TRENTON — On President Trump’s 99th day in office Friday, community activists, labor leaders and state lawmakers announced they had formed an organization they said would protect New Jerseyans from the administration’s “immoral” environment, health care and budget policies.
The New Jersey Resistance Coalition represents both the 4,000 volunteers who have turned out for marches and protests since January, and now a handful of state legislators who pledged they will sponsor bills that blunt the impact of federal budget cuts and Trump’s most “immoral” policies.
“Our state has been at the forefront of the resistance movement on critical issues like health care, labor rights and immigration. This is the next concrete step for activists and leaders to stand up to regressive policies of the Trump administration,” Analilia Mejia director of the Working Families Alliance, said at a Statehouse press conference.
If Congress supports the 30 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, “we might have to do things legislatively to make-up for what might be coming out of Washington,” Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) said.
“If in fact the federal government does away with water testing at our beaches, maybe New Jersey will have to fill in, and maybe New Jersey taxpayers will feel that because we have to keep our beaches and our recreational areas safe,” Weinberg said.
New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel added that Trump — “that fossil fool” — has proposed “40 major actions against the environment in 99 days,” including Friday’s executive order aimed at expanding oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans to create more jobs.
Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) said she was troubled by the Trump proposal earlier this week that would eliminate local property tax deductions from federal income taxes. New Jersey pays the highest property taxes in the nation. The proposal also calls for the elimination or reduction of some taxes paid by corporations and the wealthiest citizens.
“If the corporate tax rate goes from to 35 percent to 15, we may have to do something so that corporate New Jersey is paying their fair share,” said Oliver, the former Assembly speaker.
Weinberg acknowledged any bill they introduce is unlikely to gain traction until Trump’s friend and advisor, Gov. Chris Christie finishes his term in mid-January. Weinberg said these bills “would be ready for a new governor and New Jersey will make its stand.”
The legislature has already passed a bill responding to Trump’s refusal to release his income taxes, Weinberg noted. Presidential candidates who want their name on New Jersey’s election ballot would have to submit five years of their income tax returns to the state Division of Elections. The bill awaits action by the governor.
Hetty Rosenstein, the state director of the Communications Workers of America and a state leader…