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Weehawken Girl Scouts help the homeless

Weehawken’s Daisy Girl Scouts recently held a cookie sale. They used the proceeds to go on a grocery shopping trip, and deliver food to the Hoboken Shelter at 300 Bloomfield Street. The Hoboken Shelter currently serves 500 meals daily, in addition to providing nearby residents with shelter, showers, case management, counseling, and job/life skills training.

How’s your four-year plan coming along?

Legislation sponsored by the Senate Higher Education Committee Chair Sandra B. Cunningham and Senator Nellie Pou, which would require students to develop and file a degree plan, was passed by the Senate today.

Cunningham said that the four-year graduation rate for college students in New Jersey is at 42 percent, and that having a safeguard in place could ensure that more students graduate on time.

Students enrolled in four-year programs would be required to meet with an adviser at some point after starting school, before they obtain 45 credits. At county colleges, that deadline is before completing 30 credits.

“Attending college is a serious financial commitment,” Pou said. “Pursuing a four-year degree often leaves most young adults paying off student loans into their 30s and 40s. The goal is to help students graduate in four years rather than five or six so they can pay significantly less for their education.”

The bill would require schools to develop graduation progress benchmarks for each major, which would specify credit and course criteria that indicate satisfactory progress toward a degree.

County Executive DeGise supports Gov. Murphy on millionaire’s tax

Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise announced his support for Governor Phil Murphy’s proposed millionaire’s tax, an income tax levy which would increase anyone whose annual income is more than $1 million from 8.97 percent to 10.75 percent.

“I stand with Governor Murphy on the issue of the millionaire’s tax,” DeGise said. “As a matter of fundamental fairness to our working families, who could see a quarter billion dollars in property tax relief under the Governor’s proposal, I believe our legislators must support this approach. It ensures that the wealthiest pay more to ease the tax burden on middle class residents.”

Murphy recently held a panel in West New York at Albio Sires Elementary School, in which he met with several mayors and elected officials in Hudson County. DeGise was also there. At that panel, Murphy indicated that his plan to spend $38.6 billion was heavily reliant upon levying income taxes for those making more than $1 million annually. He said that the hike was an alternative to sources of revenue he described as bandaids.

The proposed millionaire’s tax is a divisive topic for New Jersey’s Democratic lawmakers, with State Senate President Steve Sweeney at the helm of Murphy’s opposition.

Sweeney told the press he doesn’t anticipate the bill passing. He’s instead advocating hikes for some of the state’s largest corporations, which have seen major tax windfalls in recent years under President Donald Trump’s administration, instead of targeting wealthy individuals for more revenue.

With July 1, the beginning of the fiscal year, less than a month away, Murphy has stopped short of indicating that he won’t sign a budget without approval of the proposed millionaire’s tax. However, he described it as a “line in the sand.”

Sexual misconduct, corruption could cost public workers pensions

The New Jersey Senate passed a bill (37-0) that would add sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, lewdness, and public corruption (which misappropriates public resources valued at $500,000 or more) to a list of existing offenses that could cost public workers or elected officials in New Jersey their pension, if they are convicted. Having passed in the Senate, the bill is now at the Governor’s desk.

Senator Kristin Corrado (R-40) drafted the bill, which also passed unanimously in the New Jersey Assembly.

“Anyone who has the audacity to use their taxpayer-funded position to assault a coworker doesn’t deserve a state pension,” Corrado said. “Public service is about helping people and making the state you work for a better, safer place for all. Anyone who commits a crime that is contrary to that mission, whether it’s an ethics violation or a sex offense, shouldn’t be paid by the state for life. We need to confront this crisis head-on and ensure that people know there are real consequences for committing crimes in the workplace.”

According to the wording of the bill, the new offenses would have to be carried out in connection with their elected or publicly-funded position.

Currently, offenses which could disqualify public employees from receiving pensions include money laundering, extortion, bribery, perjury, official misconduct, and tampering with public records.

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