Volume 6/Issue 10

  • Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan Announces Run for State Senate
  • Senator Paul Sarlo Unveils Framework of TTF Renewal Plan

Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan Announces Run for State Senate

Assemblyman Education Committee Chairman Patrick Diegnan formally announced his intention to seek the soon to be vacated Senate seat in the 18th legislative district.  The current holder of that seat, State Senator Peter Barnes, was nominated for a superior court judgeship by Governor Christie last week. 

Assemblyman Diegnan has moved quickly to gain the support of local elected officials in the district for his campaign, including district running-mate, Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, as well as every Democratic mayor and municipal party chairman.  He is unlikely to face a competitive challenge to succeed Senator Barnes.  

The Assemblyman has served as the Education Committee Chairman since 2010.  He is also a member of the Regulated Professions Committee and the Consumer Affairs Committee.

Assemblyman Diegnan is a lifelong resident of South Plainfield.  He is a lawyer in private practice, a member of the New Jersey and Middlesex Bar Associations and the municipal attorney for the Borough of Spotswood.  He was previously a faculty member at Middlesex County College, teaching business law and accounting.

The Senate seat is likely to open up soon, as Senator Barnes’ confirmation process may be completed as early as next week.

Senator Paul Sarlo Unveils Framework of TTF Renewal Plan

Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo released the framework of a plan to renew the State’s Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) at a hearing to review the Department of Transportation’s FY 2017 budget yesterday. 

The plan includes an increase in New Jersey’s 14.5 cent gas tax combined with tax relief proposals, as Governor Christie has stated that he would only consider a legislative package of that nature.

The framework is comprised of the following components:

  • The aforementioned gas tax increase, to support an annual $2 billion plan for road, mass transit, bridge and other transportation-related projects, including a doubling of local-aid project funding;
  • Phasing out the State’s estate tax over a five-year period;
  • Reducing taxes on retirement income for individuals making less than $50,000 per year;
  • An income tax deduction for charitable donations that is favored by Senate Republicans.

If a new TTF renewal plan is not in place by July 1, no new TTF-supported projects will commence and all current TTF dollars will essentially go towards debt service payments.