New Jersey's 13th Legislative District

Senator Declan O'Scanlon

Senator Declan O'Scanlon
Senator Michael Testa

Testa/O’Scanlon: You Know Murphy’s Mismanagement of SHBP Rate Hikes Is Bad When Dysfunctional Trenton Looks Smart for Jumping Ship

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Say Exodus of Local Governments Could Be Disastrous for State Benefits Health Plan

Senator Michael Testa and Senator Declan O’Scanlon said a decision by the City of Trenton to leave the State Health Benefits Plan (SHBP) for a private insurer to avoid millions in health care premium increases could signal a coming exodus of local governments from the state plan.

Sen. Michael Testa and Sen. Declan O’Scanlon said a decision by the City of Trenton to leave the SHBP for a private insurer to avoid a 23% premium increase could signal a coming exodus of local governments from the state plan. (©iStock.com)

The senators said a 22.8% rate hike this year for local governments in the SHBP was driven by the Murphy administration’s failure to achieve promised savings that had been highly trumpeted and its refusal to consider cost-saving proposals offered by public employee unions, towns, and counties.

“You know Governor Murphy’s mismanagement of SHBP rate hikes is really bad when the often dysfunctional city government in Trenton looks smart for jumping ship from the state plan,” said Testa (R-1). “More local governments are likely to realize they can achieve significant savings for both their workers and property taxpayers by shopping for health insurance in the private market. Nobody who can avoid it will pay the 23% premium increase pushed through by the Murphy administration.”

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon
Senator Doug Steinhardt
Senator Michael Testa
Senator Sam Thompson
Senator Steve Oroho

Republican Budget Members Blast Murphy Administration Plans to Tax Cloud Computing & Software Subscription Services

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Report from NJ Division of Taxation Comes Just Weeks After Gov. Murphy Pledged “Absolutely No New Taxes”

The Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee blasted a new report issued by the New Jersey Division of Taxation that calls for the taxation of cloud computing and software subscription services.

“The latest report from Taxation makes it clear that the Murphy administration is looking at new taxes on many Internet-based services,” said Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), the Republican Budget Officer. “So much for Governor Murphy’s recent statements that there would be ‘no new taxes.’ That certainly didn’t last long.”

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon: WTF JBOC?

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Joint Budget Oversight Committee Still Not Considering Plans to Put Billions in Idle Pandemic & Debt Relief Funds to Effective Use

Senate Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon responded with dismay after the Joint Budget Oversight Committee (JBOC) issued an agenda for its meeting on Monday that fails to consider proposals to put to use billions in idle pandemic relief funds and billions more set aside for debt relief in the FY 2023 State Budget.

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon responded with dismay to the Joint Budget Oversight Committee’s continuing failure to consider plans to put billions in idle pandemic and debt relief funds to effective use. (Pixabay)

“We have billions in unspent federal relief funds sitting idle in State accounts for nearly two years that’s getting devalued by inflation,” said O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth), a member of the committee. “We have billions more set aside in the current State Budget to pay down debt that hasn’t been touched for more than six months. Since JBOC is responsible for approving the use of these funds, why has no plan been presented by Governor Murphy or the Democratic majority for approval? WTF are you waiting for?”

Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon: Our Kids are Buying and Ingesting Unregulated Delta 8 THC Products Laced with Potentially Harmful Chemicals. It’s Time Someone Gave a Damn

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Today, Senator Declan O’Scanlon introduced legislation to create a regulatory framework to address the growing problem of psychoactive hemp derived products being sold in New Jersey.

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon introduced legislation today to create a regulatory framework to address the growing problem of psychoactive hemp derived products being sold in New Jersey. (CC0 Public Domain)

“Right now, there are unregulated, psychoactive hemp-derived products being sold with ZERO product safety or marketing standards in our communities and all over the country,” said O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth). “You can get this stuff online, at the gas station, the pharmacy, bodega–it’s everywhere now. I’ve been tracking this issue since 2019 when I first heard of the problem, and I sincerely hoped that Congress or the courts would resolve this. They haven’t, but in their defense, they’ve dealt with a lot since 2019.”

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon, Scharfenberger & Flynn: Increases in School Stabilization Aid a Good Start, But Work is Far from Over

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Senator Declan O’Scanlon, Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger, and Assemblywoman Victoria Flynn (all R-Monmouth) announced that six school systems within the 13th Legislative District will receive additional funding in the form of Stabilization Aid this school year, which will offset loses those schools encountered when the Murphy Administration reduced state aid to several Monmouth County school districts.

Following Gov. Murphy’s school aid cuts, Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, Asm. Gerry Scharfenberger, and Asw. Victoria Flynn announced that six school systems within the 13th Legislative District will receive additional funding in the form of Stabilization Aid this school year. (Flickr)

The news of increased funds comes after months of advocacy by the legislators of District 13 to the New Jersey Department of Education that school districts cannot absorb those losses while also trying to address the academic, social and emotional needs of students following years of interrupted learning due to the pandemic. All three legislators have supported the use of the federal dollars the State has received but not yet used to address these shortfalls in funding.

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon Calls for JBOC to ‘Get Serious’; Slams Committee for Lack of Oversight

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Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13) criticized the Joint Budget Oversight Committee (JBOC) for its inaction over the last six months and for allowing inflation to consume more than $500 million of taxpayer money. O’Scanlon’s full statement is below:

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon criticized the JBOC for its inaction over the last six months and for allowing inflation to consume more than $500 million of taxpayer money. (©iStock)

“JBOC actions today with respect to the $6.2 billion federal block grant received 19 months ago in May 2021 is around the margins—allocating $2 million to advertise the Anchor Program…and simply shuffling around about a dozen previous allocations to new departments to administer. It’s all frittering around the edges while we should be putting this money to good use helping businesses still struggling and wisely investing the money in ways it would provide relief for our beleaguered taxpayers. The fact that we haven’t had the two JBOC meetings required by law over the last six months, and the insulting lack of any substantive action on this agenda, is a real slap in the face to those businesses and taxpayers.

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon: Why Is Murphy Issuing Reckless, Expensive TTF Debt When Billions Unused in State’s Debt Relief Fund?

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Says Murphy’s Borrowing Plan Repeats the Financial Malpractice that Buried New Jersey in Debt

Senator Declan O’Scanlon questioned why the Murphy administration plans on issuing $750 million in high-interest debt with interest-only payments for a decade when the State has billions sitting unallocated in its debt defeasance and prevention fund.

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon questioned why the Murphy administration plans on issuing $750 million in high-interest debt with interest-only payments for a decade when the State has billions sitting unallocated in its debt defeasance and prevention fund. (©iStock)

“The debt defeasance and prevention fund was created to offset reckless and expensive borrowing of the exact type that the Murphy administration will soon issue for the Transportation Trust Fund,” said O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth), a member of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee. “Instead of using funds already on hand to pay for our upcoming transportation needs, the governor wants to commit to 30 years of debt while kicking the can on principal payments ten years down the road. This proposed borrowing is utterly irresponsible and repeats the financial malpractice that has buried New Jersey in debt.”

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon
Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio/O’Scanlon Call on Legislature to Immediately Enact Sales Tax Moratorium on Natural Gas, Electricity for Homes

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Say State Unfairly Profits from High Cost of Home Heating

With the cost of heating homes with natural gas up by as much as 25 percent, Senator Joe Pennacchio and Senator Declan O’Scanlon have introduced legislation to prevent state revenue from benefiting at the expense of struggling families.

With the cost of heating homes with natural gas up by as much as 25 percent, Sen. Joe Pennacchio and Sen. Declan O’Scanlon have introduced legislation to prevent state revenue from benefiting at the expense of struggling families. (©iStock)

The Senators introduced legislation (S-3354) this week that would create a winter moratorium on sales tax on natural gas and electricity for residential customers.

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon
Senator Michael Testa
Senator Sam Thompson
Senator Steve Oroho

Republican Budget Members Call Out Treasurer for Lack of Transparency on State’s Health Insurance Plans

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The Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee criticized the State Treasurer today for not responding to nine pages of budget questions, and requests for data, about the State’s health insurance plans for public employees submitted seven months ago.

Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee called out the State Treasurer for not responding to nine pages of budget questions about the State’s health insurance plans for public employees submitted seven months ago. (©iStock)

Senate Republican Leader Steven Oroho, Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon, Senator Sam Thompson, and Senator Michael Testa again requested that Treasurer Muoio finally admit her lack of transparency and failure to ever provide responsive answers to routine budget questions and requests for data that are answered every year (except this one) as part of the budget process.

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon Calls for Investigation of Blatant Waste of Money, Vital Learning Time

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Senator Declan O’Scanlon called for an investigation into the New Jersey Department of Education’s handling of the “Start Strong” testing which they announced to school districts in June with no follow up information until one month later. Districts had until the end of September to administer the new testing.

Sen. O’Scanlon called for an investigation into the NJ Department of Education’s handling of the “Start Strong” testing which they announced to school districts in June with no follow up information until one month later. (©iStock)

“This assessment is basically more evidence of the Murphy administration’s out-of-touch mismanagement at the cost of taxpayer money and students’ instruction time. The announcement completely blindsided districts, especially those who didn’t even have their 10-month employees on board,” said O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth). “We need an investigation into how much this has cost, and to get answers that the administration clearly doesn’t want to provide otherwise.”

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