Monday, July 15, 2013

Assembly Woman Riley Criticizes Rutgers Board of Governors for Increasing Tuition for Students, while Allowing RU President to Benefit from Work with Companies that do Business with University

(SALEM) - Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Celeste M. Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem) issued the following statement on Monday criticizing the decision by the board of governors at Rutgers University to allow University President Robert Barchi to serve on the advisory boards of two firms that do business with the university:

 “The board last week voted to raise tuition and fees for in-state students, making it harder for students of moderate financial means to attend the university. Yet the board sees no issue with allowing President Barchi to get paid to serve on advisory boards for companies that do business with the university. One of the companies has in the last five years received $15 million from Rutgers.
“This is clearly a conflict of interest that should never have been sanctioned. The mere perception of impropriety was reason enough to ask President Barchi to cut ties with these companies.
“President Barchi’s service on these boards have pushed his annual compensation to more than a million. Rutgers has increased its tuition and essentially closed its doors to students who could barely afford the tuition before this most recent increase, while allowing its president to benefit from a business relationship that seems to go against the school’s very own code of ethics.
“That’s a terrible message to send to our young people contemplating higher education in the state.”

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Green: Christie Should Have Signed Democratic Bill Reforming Affordable Housing; Now Must Show Willingness to Compromise

(TRENTON) – Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset), chairman of the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee, released the following statement Wednesday on the Supreme Court ruling invalidating Gov. Chris Christie’s attempt to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing:

“Today’s court ruling is one more example of the governor’s failure to lead on important issues such as affordable housing.
“Everyone agrees the Council on Affordable Housing has been an ineffective agency that has failed to accomplish its goal. That’s why the Legislature voted in January 2011 to abolish COAH, only to have Gov. Christie inexplicably veto it.
“Our bill was backed by a broad range of businesses, housing advocates, legal experts and local officials who understood it was the best way to provide housing for working class residents, create jobs and spark the economy. The governor, sadly, wanted a court fight. That accomplished nothing.
“If Gov. Christie is truly interested in affordable housing reform, he should take another look at the Democratic bill to abolish COAH and truly work to find a compromise that will benefit everyone.”

Speaker Oliver’s Statement on Supreme Court’s COAH Ruling

(TRENTON) – Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver released the following statement Wednesday in response to the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision to bar Gov. Christie from dismantling the state’s Council on Affordable Housing (COAH):
“Today’s decision reinforces the axiom that it is far more fruitful to work together than to pick a fight. 
“We presented Gov. Christie with a responsible bill more than two years ago that recognized the inefficacies of COAH and created a reasonable blue print to ensure that affordable housing remained a priority for struggling, aspiring homeowners in New Jersey. 
“Instead the Governor vetoed it, choosing to waste two years and countless dollars fighting the matter in court.  While today’s ruling represents a long-term win for struggling low and middle income residents, it’s unfortunate that it had to come with this price tag.
“Now it’s clear that we need to work together to resolve this issue once and for all in a manner that benefits all of the constituents we were elected to serve,” said Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic).