Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Thanksgiving Day Message From Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce

Assembly Republican Press Release -
“Thanksgiving Day is the most truly American holiday of the year. It is a holiday requires of us nothing more than to be thankful for what we have and to share our blessings with our friends and families.
“Simply by virtue of being Americans, we have a lot to be thankful for. We can be thankful for the bounty that this great country offers us and appreciative of how truly blessed this nation is. We can be thankful for the opportunities that America provides and thankful that, compared to much of the world, we live in peace and safety.
“This holiday season, let’s all strive to open our hearts to those less fortunate than ourselves and do what we can to lessen their burden. There are many people right in our own towns who are struggling to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. These people deserve our support. And what better way to say thank you to God for all that we have, than to help those in need?
“I hope you enjoy the Thanksgiving Day to its fullest — open your hearts and your homes to your family and friends, and make memories that will last a lifetime.”

Friday, November 21, 2014

DeCroce Supports Call For More Local Traffic Funding

Lawmakers are calling for local governments to get a bigger share of funding from New Jersey to address transportation issues in cities and counties.
Exactly how to do that and how much bigger a share of the Transportation Trust Fund local governments should get is unclear.

 “It’s important for us to do this in a smart way, but also to make sure more money gets down to the local level and [that] some of the bureaucratic ways, with regards to inspection and oversight, is streamlined.” — Assembly Republican BettyLou DeCroce
 Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman John S. Wisniewski (D., Middlesex) and the panel discussed the issue Thursday during the fourth and final field hearing on the trust fund, in Atlantic City. It was the final day of the annual League of Municipalities conference.

The trust fund, financed in part through a 10.5-cent tax on gasoline, is facing a funding shortfall next year. Currently, all money dedicated to the fund pays for debt service on previous infrastructure projects. New projects are funded through additional debt.
The Legislature and the governor are aiming to come to an agreement by the start of the next fiscal year – July 1 – when officials will have to decide to take on more debt or to abandon new projects altogether. Officials prefer neither of those options, so the conversation has focused on raising more revenue through tax increases.
Several lawmakers have outlined proposals to raise taxes, but so far none has attracted enough support to pass the Legislature.
Increasing municipalities’ share of the trust fund, which Wisniewski said stood at 15 percent of the $1.6 billion in the fund, adds another layer of complexity to a problem whose solution has vexed lawmakers.
Republican Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce of Morris County said she supported increasing the share of the trust fund to local governments, but needed to see more statistics before saying exactly how much more municipalities should get.
She suggested that cutting regulations and permitting should be a part of the conversation, rather than just raising taxes.
“It’s important for us to do this in a smart way,” she said, “but also to make sure more money gets down to the local level and [that] some of the bureaucratic ways, with regards to inspection and oversight, is streamlined.”

Thursday, November 20, 2014

DeCroce Wants Rate-Payers to Know About Hidden Fees in Utility Bills

Source: NJ 101.5 -
Did you know that you’re paying a “societal benefits” fee in your utility bill? If you don’t know what that is, or exactly how much it’s costing you, it’s because under current law, utility companies don’t have to list it separately or define it.
You’re also paying a sales tax and an energy surcharge, and they’re lumped in together as well. But a new bill would force utility companies to be more forthcoming in their billing practices.

“People have the right to know that they’re paying these taxes, and to know exactly what they’re paying for the services that are provided to them,” said bill sponsor, Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Parsippany). “This is about transparency, and this is about letting the public be informed.”
Under the legislation, utility companies would have to include the amounts of the tax imposed by the “Sales and Use Tax Act,” the societal benefits charge, and the transitional energy facility assessment surcharge each customer must pay as separate items on their bills.
As currently drafted, the bill does not require the companies to explain each of the taxes and other charges, but DeCroce said she’s not done finalizing the measure yet.
“I plan to amend my bill to include the language as to the interpretation of each one of the taxes that will be listed, so that (consumers) understand what it’s for,” she said.