By ED SALVAS
The Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce played host to Sen. Jennifer Beck at a recent breakfast meeting held at the VFW Harold Daly Post 1333.
Following a buffet breakfast provided by DJ’s Delights, Beck, discussed a number of issues ranging from rental housing to transportation funding, the minimum wage and the gas tax.
Beck discussed how she and Asbury Park Councilwoman Yvonne Clayton, who also attended the breakfast, worked together to obtain funding for replacement of the Boston Way Village project on the city’s west side. She also lauded the recent series in the Asbury Park Press on rental housing which uncovered what she called “completely inhumane conditions” in rental units across the state, and singled out the property at 1215 Springwood Ave. in Asbury Park as one of the worst examples.
Beck was critical of the state for providing funds without regard for these deplorable conditions and for allowing the use of LLC’s by owners, making it hard to track them down. Reading the stories, Beck said it became a “human and personal issue” with her.
She warned of an impending increase in the state gasoline tax as soon as August thanks to a possible shortfall in funding. She said that if the projected revenue from the recently approved 23-cents-a-gallon increase are not met, the state Treasurer could raise the tax another two-cents a gallon.
Some other concerns Beck mentioned are the impact of the $15 dollar an hour minimum wage on small businesses and not-for-profits, and a needed reform of the Public Employee Pension System which she said allows for convicted public employees to continue collecting a pension until death.
One of the hghlight of Beck’s term was the opportunity to bring members of the championship Asbury Park High School football and boy’s soccer teams to Trenton for recognition by the State Senate. She noted that in addition to their athletic success, they are also performing better academically.
Beck has served in the Senate from the 11th District in Monmouth County since 2008 and is being challenged for re-election this year by County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal.
The meeting ended with a presentation by Shawn Triggs of the American Cancer Society. Triggs announced plans for the Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Asbury Park on Saturday, September 23 in Bradley Park. Information is available at www.RelayforLife.org/AsburyParkNJ.