- Zimmer Faults Corzine/Lautenberg Team for NJ’s Affordability Crisis -

Trenton, NJ - At a press conference with State Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr., U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer today condemned Governor Jon Corzine's warmed-over toll hike plan and criticized Senator Frank Lautenberg for New Jersey's affordability crisis.  

Zimmer released the following statement:

"New Jersey families are struggling to deal with higher gasoline and food prices while paying the highest state and local taxes in the country.  The last thing we need is drastically higher tolls.

"Unlike Governor Corzine's earlier toll hike plan, not one penny of this increase will be used to pay down the enormous state debt wreaking havoc on our state's finances.  Nor will the new tolls replenish the rapidly depleting the state's Transportation Trust Fund. 

"Last week, I called on Senator Lautenberg to join me in opposing Governor Corzine's new plan to more than double our tolls and today I am renewing that call.  

"Senator Lautenberg not only has failed to speak out against Governor Corzine's fiscal mismanagement; he has failed to adequately address New Jersey's transportation needs at the federal level. 

"After 24 years with Frank Lautenberg in the Senate, New Jersey not only ranks last in the nation in our overall return on our federal tax dollars; we even get shortchanged on our federal gas tax dollars.  Every year we get back less from the Federal Highway Trust Fund than we pay in federal gasoline taxes.  This is a shocking situation for a corridor state represented by a Senator who claims to be an advocate for New Jersey transportation.  

"Not only is our state Transportation Trust Fund going broke; so is the Federal Highway Trust Fund, which is projected to be unable to pay its bills next month.  If the last federal transportation bill hadn't been porked up with $24 billion in earmarks with the support of Senator Lautenberg, the Federal Highway Trust Fund would be able to meet its core obligations.   

"Senator Lautenberg has been asleep at the wheel as other states have taken money out of our pockets to fund ‘bridges to nowhere' and other wasteful transportation projects.  The result is higher tolls and higher taxes for New Jerseyans.

"For too long Senator Lautenberg's and Governor Corzine's policies of high taxes, big government and wasteful spending have been hurting New Jersey families.  It's time for a change in the management of our government.  I will fight to restore fiscal responsibility to our state and our nation."

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Lawrenceville, NJ - The Zimmer for Senate campaign sent the following to letter to the Lautenberg for Senate Campaign reiterating U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer's challenge to debate their respective positions on the important issues facing New Jersey. 

Text of the Letter to the Lautenberg for Senate Campaign is below:

 

Brendan Gill

Campaign Manager

Lautenberg for Senate

One Gateway Center,

   3rd Floor

Newark, N.J.  07102

 

Dear Mr. Gill:

            I write as Special Counsel to the Zimmer Campaign to reiterate our challenge to Senator Lautenberg, first made in early June, that he commit to holding face-to-face debates with Dick Zimmer as soon as possible so that New Jersey voters have the opportunity to hear directly from the candidates on the important issues in this campaign.

            We have now received, and accepted, more than a dozen debate invitations from organizations around the State, including from major media outlets, but we understand from those organizations that Senator Lautenberg has consistently demurred.*  We have even seen your form letter responding to such proposals, in which you say you will "advise" later because "Senator Lautenberg's top priority" is "attending to his official duties in the United States Senate."  The Senator's "official duties" may have served as a convenient excuse for avoiding appearing in New Jersey for debates this Summer (although he somehow managed to show up repeatedly in the Hamptons).  But now, the Fall campaign is upon us, so this obvious pretext for ducking debates won't wash any longer.

            New Jersey voters deserve better. Indeed, back in 1982, when Frank Lautenberg first sought this office, he committed to debate "morning, noon and night in all 21 counties of New Jersey until Election Day," "barnstorming across the state in a series of debates."  As he so eloquently put it then, there is an "obligation to let the citizens of this state make their own decision" through debates.  He was right then, and he's wrong now.

            Dick Zimmer is prepared to honor his "obligation" to the public and proceed with a series of debates as soon as possible "to let the voters of New Jersey decide."  There's no time like the present, so let the debates begin.

 

Sincerely,

Randy M. Mastro

Special Counsel

*  The only invitation that, to our knowledge, your campaign has accepted -  from United Jewish Communities of MetroWest for an appearance on October 27 - isn't a debate at all. It's a forum at which it is proposed each candidate be questioned separately and then appear on stage together only for a brief handshake as one exits and the other enters. The event organizers tell us, however, that they are open to our joint input on format. Since both campaigns have already agreed to appear, let's tell them that we're both prepared to have a spirited debate of the issues that evening in which the candidates appear together on the record to answer questions and respond to each other in a debate format open to the press and public.

 

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St. Paul, MN - In response to Governor Corzine's new plan to increase tolls by 110 percent on the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike, U.S Senate candidate Dick Zimmer today issued the following statement:

"New Jersey families carry the highest tax burden in the nation.  Governor Corzine's failed fiscal policies have created an affordability crisis in our state. New Jerseyans are struggling to pay higher prices for gasoline and food and we currently pay the highest property taxes in the country.  The last thing we need is to pay steeply higher tolls.

"I call on Senator Frank Lautenberg to join me in opposing Governor Corzine's new plan to increase our tolls over the next 15 years.

"Unlike Corzine's earlier toll hike plan, not a penny of this increase will be used to retire the state's enormous debt burden. Nor, will it replenish the rapidly disappearing Transportation Trust Fund. 

"It's time for government in New Jersey and Washington to begin living within its means just as our families must do.  It's time for a change. I will fight to restore fiscal responsibility to our state and our nation."

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- Senator Lautenberg - Big Tea Party Buff -

Lawrenceville, NJ - U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer's "Waste of the Week" campaign this week targets Senator Frank Lautenberg's support of federal funding for the Sparta Teapot Museum in North Carolina. 

The Sparta Teapot Museum was the vision of Sunny and Gloria Kamm who wanted to publicly display their teapot collection.  The idea was that a teapot museum would increase tourism to the area, but even the Sparta town manager conceded that the project was "speculative."  The museum is 90 minutes from the nearest airport.  

In 2006, the Sparta Teapot Museum received two separate $250,000 earmarks from the transportation appropriations bill.  Senator Frank Lautenberg supported these earmarks by agreeing to the conference report by unanimous consent.  (November 21, 2005)

In 2007, CBS Evening News aired a segment on the Sparta Teapot Museum asking the question, "Why should your federal tax dollars be used for this local project?" To view the CBS News Eye On Your Money segment "Pouring Pork From a Teapot," click here.  

 Zimmer issued the following statement:

"Just because teapots have a cute song, doesn't mean they deserve a museum at the taxpayer's expense.

"Instead of properly spending federal tax dollars to address national needs such as high energy prices, Senator Lautenberg is channeling funds to help other lawmakers use the pork-barrel game to get reelected. Until we put a stop to wasteful spending by Washington, we will continue to see more teapot museums and other dubious projects sprout up across the nation.

"It is time for a change from the pork-barrel politics of the past.  New Jersey taxpayers deserve a Senator who will not squander their tax dollars to house someone's teapot collection or to subsidize someone's reelection campaign, but who will instead put the concerns of New Jersey taxpayers first."

Zimmer's "Waste of the Week" campaign is designed to highlight Senator Frank Lautenberg's record of supporting wasteful spending and pork-barrel politics at the expense of New Jersey taxpayers.  Previous Wastes of the Week were the $300 billion Farm Bill, the $389 million Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska, a $225,000 pamphlet on beaver damage and various Monuments to Me spending projects. 

 

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- With Senator Jim DeMint as his Witness, Zimmer signs the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste Earmark Reform Pledge -

St. Paul, MN - U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer today pledged to support common-sense reform in order to stop the wasteful spending of tax dollars in Washington by signing the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste's Senate Earmark Reform Pledge.  Zimmer's pledge was witnessed by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), who has been one of the Senate's leaders in the fight against wasteful government spending. 

Zimmer released the following statement:

"By signing this pledge, I have affirmed my dedication to putting a stop to wasteful spending and to bringing fiscal responsibility, accountability and transparency to Washington. 

"For 24 years, Senator Frank Lautenberg has been sending New Jersey taxpayers' dollars to the other 49 states to build ‘bridges to nowhere' and to fund other pet spending programs.  For too long Senator Lautenberg and his pork-barrel style of politics have been a part of the problem.  It's time for a change.

"I don't want to play the pork-barrel game better; I want to shut it down.  I want to cut taxes and wasteful spending so New Jerseyans can keep our dollars in our own pockets to begin with.  Government must be resourceful and do more with less. As the next Senator from New Jersey, I will work alongside Senator DeMint and other like-minded lawmakers to cut wasteful spending and bring about true fiscal responsibility." 

Dick Zimmer was named a Taxpayer Hero by the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste every year he served in Congress, and he was ranked the most fiscally conservative member of the entire Congress three times by the National Taxpayers Union. 

To view the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste Senate Earmark Reform Pledge, click here.

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