What’s Happening in New Jersey

Events and news from around the state.

NEW JERSEY SET TO BAN COMMON HUNTING RIFLES

2nd-amendmentA bill has been sent to Governor Chris Christie’s desk in New Jersey that would have the effect of prohibiting many fixed-magazine weapons commonly used in hunting, and almost never in murders. The Truth About Guns has the scoop.

The gun ban that has gone to New Jersey Governor Christie for signature has been described as a “gun magazine restriction“, but it bans numerous common sport and hunting rifles. The ban has no exemption for rifles with fixed magazines, including most common .22 rimfire rifles that are used for sport and small game hunting…and almost never used in crimes. Assembly Bill 2006 bans rifles that meet this definition: (4) A semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding [15] 10 rounds . . .

As Dean Weingarten notes, some common rifles have been modified from an original 17 shot clip capacity down to 15. The new New Jersey legislation would outlaw the modified ones as well.

John Hinderaker at Powerline Blog adds, “This ban on America’s most common and most inoffensive long gun has gone to Governor Chris Christie for signature. It seems almost inconceivable that any state could ban the .22 rifle in most of its iterations, but that is the age we live in. So this is an easy test for Christie: he should veto the .22 rifle ban. If he does so, it won’t tell us much except that he isn’t a complete fool. If he fails to veto the .22 ban, he will be exposed as a phony conservative who can’t be trusted with even the easiest of decisions.”  Governor Chris Christie has been inconsistent at best on 2nd Amendment issues, but last year he vetoed three gun control measures. So there may be hope yet in the Garden State.

Here is a list of common sporting rifles that would be banned by the law:

Browning  Semi-Auto .22
Colt Colteer and variants
Franchi Centennial .22
Marlin model 60 and variants
Norinco ATD .22 (Browning Clone)
Remington 6A and variants
Remington Nylon 66, clones, and variants
Remington 552
Remington 550
Remington 241
Savage model 87A and variants
Winchester model 74
Winchester 190, 290 and variants

(Article excerpted from TownHall.com & TheNation.com)

Last year, Governor Christie refused to sign three closely watched gun control bills, including a ban on .50 caliber sniper rifles.  Christie fully rejected the ban on .50 caliber rifles, five-foot-long snipers that can be loaded with palm-length cartridges designed to penetrate heavy armor a mile away; and that are, according to Christie, necessary for “recreational pastimes.” Christie carved up the two other bills and sent them back to the legislature with conditional vetoes. From a bill that supporters called a “national model” for overhauling how states conduct background checks and issue firearm permits, Christie cut provisions to digitally embed firearm permits in a gun owner’s driver’s license, to include private sales in the instant background check system and to require prospective gun owners to take a short safety course. “None of the technology necessary for this system exists,” Christie said that would link firearm permits with state ID. Christie also gutted a law requiring state officials to report data about lost and stolen firearms, along with those seized in association with a crime, to federal databases. ~ JGT

U.S. in ‘Worst Rental Affordability Crisis’ Ever

Tuesday, December 10, 2013  

As rental demand grows, soaring rents are taking a bigger bite out of households’ pocketbooks.  About half of renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent, up from 18 percent a decade ago, according to newly released research by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Twenty-seven percent of renters are paying more than half of their income on rent.  “We are in the midst of the worst rental affordability crisis that this country has known,” says Shaun Donovan, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Rising rents mixed with a stunted wage growth has created an affordability problem, the study notes. Between 2000 and 2012, real median rents rose nationwide by 6 percent. However, over that same time period, the real median income of renters fell by 13 percent. 

A shortfall in affordable units is particularly troublesome as low-income renters struggle to find a place, the study notes. 

“Over four years, [there’s been] a 43 percent increase in the number of Americans with worst-case housing needs,” says Donovan. “Let’s be clear what that means: They’re paying more than half of every dollar they earn for housing.”

Young professionals are also turning to renting and finding higher rents to be a hurdle to getting ahead. Many have plans for home ownership one day: Nineteen out of 20 people under the age of 30 say they intend to buy a home in the future.

“There is no question that the will toward home ownership remains there — [the problem is] the way,” says Eric Belsky, director of Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. However, rising home prices and mortgage rates, high student loan debt, and tightened credit is holding many back and forcing them to continue to rent. 

Source: The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and “Skyrocketing rents hit ‘crisis’ levels,” CNBC (Dec. 9, 2013)

TAXING THE 2ND AMENDMENT!

constitution-300x180Liberals are trying every tool at their disposal this year to go after guns. They have failed on Capitol Hill to restrict the Second Amendment, so they are moving through the states to enact their agenda. The latest maneuver is to hike the tax on guns and ammunition to dissuade the law-abiding from buying firearms. It’s the perfect storm of liberalism – more revenue for a bigger government and fewer people keeping and bearing arms.  President Obama’s hometown of Chicago started the movement late last year by enacting a $25 tax on new firearm purchases, which went into effect on April 1. In February, Rep. Linda T. Sanchez, California Democrat, and 26 of the most uber-liberals in the House introduced a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code to create an excise tax of 10 percent on any concealable gun in order to empower Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to establish a firearms buy-back grant program. Since the Newtown, Conn., school-shootings tragedy, anti- gun states across the nation have introduced similar measures.

A new bill in the House would prevent this infringement on the Second Amendment. Rep. Sam Graves introduced legislation on June 13 that would make it illegal for states and municipalities to raise taxes or fees on firearms and ammunition. The Missouri Republican’s proposal would also prevent raising taxes in order to pay for background checks. “The Constitution says ‘shall not infringe,’ ” Mr. Graves said, “When you place this outrageous tax on the sale of ammunition and firearms, it’s intended to curtail those rights.” Congress has authority to do this under Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution to regulate interstate commerce, which these taxes suppress. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents the manufacturers, and the National Rifle Association both endorsed the Graves bill, which will go through the House Judiciary Committee. And here – in New Jersey, a bill has been introduced which proposes a 7 percent levy on ammunition sales. What’s with that? Aren’t we taxed enough?

The Obama administration has tried to capitalize on some unfortunate instances to try to slow down the sale of firearms and ammo. The irony is that the pressure to outlaw or control the sale of firearms, it just accelerates sales. It’s like pouring gas on a fire.” The number of FBI background checks were up 27 percent in March, leading to the Senate vote the next month on Mr. Obama’s gun-control agenda. The national instant criminal-background checks were up 20 percent in April.

Liberals love to raise taxes to push their social agenda, whether to push us out of our cars, stop us from smoking, force us to eat low-fat foods or curtail our drinking of alcohol. In their worldview, individuals are not capable of being responsible for their own health and well-being, so they need the nanny state to enforce proper behavior via their pocketbooks. However, unlike cigarettes and martinis, guns are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The House should pass the Graves bill quickly to show the states that their gun-grabbing scam will misfire!

NJ TO HOLD SPECIAL ELECTION

Our Governor, Chris Christie has called for a special election  for later this year to decide who will fill the seat of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg,  though he did not say whom he might appoint in the interim.  Mr. Christie said, ” he wants  to make sure New Jersey voters have a voice and a choice“. He set the primary for Aug. 13th and the general election for Oct. 16th of this year. 

Christie faced conflicting state laws in deciding when to have the election.  He could have waited until November 2014, or possibly this November. But  Christie said it was worth the expense to the state to hold a special election earlier. “The citizens of New Jersey need to have an elected representative to the  United States Senate and have it as soon as possible,” he said. 

With the special election set, Christie will not have his appointee of  choice in the Senate for a full 18-month span. However, the governor ensured  that a high-profile Democratic Senate candidate would not be running at the top  of the ticket this November, when he and other Republicans are running in the main general election. Such a candidate on the ballot could help attract support  to other Democrats running for lower-level office. Christie said he hasn’t decided  who he’ll appoint for the interim few months, but that he wasn’t putting “preconditions” on that  decision. 

Despite the risks, Christie could consider appointing Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat who announced earlier this year plans to run for Lautenberg’s  seat in 2014, said Brigid Harrison, a political scientist at Montclair State  University. The move could backfire, she said, but it would help Christie’s  image with New Jersey Democrats and African-Americans across the country —  especially since history shows it’s hard for a Republican to win a Senate seat  in New Jersey. 

Political analysts say the list of Republican possibilities includes state  Sen. Tom Kean Jr.; U.S. Rep. Chris Smith; former Gov. Christie Whitman; state  Sen. Joe Kyrillos, who ran for the U.S. Senate last year; state Sen. Kevin  O’Toole; or Bill Baroni, the deputy executive director of the Port Authority of  New York and New Jersey. 

Another possibility could be Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, which would open a spot  on Christie’s re-election bid ticket this fall for another Republican. No one has yet begun campaigning for the job publicly. With Lautenberg’s death, the Senate now has 52 Democrats, 45 Republicans and  two independents who caucus with the Democrats. 

And, just in case some of my fellow New Jerseyans have forgotten; today is Primary Election Day here in New Jersey. Today all registered voters (Republicans & Democrats only) should get out and vote their choice for who will be nominated to run as candidates in the General Election in November for Governor, state legislature, county & township positions.  ~dfh

National Association of Realtors Issue Brief JAN 2013

On January 1 both the Senate and HoHaddenfield Home 1use passed H.R. 8, legislation to avert the “fiscal cliff.” The bill will be signed shortly by President Barack Obama.
Below are a summary of real estate related provisions in the bill.
Real Estate Tax Extenders
 Mortgage Cancellation Relief is extended for one year to January 1, 2014.
 Deduction for Mortgage Insurance Premiums for filers making below $110,000 is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012.
 Leasehold Improvements: 15 year straight-line cost recovery for qualified leasehold improvements on commercial properties is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012.
 Energy Efficiency Tax Credit: The 10% tax credit (up to $500) for homeowners for energy improvements to existing homes is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012.
Permanent Repeal of Pease Limitations for 99% of Taxpayers
Under the agreement so called “Pease Limitations” that reduce the value of itemized deductions are permanently repealed for most taxpayers but will be reinstituted for high income filers. These limitations will only apply to individuals earning more than $250,000 and joint filers earning above $300,000. These thresholds have been increased and are indexed for inflation and will rise over time. Under the formula, the amount of adjusted gross income above the threshold is multiplied by 3%. That amount is then used to reduce the total value of the filer’s itemized deductions. The total amount of reduction cannot exceed 80% of the filer’s itemized deductions.
These limits were first enacted in 1990 (named for the Ohio Congressman Don Pease who came up with the idea) and continued throughout the Clinton years. They were gradually phased out as a result of the 2001 tax cuts and were completely eliminated in 2010-2012. Had we gone over the fiscal cliff, Pease limitations would have been reinstituted on all filers starting at $174,450 of adjusted gross income.
Capital Gains
Capital Gains rate stays at 15% for those at the top rate of $400,000 individual and $450,000 joint return. After that, any gains above those amounts will be taxed at 20%. The $250/$500k exclusion for the sale of a principal residence remains in place.
Estate Tax The first $5 million dollars in individual estates and $10 million for family estates are now exempted from the estate tax. After that, the rate will be 40%, up from 35%. The exemption amounts are indexed for inflation.