GOP leader foresees ‘war of ideas’ in N.J.

As the new legislative session gets under way in New Jersey, the leader of the minority Republican Party in the Assembly says he’s looking forward to a two-year war of ideas.

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, says the main goals of GOP lawmakers in this legislative session are to create jobs, lower taxes, work on education reform and increase tourism.

“The first day of this legislative two-year session does not have any of those issues. So, my question to my friends across the aisle is, I really like you, but you’re not focusing on the right issues,” Bramnick said Wednesday.

The top priorities for Democratic leaders, who control the Legislature, are enacting marriage equality legislation, increasing the minimum wage, and restoring an income-tax surcharge on millionaires.

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The Republicans say public pressure for reform will convince the Democrats to pass measures that will reduce taxes. They’re pushing for approval of Gov. Chris Christie’s proposal to cut income taxes by 10 percent and a measure to end payouts for unused sick time to retiring public employees.

Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, R-Morris, said cutting taxes is the major GOP goal.

“We need to pass legislation that reforms bloated sick and vacation payouts in the public sector,” he said. “Local governments have waited far too long for help on this issue, and reform in this area will have an immediate and director impact on our property taxes.”

Another area of focus, said Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, R-Monmouth, should be ways of making it easier for parents to have a career and a healthy home life.

“We know that insufficient child care is a challenge for parents across the state, and any serious discussion about women’s success in the workplace has to include a discussion of that,” she said said.

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