey the twenty-ninth Right to Work state by allowing workers to decide whether to join a union. Assemblyman Robert Auth also sponsors the legislation.

After the top court’s decision, New Jersey’s 475,000 state and local public workers could opt out of their unions – taking money and political clout with them.

“This is a victory for rank-and-file teachers,” said Auth (R-Bergen). “Big unions have concentrated on procuring power and excessively paying its leadership while neglecting teachers in the classrooms. The NJEA’s executive director was paid $1.2 million thanks to dues as high as eleven-hundred dollars imposed on full-time teachers.”

Auth pointed to a Star-Ledger investigation that found the NJEA gave its top leadership a 42 percent pay raise in 2016. On average, the fourteen officers identified as NJEA leaders earned more than $530,000 — up from $379,000 the year before.

New Jersey is one of just 22 states where public employees can be forced to join and pay dues to a public union.

 

Posted on

US Supreme Court Hands the Trump Administration its Second Major Victory This Week

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill

June 27,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Washington DC, for the second time in a week the US Supreme court gave the Trump administration a major win . First on Tuesday the Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s travel ban affecting several mostly Muslim countries, offering an endorsement of the president’s executive authority on immigration in one of the hardest-fought battles of this term.

The 5-4 ruling marks the first major high court decision on a Trump administration policy and it upholds the selective travel restrictions.

Today in perhaps a more significant issue for New Jersey Taxpayers and in a major legal and political defeat for municipal and state unions, the Supreme Court ruled once again 5-4 that state government workers cannot be forced to pay so-called “fair share” fees to support collective bargaining and other union activities.

Unions claim 5 million government employees in 24 states including New Jersey and the District of Columbia will be affected by this ruling.

The so called “Janus decision” is seen as a victory for Free Speech advocates . Teachers and other public sector members will now have freedom to choose to voluntarily join a union if they decide it will serve their interests, rather than endure compulsory fees to unions that put their own agenda first. Public sector unions will no longer be able to force non-members to pay bloated “agency fees” as a condition of employment.

Posted on

Governor Comes Clean on Cost of State Raises

Phill Murphy -Sara Medina del Castillo

May 9,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, while you been buy on the local election campaign Governor Murphy just handed out a nice payback to the unions that got him elected .Governor Phil Murphy said at the time he doesn’t know the cost to taxpayers of raises he gave to 35,000 New Jersey state workers, members of a union that supported his candidacy.

Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi  said , “Maybe these raises are warranted, maybe they aren’t, but how could our Governor authorize them without having some idea of what they would cost the taxpayers of New Jersey???
P.S. it’s over $148 million ”

UPDATE: Below please find today’s press release from the Governor’s office which discusses preliminary increased costs of $149 million.
State of New Jersey
Murphy Administration Releases Total State Cost of Contract Settlement with the Communication Workers of America, AFL-CIO
Trenton – Today, the Murphy Administration released the total projected state cost of its recent contract settlement with the Communication Workers of America, AFL-CIO:
The total projected state cost of the contract is approximately $148.9 million.
Of this total, $78 million is related to the unprecedented suspension of step increments and clothing allowances by the Christie Administration dating back to FY 2016.
A fiscal year breakdown of the projected costs may be found below. Retroactive payouts for FY 2016 and FY 2017 are assumed in the Fiscal Year 2018 adjusted appropriation:
FY Payout Total
FY16 Retro $24.0 million
FY17 Retro $34.7 million
FY18 Retro $41.4 million
FY 19 Projected $48.8 million
Grand Total $148.9 million
Because of the duration of the retroactivity and the details of the contract negotiations, final totals will not be available until programming is completed.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-02/murphy-says-he-doesn-t-know-cost-of-raises-he-just-gave-workers

Posted on

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Unions vs Free Speech Case

supreme_court_building

February 23,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Washington DC, The Supreme Court is scheduled to return to Washington next week after nearly a month off. The justices will hear a number of important oral arguments, including a case involving free speech, and public employee unions.

Next Monday February 26th , the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in one of the most anticipated cases of the year, the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31.

This case could have an enormous impact on big union states like New Jersey and may impact many unions political influence like the NJEA.

The case focuses on Mark Janus who is not a public sector union member but has to pay fees ie inion dues anyway. Janus argues these fees “violate his free speech and free association rights.”

This case involves forcing public employees who opt out of union membership to pay a fee for the “fair share” of costs associated with collective bargaining. Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee, argues that forcing him to subsidize the union he has declined to join violates his free speech and free association rights.

The court will look at whether to overturn its 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which held that public employees could be forced to pay an agency fee.

This very issue was before the court in 2016 when Justice Antonin Scalia died. The court deadlocked 4-4 in Friedrichs v. California Teachers’ Association, thereby upholding the lower court ruling in favor of the California Teachers Association.