Hudson County Chamber of Commerce Blog, “From the Halls of Trenton”

From the Halls of Trenton is a new, regular feature of the President’s Report. Thank you to Hoboken Strategy Group for partnering with us to keep you up to date on the action while focusing on legislation of interest to our members.  Their first column is an overview of the most important policy document the Governor’s Office produces, the State Budget.

by Hoboken Strategy Group

Did you know that the term “lobbyist” was coined during the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant?  The President would frequent the lobby of The Willard Hotel near the White House to smoke a cigar.  Word got out amongst interest groups of where to catch the President and hence the term “lobbyist” was born.  In Trenton, the ideal place to catch administration officials, lawmakers and other government relations professionals is in the hallways.  As a result, we bring you our observations of the action “From the Halls.”statecap

For our first segment, we provide an update on the proposed New Jersey State Budget.  On February 26, Governor Chris Christie presented his administration’s proposed State Budget for the next fiscal year.  The Governor’s $34.4 billion budget holds the line on discretionary spending without tax increases.  The budget proposal forecasts fiscal 2015 revenue to increase by 5.8 percent from current levels. 

The Legislature has now begun its budgetary review process to allow public input on the effects of the proposed budget.  Throughout April and May, each state agency including the departments of education, transportation, health and senior services, human services, law and public safety will testify before the Senate and Assembly Budget committees to present their agency’s planned budget for the next fiscal year.

In May, legislative leadership will advance budget negotiations with the Governor’s Office and State Treasurer to develop a budget proposal which will be introduced in the Legislature and advanced by the Senate and General Assembly.  The New Jersey State Constitution mandates that the State Budget must be approved by the State Legislature and signed into law by the Governor by midnight on June 30. With a Republican Governor and Democratic controlled Legislature, the budget process is always an exciting one with a tremendous level of negotiation between the administration and legislative leadership.

Since taking office in 2010, the Christie administration has been committed to enhancing the business climate in the State including efforts to reduce business taxes.  The Governor’s budget proposal continues the phase-in of the single sales factor formula for determining Corporate Business Tax liability and providing a net operating loss carry forward for small businesses.  The proposed budget also reduces the minimum tax on S-corporations in the State.  In addition, this year’s budget proposal phases out the Transitional Energy Facility Assessment while funding the Research & Development Tax Credit.

The Governor touted this proposal as a part of the bi-partisan effort “to provide more than $2 billion in tax relief to business in New Jersey.”

Governor Christie’s proposed budget clarifies existing tax laws to include a requirement that out-of-state online retailers collect sales tax from New Jersey customers.  This proposal is meant to support small businesses in maintaining their competitiveness with larger online retailers.

The Governor’s $34.4 billion budget includes a $1.676 billion pension payment, the largest in state history.  This record payment is an increase of more than $650 million from the current budget level.  In 2011, Governor Christie and the Legislature approved an overhaul of the pension and benefit system requiring workers to pay more into the benefit system while requiring the State to increase pension payments for seven budget cycles.  These reforms reduced unfunded state and local pension liabilities by 32 percent.  While these reforms have helped defray future costs for the State and pension payments have been a part of the budget, the State pension system is still $52 billion short of being fully funded, according to the Department of Treasury.

In his address to a joint legislative session, the Governor called upon the Legislature to enact further reforms to help control the increasing costs of public employee pensions, health insurance and debt service.  The Governor stated, “Due to our pension, health benefit and debt obligations only 6 percent of new spending can be focused on the areas where we really want to dedicate our resources- education, tax relief, public safety, higher education, drug rehabilitation, health care and critical services for the most in need.”

As the State Budget advances in the Legislature along with other legislative priorities, it will not just be the Spring/Summer weather which will heat things up in Trenton.  Budget season is always an exciting one and this year should not disappoint.

Check back in for our June edition of “From the Halls of Trenton” and an update on the advancement of the State Budget and other legislation of note to the business community.  If you have any questions or suggestions for this column, please let us know!

Hoboken Strategy Group is a boutique New Jersey government relations and business development firm made up of public affairs professionals with years of experience handling legislative and regulatory issues on the local, state and federal levels.  Kay Elizabeth LiCausi, President of Hoboken Strategy Group, serves on the Government Affairs Committee for the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce as well as the Regional Plan Association’s New Jersey Committee.  Michael J. Comba serves as Vice President of Hoboken Strategy Group and is currently a Fellow with the New Leaders Council-New Jersey.


Single Mom Breadwinners: What’s The Secret to Success?

Studies show that the number of breadwinning moms is on the rise—including some seriously ambitious sisters who are doing it for themselves. How? Here, five single moms share how to balance being Mom and the main money maker

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Kay LiCausi

Profession: founder and CEO of Hoboken Strategy Group, a boutique government relations and business development firm
Age: 41
Number of Children: one daughter, age 2
City: Hoboken, New Jersey

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome as a working single parent?

Finding personal time. I haven’t seen a movie or read a book in 2½ years. I have a vague recollection of what a massage feels like. Last-minute drinks with friends? Not happening. Girls weekend? Not a chance. A workout class costs me double: $30 for the class and $30 in childcare. It’s just not cost-effective. So now, I run with my daughter Lily in the jogging stroller in the mornings before work. The upside is it’s free and good for me. The downside is it takes an hour of my quality Lily time away. She sits in her stroller engrossed in the iPad. I’d much rather be interacting with her, but running clears my head.

How do you juggle work and childcare?

I have a full-time nanny who works from 8 to 5 pm and she stays late once or twice a week when I have to work late for public meetings. Daycare wouldn’t work for me since I have frequent night meetings. My nanny is amazing, but it’s expensive. I pay the equivalent of Harvard tuition for a 2-year-old! We need to have a serious public conversation about childcare options, especially when 40 percent of all family breadwinners are women. I’m a big proponent of full-day kindergarten and quality after-care programs.

What’s your best advice for fellow single working moms?

Learn to manage your time efficiently. I order as much as I can online. I can’t live without or FreshDirect. It saves me from wasting time doing errands. I can order all my household items from the comfort of my couch after Lily goes to bed! And, by checking for coupons online or buying in bulk, it is cost effective too!

Kay LiCausi, President of Hoboken Strategy Group Featured Speaker At Eagleton Institute of Politics 2013 Spring Forum

Kay LiCausi, President of Hoboken Strategy Group featured speaker at Eagleton Institute of Politics 2013 Spring Forum

Kay LiCausi-President of Hoboken Strategy Group

Kay LiCausi

As a Rutgers alumna, I am committed to mentoring young women interested in pursuing a career in government and politics.

Hoboken, NJ (PRWEB) March 06, 2013

Kay LiCausi, President and CEO of New Jersey-based government relations and business development firm Hoboken Strategy Group will be a featured speaker at the Eagleton Institute of Politics 2013 Spring Forum, “Women and Public Leadership: The Inside Story.”

The series is a part of the Douglas Public Leadership Education Network (Douglass PLEN). Kay LiCausi will speak on Wednesday, March 6, Wednesday, April 3 and Wednesday, April 24. All sessions will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. with the April 24 panel to be held from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Eagleton Institute of Politics is located at 191 Ryders Lane in New Brunswick on the Douglass Campus. Additional speakers in the program include Katherine Archuleta, National Political Director for Obama for America 2012 and Kerry Healey, Foreign Policy Coordinator and Special Advisor on the Romney for President Campaign.

“I am truly honored to be a part of this tremendous program,” said LiCausi. “As a Rutgers alumna and as a part of my commitment to mentoring young women interested in pursuing a career in government and politics, it will be a great experience to return to my alma mater to talk about my professional experiences throughout the years.”

The Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University explores state and national politics through research, education and public services, linking the study of politics with its day-to-day practice. The Institute includes the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) and the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP), both established in the early 1970s. Eagleton houses the Center on the American Governor, the Clifford P. Case Professorship of Public Affairs, and the Arthur J. Holland Program on Ethics in Government.

Hoboken Strategy Group is a boutique New Jersey lobbying firm composed of public affairs professionals with years of experience in handling challenges, crises and issues on the local, state and federal levels. The Hudson County-based NJ lobbyists make client service a top priority and deliver the dedication and commitment required to meet their clients’ business goals and objectives. For more information on Hoboken Strategy Group, please visit them on the web at or visit their Facebook page @Hoboken Strategy Group.

Kay LiCausi, Hoboken Mommie of the Month, May 2012

Kay LiCausi

Posted on Sunday, April 29th, 2012
Written by Sarah Himmelbaum

Hoboken Mommies is honored to introduce our May Mommie of the Month, Kay LiCausi.  She is an inspiring women and incredible mom.  We hope you enjoy reading her story as much as we enjoyed sharing it.

“My name is Kay LiCausi, 40, and I am the proud Mommy of 16 month old Lily Susan. I am a single mother-by-choice which means that I conceived my baby girl through the help of an anonymous sperm donor.

How did I come to this decision? I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I always dreamed of having a big family. I just never me the right guy. And then, three and a half years ago, my beautiful and amazing mom lost her battle to breast cancer. I was devastated, she was everything to me. Then six months and one day later, my died of a massive stroke. My brother had died in high school, too. After my dad’s funeral, I did a lot of soul searching and I knew that this was the right path for me. Four months later, I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro to heal my soul and get my strength back. When I came back, I set out to start my family.

I did my research and through the help of an amazing man that I may never know or be able to thank in person, I have my beautiful baby girl. I didn’t know it was possible to be this happy. Every day, every moment is special. Right now, she’s picking up new words every day, she’s obsessed with Mickey and Elmo, and she’s more stubborn than me, if that’s possible!

And yes, its hard. Thank god for, Fresh Direct and my amazing nanny. In the middle of the night when Lily’s sick, it’s just me and it can be scary. I’m exhausted, Lily isn’t a good sleeper. But that’s okay, sleep is over-rated! And, you re-prioritize your life. What used to be important is now far from my mind. My only want is for Lily to be happy, healthy and know that she is loved and protected.

I wouldn’t trade our little family for any “traditional” family in the world. It was the best decision I ever made!” – Kay

What’s your favorite part about being a Hoboken Mommie?


Up until last month, I carried Lily in a baby bjorn facing outwards. I love to walk and last summer, she would spaz she’d be so happy when we walked. She’d raise her hands above her head, kick her legs and laugh like crazy. She made everyone we passed smile. I love the activity and vitality of Hoboken. I can’t imagine being stuck out in the suburbs. We are never alone here. As Hoboken grows and prospers, its only going to get better!


What is your favorite Mommie Moment?


When I come home from work, Lily gets so excited. She stands up and claps and says “clap clap clap” as she’s clapping. She cracks me up.


Tell us about your funniest moment as a new Mommie?


I cut her finger when I was doing her nails. I freaked out! My incredibly sweet neighbor had to come over to calm me down!


How was the transition back to work?


I run my own business, so I had to go back fairly early. I took a month totally off, it was the most special time of my life. January of 2011, it snowed almost every other day and Lily and I were bundled up nice and cozy watching the snow. I tear up just thinking about it. I worked from home in Feb and in March, it was back full time. It was hard, but I don’t have a choice, so I make the best of it!


Best piece of advice for new Mommies?


Do skin-to-skin for the first few weeks. I had Lily in her diaper, under my shirt and the baby sling on top of that for about the first three weeks. It helps regulate their heartbeat and temperature and it is so special. She loved it. I loved it. I’m so glad I did it.


What is your favorite Mommie and baby activity?


Anything that makes Lily smile 🙂


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About Me – Kilimanjaro – We Did It!! (post 3 of 3)

Team Jersey’s Love Hope Strength Journal Update from Summit Day.

by Kay Elizabeth LiCausi on October 5, 2009

WE DID IT!!!!!!

Seven days ago, 25 members of the Kilimanjaro Rocks! Team assembled at the gates to Mt Kilimanjaro. Today ALL of the 25 climbed to the summit of Uhuru (which means freedom in Swahili) – the peak of Mt Kilimanjaro. We walked through the gates, some as friends, some as strangers, and today, we summited as kaka’s and dada’s (brothers and sisters in Swahili). It’s a journey that none of us will ever forget. Nor will we forget the bounds that we forged.

Veterans Mike Peters and Christine Alan, continued their Climb Back from Cancer and new hero Kelly Carpenter joined us with her grace and dignity in her own recent fight. Each one of the 25 had their own story that makes Love Hope Strength events like this highly emotionally charged and deeply rewarding and brings together real people, with real stories, and offers hope in tangible projects to help people fighting this terrible disease in less fortunate parts of the world.

Since we didn’t get to update our journal yesterday – we were at too high an altitude for computers, we’ll start at our Sunday morning 3:30 am wakeup call.

The porters awoke us to freezing temperatures in the black of night. On Sunday, we will hike 2,500 vertical feet, which would be quite a challenge from sea level, let alone, starting at 16,000 feet. The camp is feeling the effects of altitude sickness. We are tired and cold. We have lost our appetites. We have headaches. We can barely sleep. We are sluggish.

Yet, we assembled and started our seven-hour hike up the steepest of steep hills in the darkness. We trekked up lava rock walls. We crawled over boulders. We wore helmets to avoid falling rocks. This was our most technically challenging day. Since it was Sunday, and as the porters passed us, they sang us gospel songs in Swahili.

When we finally reached the top of the glacier camp at 18,500 feet, the porters were singing and cheering us on. It was quite the accomplishment for all 25 of us to reach the camp. Emotions were high, we were hugging, crying, and celebrating our victory.

James took us all to the glacier – to kiss the glacier – a Kilimanjaro tradition. The sight was beautiful and majestic. By 2020, the glaciers won’t exist. We took a group picture at the glacier, trekkers and porters, in celebration of our victory.

James wouldn’t let us head straight to bed, as we all wanted, he warned of migraines and altitude sickness. We walked around in a fog, Slim Jim said “Nobody told me it was going to be like this”. Temperatures were well below freezing. Our water pump froze, but our spirits were high, we had almost made it!!!

Today, Summit day, we again awoke at 3.30am to freezing temperatures, our tents were covered in snow, and we were freezing, freezing cold. There aren’t words to describe the cold. We gathered in the mess tent in silence. The affects of the altitude and the cold had set in. Robin Wilson quietly says, “I’ve never wanted to get anything over more than this.”

At 5am, we set out for the summit in the darkness with the Full Moon, Jupiter, and Mars to guide our way. The trek was slow, breathing at 18,500+ feet was difficult. But the sun rose in the east, and warmed our bodies (we could finally feel our toes) and our souls.

The summit was freezing, but we were elated in our victory. All 25 of us (Glenn Tilbrook with a nasty cough and Carrie Lyn with severe altitude sickness) made the summit. Big Hugs all around, trekkers and porters, celebrating our summit.

Mike, Nick, Robin, Slim Jim, and Brien joined in a rousing chorus of the foundation’s anthem, “Love Hope Strength”. The prayer flags were draped throughout the trekkers and porters and all the while Stash and Owen risked frostbite to capture the moment.

After taking in the incredible views from the roof of Africa, we raced down the mountain. And when we say raced, we mean that we slipped and slided for several hours in a ski-like fashion over rocks and ash to the Barafu Hut. After several wipeouts, we arrived for lunch for much needed sustenance. We cheered the chef for providing us with grilled cheese and tomatoes!!! Then, off again for another several hours of tortuous downhill climbing to camp where for the first time in seven days, beer awaited us. We made it ☺

We’d like to put out a special thank you to the African Environments crew, led by James and Mchili. The 125 guides and porters carried our guitars, gear, shelter, food, latrines, and more importantly lifted our spirits on a daily basis. These brave men always always always had a smile on their face and a kind, encouraging word to say. Each one of us was touched by them, without them, the 25 would have never made it to the top.

All our best to you for love hope and strength,

Team Jersey: Angie Devanney, Ryan Garner and Kay LiCausi

PS. From Angie. George “Wally”, Ryan Paul and Abbey Juia without your love and nightly messages, I would have never summitted Kili (because I left the “Manjaro” at the summit this morning). I can never repay your support.

PS from Ryan, Mom and Dad, thank you for giving me life, showing me love, and making me into the man I am today. I have learned a lot from this trip and to quote Slim Jim “step out of your comfort zone and you we will learn a lot about yourself and humanity. Go Team Kobe.

PS From Kay. To my friends and family – I survived the cold!!! And yes, when we were at 16,000 feet, at the Lava Tower camp, the sun was setting to the west, and we were above the clouds. I felt the magic and presence of my beautiful mom, my energetic dad and my loving brother. It was a beautiful moment and I am so lucky to have had it and shared it with such wonderful people. Xoxo

About Me – Kilimanjaro Here I Come! (post 2 of 3)

Kilimanjaro – here I come!!!

Training for Kilimanjaro, we climbed Pikes Peak, 14,100 feet.

by Kay Elizabeth LiCausi on Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 1:27pm

After four months of aggressive training, preparation, fundraising, and stressing (!!) my trek up Mt Kilimanjaro is almost here. I leave in 24 hours!!!

I’m both scared to death and phenomenally excited!!! I’ve been running, walking, riding my bike, lifting weights, sleeping in a tent that simulates high altitude — everything I could possibly do to make it to the summit of 19,341 feet!

In addition to this being a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, I am so proud to be bringing love, hope and strength to cancer patients in East Africa by buying state of the art equipment for their main cancer center.

I have so many people to thank –

-Angie Devanney for talking me into this crazy adventure, lifting weights with me at the crack of dawn, and for being my rock this past year. You are the best!!!!

-George Devanney for asking me to co-chair the Union County Love Hope Strength Rock On! Walkathon last weekend and for making this all possible.

-Ryan Garner for daring to accompany me and Angie on this adventure! ☺

-All of my contributors who so generously donated to support Love Hope Strength. With your help we are bringing much needed cancer equipment to East Africa and I couldn’t have done this without you.

-All of you who encouraged me (and questioned my sanity!) along the way.

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

It’ll take us seven days to hike to summit. We are truly roughing it. We sleep in tents and there are no showers (yikes!). All my clothes have to fit in one little bag that at the moment – I cannot zip ☹.

We start in the heat of a rain forest and travel through five different climate zones to finish in sub-zero temperatures on top of a glacier. And, as most of you know, I hate to be cold, so that is my biggest challenge!

But along the way – we’ll be inspired by great music from my fellow trekkers: Mike Peters singing Strength, Nick Harper singing Imaginary Friend, Cy Curnin singing Remember Me When I’m Gone and more from Robin Wilson, Slim Jim Phantom, and Glenn Tillbrook.

On October 2nd, we’ll join Lance Armstrong in LIVESTRONG Day – a day of global action to spread the word about the impact of cancer and to push for more resources to eliminate this horrible disease. We’ll be wearing yellow LIVESTRONG shirts – and I encourage you to join us!

On October 5th, we wake up hours before dawn to make the final trek (in the dark!). When we reach the summit at 19,341 feet, we’ll be standing on the roof of Africa, listening to these great musicians performing a concert, and our 6,000 prayer flags will be flying high taking our prayers for our loved ones into the wind.

I lost both my parents in the past year, so I am trekking in their honor, as well as, to heal my soul. I’ll be thinking of my beautiful, caring, kind, courageous, loving mom who I lost to cancer last November; my energetic, fun-loving father who I lost to a stroke in May; and my wonderful brother who I lost in car accident twenty-four years ago. At 19,341 feet, I’ll reach up to touch the heavens and feel their embrace.

And, I’ll be thinking of all of you and your loved ones.

My prayers will be with our friends and family that we lost this past year…. Elaine Comba, John Warms, Gene Sikanowicz, Angelo Cifelli, Buzzy Fox, John McCabe, Patria Camacho, Robert McPherson, Anthony Impreveduto.

And I’ll be cheering on the courageous cancer survivors that inspire me every day. We need more survivors, which is why I pledge to dedicate my time and my money to finding a cure and increasing access to life-saving equipment. I also registered to become a bone marrow donor and I encourage you to do the same.

Please follow my trek at There will be daily updates, photos, podcasts and our GPS coordinates. And, you can send us messages!

Love Hope Strength is an international charity dedicated to providing support for cancer centers throughout the world. LHS purchased the very first mammography machine and the first internal radiation machine for the country of Nepal. LHS funded a mobile cancer unit in Peru, which will educate, screen and treat up to 30,000 patients per year in the remote regions of Peru. LHS supports the Valerie Fund right here in New Jersey to assist children with cancer and blood disorders. LHS has added over 3,000 people to the blood marrow donor database and has already found 16 matches! For our trek, we’ll be buying much needed equipment for a cancer center in Kenya.

And again, if you contributed – Thank you!!!! Thank you!!!! Thank you!!!!

And while this is not a solicitation for money – if you want to contribute, you still can! A donation, in any amount, can help save lives!

To make a difference globally, you can log onto the website and make a contribution through my trekking bio to support the trek and the cancer center in East Africa.

Or to make a difference locally, you can still contribute to last weekend’s local Union County Love Hope Strength Rock On! Walkathon. Walkathon funds will be used to help the Valerie Fund assist children with cancer throughout the great State of New Jersey.

My best wishes to all of you and your families for good health and happiness,


Kay Elizabeth

About Me – 2009 Kilimanjaro Climb (post 1 of 3)

Please support me in my battle against cancer!!!!

by Kay Elizabeth LiCausi on Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 9:52pm

Me and my beautiful mom during her courageous fight.

Dear Friend,

I’m taking my battle against cancer to Africa! This September, I am joining the Love Hope Strength Foundation for a trek to the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro at 19,341 feet! The Kilimanjaro Rocks! Climb Back from Cancer will take us eight days of hiking and sleeping in camps, but we’ll be raising money for a great cause – the main cancer center for East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya.

Love Hope Strength is an international charity dedicated to providing support for cancer centers throughout the world. LHS purchased the very first mammography machine and the first internal radiation machine for the country of Nepal. LHS funded a mobile cancer unit in Peru which will educate, screen and treat up to 30,000 patients per year in the remote regions of the country. LHS supports the Valerie Fund right here in New Jersey to assist children with cancer and blood disorders. LHS has added over 2,000 people to the blood marrow donor database and has already found 12 matches!

I am dedicating my trek in memory of my beautiful and brave mom, Susan Strawderman. My mom always was my inspiration and she still is. When I was young, I was very shy and I spent the first five or so years of my life standing behind her – always holding onto her hand or her leg. She was the light of my life.

She was super-mom. She was an amazing cook and an even better baker. She’d host neighborhood cupcake parties, and make cupcakes for us with icing clowns on the top. She handmade all my Halloween costumes. She always had a smile on her face and a kind word to say. She made every day special.

My mom taught me many things throughout my life. We didn’t have much, so she taught me the joy of simple pleasures. She faced many challenges in her life, so she taught me to be brave in the face of adversity. When my brother died at 17, we realized that life was too short, and she taught me to celebrate life. And, through her kindness, she taught me to help others before I helped myself.

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2006 and she had chemo, surgery, and radiation. Her tumor completely disappeared from the chemo and I thought we were home free. But, just ten months after finishing treatments, in December 2007, the cancer reappeared in her liver.

We launched back into chemo and despite getting every single side effect possible, she took every treatment like a trooper. Up until the very end, she never gave up hope; she was determined to beat it back. She faced her cancer with strength, determination and dignity.

In between doctors appointments and chemo treatments, we made the most of our last year together. We redecorated her house, we watched cooking shows, we treasured every moment. But unfortunately, on November 11th at about 1.45am, she died peacefully in my arms.

There’s not an hour of every day that I don’t think of her and wish that I could have fought harder or done something else to save her.

With the spirit of my incredible mom in my heart, I am trekking these two mountains to help other Mothers and Daughters across the world. To give them the extra years, the extra weeks, the extra moments. To give them the gift of love, hope and strength.

Please sponsor me! By doing so, you’ll bring much needed cancer equipment and resources to the main cancer center for East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. You’ll also help fund bone marrow drives here in the United States. Please make your checks payable to Love Hope Strength and send it to me at 1401 Washington Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030 or you can donate online at and click on Kay LiCausi. A contribution, in any amount, will bring much needed resources to those who need it most!

Thank you for your support and generosity.

All my best,


Kay Elizabeth LiCausi