No silver bullets in post-Sandy rebuilding

WOODBRIDGE – With regards to post-Sandy rebuilding, there remain immense challenges with regards to making up for the substantial loss in tax bases in various communities.

But all of the legislative leaders agreed at a New Jersey Business and Industry Association policy conference that relying on remaining residents in the devastated municipalities to pick up the tab would be inappropriate.

Still, at least one person, Senate President Steve Sweeney, said, echoing Gov. Chris Christie, that some tax hikes in those communities are probably inevitable.

“The reality is it’s got to be paid for somehow,” he said.

Still, there are some things that can be done to soften the financial blow.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-21) of Westfield, called for massive flexibility in the rebuilding grants that he hopes the state will receive from the federal government.

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) of Westfield, called for streamlining a highly bureaucratic process at the municipal level, for such things as filing for building permits.

But Sweeney also called for better and smarter rebuilding methods so the infrastructure will have a better chance of withstanding future weather events. .  

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34) of East Orange, said there’s “no magic or silver bullet,” to solving the problem. She said it’s important for all of the state’s 120 legislators to gain a deep understanding of the rebuilding challenges that lie ahead and use their “creativity and imagination.”

"I don't think what he's doing tonight, the method by which he's doing it helps to build a trustful relationship."
—Gov. Chris Christie reacting to President Barack Obama's speech on immigration reform.