New Jersey's 1st Legislative District

Senator Michael Testa

Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Michael Testa

Senate Passes Pennacchio & Testa Bill Bolstering Access to Government Records

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The Bipartisan Measure Addresses Limits in the Emergency Health and Powers Act that Interfere with Transparency 

Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio and Senator Michael Testa that would lift restrictions on access to public and government records during declared emergencies was approved today by the Senate.

Legislation sponsored by Senator Pennacchio and Senator Testa that would lift restrictions on access to public and government records during declared emergencies was approved today by the Senate. (SenateNJ.com)

During the current pandemic, the Murphy Administration has repeatedly relied on sections of the Health Powers Act, enacted in 2005, to deny Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests for information about preparations and decisions relating to the virus outbreak.

“The Act was never intended to keep the public in the dark in times of crisis,” said Pennacchio (R-26), “but today it is being used to conceal data and information on decisions impacting public health and fiscal stability from public and legislative scrutiny.”

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Senator Kristin Corrado
Senator Michael Testa

Testa & Corrado Bill to Protect Military Combat Zone Pay from NJ Taxation Clears Senate

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Bill Exempts $225 Weekly Combat Zone Stipends from the State Income Tax

Combat pay earned by military men and women serving in dangerous regions around the globe would no longer be subject to New Jersey gross income tax under legislation sponsored by Senator Michael Testa and Senator Kristin Corrado and advanced today by the Senate.

Senator Testa and Senator Corrado sponsor legislation exempting combat pay earned by military men and women serving in dangerous regions around the globe from state income tax. (Wikimedia Commons)

“Brave young men and women like Vineland’s own Sgt. Dominick Pilla willingly leave the safety of their homes and the company of loved ones to defend our freedoms,” said Testa (R-1). “When they are assigned to combat zones, with added tension and risk, they receive weekly ‘combat pay’ stipends of an additional $225 in military compensation. For soldiers who reside in state, New Jersey wants a piece of that hazard bonus. It is time to end this despicable money grab by a state that is infamous for high taxes and over-spending.”

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

Senate Republican Budget Committee Members Pan Murphy’s Wasteful, Tax-Raising, Bait & Switch Spending Plan

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The Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee panned Governor Phil Murphy’s wasteful, tax-raising, bait and switch spending plan prior to a committee vote on the proposal:

The Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee panned Gov. Phil Murphy’s wasteful, tax-raising, bait and switch spending plan. (Pixabay)

Senate Republican Budget Officer Steven Oroho (R-24):

“During this unique crisis that has caused so much pain for our families and economy, New Jersey deserved for its leaders to work together in a transparent, collaborative, and bipartisan process that welcomed public input into how we could help the state recover through this budget,” said Oroho. “Instead, we had a superficial hearing process that didn’t even have an outline of a budget to review, the public was excluded, and the details were negotiated in a private, partisan manner that could not have been more opaque. It’s disappointing that backroom Trenton politics has won out once again.”

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Senator Michael Testa

Testa, McClellan & Simonsen Bill Designating Historic Cape May Home as NJ’s Harriet Tubman Museum Signed by Governor

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The historic Howell House on Lafayette Street in Cape May is now officially recognized as the Harriet Tubman Museum in New Jersey.

The historic Howell House on Lafayette Street in Cape May is now officially recognized as the Harriet Tubman Museum in New Jersey under legislation sponsored by Senator Testa and Assemblyman McClellan and signed by Gov. Murphy. (Wikipedia)

Governor Murphy today signed legislation sponsored by Senator Michael Testa and Assemblyman Antwan McClellan (A-3201/S-2585) to honor Tubman, a legendary abolitionist and advocate for women’s voting rights.

“Harriet Tubman was fiercely committed to equality for all people, black or white, male or female,” said Testa. “Through her tireless persistence, this determined woman helped bring about two historic society advancements that changed American society forever – she personally helped lead dozens of southern slaves to freedom in the north, and she was instrumental in the women’s suffrage movement.”

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

Statements from Senate Republican Budget Committee Members on Democrats’ Tax Deal

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The four Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee issued the following statements in response to a tax deal announced by Governor Phil Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders today.

The Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee responded to a tax deal announced by Governor Phil Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders. (Pixabay)

Senate Republican Budget Officer Steven Oroho (R-24):

“Year after year, IRS data shows that New Jersey continues to lose significantly more taxable income from high wage earners leaving the state than it gains from those who are moving in from elsewhere. The Democrats’ tax deal will accelerate that trend, make our State’s finances more unstable, and ultimately drive taxes higher for everyone. While the tax deal may seem like good progressive politics for Democrats with their elections on the horizon, it’s a bad economic move that will only dig the Garden State into a deeper financial hole over the long run. Harmful schemes like this have been happening for years, but the Democrats keep pulling the wool over people’s eyes. They still have done nothing to enact structural reforms that would lower costs for taxpayers.”

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Senator Michael Testa

Testa: Democrats’ New Voter Suppression Legislation ‘Pointless’ After Murphy Strips Right to Vote in Polling Booth

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Says Gov. Murphy Engaged in Biggest Voter Suppression Scheme in New Jersey History

Noting that Governor Murphy has already issued an executive order stripping New Jersey voters of the right to cast their ballots in a voting booth this November, Senator Michael Testa responded to the introduction of pointless legislation by Assembly Democrats that purports to “protect voters from intimidation through the use of ‘poll watchers’ and law enforcement officers stationed at New Jersey polling sites.”

Noting that Gov. Murphy has already stripped New Jersey voters of the right to cast their ballots in a voting booth this November, Sen. Michael Testa responded to the introduction of pointless legislation by Assembly Democrats that purports to ‘protect voters from intimidation’ at polling sites. (SenateNJ.com)

“Let’s be 100% clear. Governor Murphy is engaged in the biggest voter suppression scheme in New Jersey history,” said Testa (R-1). “Under his executive orders, many New Jersey voters who want to visit their local polling center to cast their ballot securely in a voting booth on Election Day will be prevented from doing so. Instead of scaring New Jerseyans of the Boogeyman for headlines, my Democratic colleagues could help us solve this real example of voter suppression that Governor Murphy is inflicting upon New Jersey. I won’t hold my breath waiting.”

Senator Michael Testa

Editorial: Gov. Murphy Wrong to Cut Funding for School-Based Counseling Programs

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The following editorial by Senator Michael Testa (R-1) on budget cuts proposed by Governor Phil Murphy to school-based counseling programs for children was published by the Press of Atlantic City on September 13, 2020:

The failure of Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration to adequately prepare for the new 2020/2021 school year has placed children across New Jersey, including young and teenage students in my South Jersey legislative district, in harm’s way.

Sen. Michael Testa’s editorial on budget cuts proposed by Gov. Phil Murphy to school-based counseling programs for children was published by the Press of Atlantic City on September 13, 2020. (Pixabay)

The governor’s proposed state budget for next year slashes funding for important school-based counseling programs in a way that appears to ignore that the COVID-19 pandemic has churned out a mental health pandemic in its wake.

Three in 10 parents have reported that their children are “already experiencing harm to their emotional or mental health because of social distancing and closures,” according to a recent Gallup poll.

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Senator Michael Testa

Testa: Restoring Funding to School-Based Counseling Programs that Murphy Proposed Cutting Not Difficult

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Following reports that Governor Phil Murphy has seen the light after being shamed for slashing critically important counseling programs for kids, Senator Michael Testa (R-1) said finding a way to restore funding for the School-Based Youth Services Program is not difficult.

Following reports that Gov. Phil Murphy has seen the light after being shamed for slashing critically important counseling programs for kids, Sen. Michael Testa said finding a way to restore funding for the School-Based Youth Services Program is not difficult. (©iStock)

“We have children who need help coping with the stresses of lockdowns, uncertainty with school, and the many other challenges that have resulted from COVID-19,” said Testa, a member of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee. “That’s why it was so utterly shocking that Governor Murphy would propose slashing budget funding for critically important mental health support programs for kids exactly when they need extra help. Thankfully, the governor’s mistake is not something that should be difficult to fix.”

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Senator Michael Testa

Testa: Murphy Hiding Behind COVID-19 to Hoard Money for Next Year’s Election Budget & Baby Bonds

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Says It’s the Governor’s Obvious & Unspoken Game Plan

Senator Michael Testa (R-1), a member of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement on Governor Murphy’s unspoken, but obvious, reelection budget strategy:

Sen. Michael Testa issued the following statement on Gov. Murphy’s unspoken, but obvious, reelection budget strategy. (Pixabay)

“While Governor Murphy claims he needs to borrow billions of dollars to prevent layoffs and fund property tax relief programs, consider the following things in this year’s budget that the borrowing will really support:

  • Increasing the surplus by $1 billion, which is money that will be left in the bank and spent next year;
  • Increasing prefunding of future pensions by $1 billion, which is money that will be put in a bank and spent decades from now; and
  • Offsetting intentionally overstated revenue losses by $2 billion, which will provide him an extra $2 billion to spend when revenues come in better than projected – as they will;

“Let’s be perfectly clear: not one dime of the billions Murphy will borrow has anything to do with addressing COVID-19 related needs. It has to do with squirreling away money for next year’s budget so he can play Santa Claus as he runs for reelection.

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

Senate Republicans Propose Balanced Budget Without Murphy’s Billions in Borrowing & Tax Increases

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Evidence Mounting State Revenues Performing Better than Administration Will Admit

The four Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee offered a path to a balanced State Budget for 2021 that does not rely on the billions of dollars of borrowing and tax increases proposed by Governor Phil Murphy.

The Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee offered a path to a balanced State Budget for 2021 that does not rely on the billions of dollars of borrowing and tax increases proposed by Gov. Phil Murphy. (SenateNJ.com)

The Republican plan was proposed in a letter (click here for PDF) to the majority Senate Democrats from Senate Republican Budget Officer Steven Oroho (R-24), Senator Sam Thompson (R-12), Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), and Senator Michael Testa (R-1).

“The Murphy Administration has done everything possible to avoid being transparent with legislators and the public about the true state of the State’s finances,” said Oroho. “Despite the doomsday picture that’s being painted to engender support for the governor’s plan to tax and borrow billions, we have mounting evidence that State revenues are performing much better than the administration will admit. Based on the improving trends reported by nonpartisan budget analysts, we have put forward a fiscally responsible plan to balance the State budget without the harmful and expensive gimmicks proposed by the governor.”

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