Lou in the News

Proposed N.J. spending hike is tops in nation

June 13, 2012
By Jarrett Renshaw

TRENTON — Despite New Jersey’s weakening revenue outlook, Gov. Chris Christie is projecting higher spending increases than any governor in the country for the next fiscal year, according to a report released this week by the National Association of State Budget Officers.

The report, prepared in cooperation with the National Governor’s Association, underscores how out of step the state budget outlook appears, and fueled criticism Tuesday from Democrats who insisted Christie’s narrative of a "Jersey Comeback" was dangerously misleading.

New Jersey is only one of 13 states with revenue collections in the current year that are lower than expected, while 31 other states are surpassing their targets, the report said.

"Despite widespread revenue growth, 13 states reported that fiscal 2012 collections were below original forecasts," the report said. "With the majority of states reporting that fiscal 2012 collections are above original forecasts, a number of states could end fiscal 2012 with slight surpluses."

It added, "While any surplus is a positive sign, such surpluses are more likely the result of cuts in spending from previous fiscal years as well as conservative revenue forecasts."

The report comes days before Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) is expected to outline a budget proposal to Democratic colleagues behind closed doors on Thursday, according to two sources who are familiar with the plan but not authorized to speak publicly about it.

NJ lawmakers try again to end wait period for marriages

Burlington County Times
June 13, 2012
By David Levinsky

TRENTON — New Jersey legislators are trying again to abolish the state’s 72-hour waiting period for marriage or civil union licenses.

A bill to eliminate the waiting period was approved by both the Senate and Assembly in January during the Legislature’s lame-duck session, but it was one of 40 approved measures that Gov. Chris Christie pocket-vetoed.
The bill’s sponsors decided to reintroduce the measure this session, and it was approved a second time by the full Assembly last month by a 44-33 vote, sending it to the Senate for consideration.

The sponsors say the bill will help the state’s economy by making it easier for couples to wed at destinations in the Garden State.

“By gaining a competitive edge over our neighboring states, we will create jobs and jump-start the small businesses that make New Jersey’s wedding and tourism industry,” said Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, D-6th of Voorhees, after the Assembly approved the measure May 24.

Connecticut and Rhode Island are the only states in the Northeast without a waiting period. Pennsylvania has a 72-hour waiting period, and New York and Delaware require couples to wait 24 hours before obtaining a license.
The legislation also calls for the license fee to increase from $28 to $60, and allows automatic annulments if either party asks for one within 30 days of a marriage or civil union ceremony.

Assemblyman Lou Greenwald Speaks to Marlboro TAC

Greenwald spoke about the importance of public service, on a personal level.

Marlboro Colts Neck Patch
June 6, 2012
By Kaitlyn Anness

Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (D) is now the Assembly Majority Leader in NJ, but his political career came from humble beginnings.

"We were a very poor family," Greenwald said. "We did not have a lot of money, we did not have access to a lot of money, and my parents struggled to make a good life for my brother and I."

Greenwald, spoke on Monday night to the Marlboro Teen Advisory Committee, a group that now has over 1,000 members in he community, actively doing community service.

"To get 1,500 young people to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors and of their friends is an unbelievable accomplishment," Greenwald said.

The assemblyman grew up in South Jersey with a family who could barely afford the $1.50 swim fee in the nearby lake.

The Assemblyman spoke of his mother, Maria Barnaby Greenwald, an Italian immigrant who grew up in Camden City and wanted nothing more than to be a teacher, but there were no community colleges in the state.

"There was no access to achieve her dream of going to college and becoming a teacher."

Barnaby Greenwald went on to work But the answer to a newspaper advertisement began Maria Barnaby Greenwald's steps into public service. Greenwald's mother eventually became the first female Mayor of Cherry Hill, first female Camden County Freeholder and the first female County Surrogate.

What Happens to a Dead Person’s Facebook Account?

New Jersey 101.5
June 8, 2012
By Dino Flammia

While many middle-aged and older people set up wills to handle their physical possessions after they pass, most don’t make a plan for their online accounts. Even if they did, some web sites’ complex privacy agreements and terms of service make it difficult to actually complete the process.

Legislation approved by the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee on Thursday would allow the executor or administrator of an estate to take control of a person’s online accounts (social media, blogging, e-mail) in the event of their death. Whoever takes over the accounts, whether it be a loved one or paid executor, would have the power to conduct, continue or terminate them.

“This is a very important piece of legislation for the families and loved ones of those who have passed, to be able to communicate and transfer what is the property of that individual back to the families,” said Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D), a bill sponsor.

Certain possessions that were tangible in the past are only available in a digital format now.

Greenwald explained, “The pictures that would be in the shoeboxes that would be sent home – those are now your Flickr account…Our grandparents would tell us about the letters that they would send home, those are now Facebook accounts.”

N.J.'s economic output slipped in 2011, according to U.S. stats

June 7, 2012
By Salvador Rizzo

TRENTON — New Jersey's economic output shrank last year, ranking 47th out of all the 50 states in terms of growth and outperforming only Alabama, Mississippi and Wyoming.

The Garden State's gross domestic product — its share of the U.S. GDP — decreased 0.5 percent in 2011, one of six states that registered a negative rate of growth, according to data released by the U.S. Commerce Department on Tuesday.

It was the only state economy in the Mideast region — which includes Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. — that shrank, according to the data.

The state GDP rose 1.5 percent in 2010, but it decreased 4.8 percent in 2009 during the height of the financial crisis.

Gov. Chris Christie has been touting a "Jersey Comeback" this year, saying the economic climate has improved and that businesses are beginning to look favorably at New Jersey as the regulatory landscape becomes easier to navigate and as the state restrains budgets, borrowing and pension liabilities. Those developments, he said, have made it possible to enact an income tax cut this year.

But Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden), who along with colleagues in the Assembly is pushing a 20 percent property tax cut that would be financed by a higher tax on millionaires, said the new data were "very, very concerning" in a statement Wednesday.