Morning News Digest: February 3, 2011

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Thursday in committee: electric cars, school vouchers, and a budget discussion

Ten Assembly committees will meet Thursday in the Statehouse Annex on a variety of issues, ranging from a bill that ads scooters to the roller skating and skateboarding helmet law to a bill moving the state towards progressive treatment of drug and alcohol offenders and away from prolonged imprisonment.  (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)



Governor’s office responds to toll flap

In response to Democratic lawmakers’ claims that a recent report from the state Office of Legislative Services proves an upcoming toll hike can and should be rolled back, a spokesman for the governor called the Democrats’ attacks posturing and said they have offered no alternative plan.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Christie to appear on Fox business show

Gov. Chris Christie and several corporate leaders will appear at a business roundtable with a national business television anchor this morning.  (Staff, Courier-Post)



Donors cited as factor in mapping

State Democrats said Wednesday that Republicans are relying on undisclosed private donors to gain an edge in redrawing political boundaries, an effort that will affect who New Jerseyans will be able to vote for in November.  (Jordan, Courier-Post)



Treasurer won’t give revenue update

Gov. Chris Christie’s upcoming budget announcement is nearly three weeks off, but already there is friction between Republicans and Democrats over New Jersey’s fiscal condition.  (Staff, Courier-Post)



Christie raids Illinois for jobs as Deere digs to pay Quinn’s tax increases

Governors in New Jersey, Indiana and Wisconsin, angling to steal jobs from Illinois after its record tax increase, may find that employers consider a broader range of concerns as they decide their future in the Land of Lincoln.  (Jones, Bloomberg)



Gov. Christie weighs in on stalled contract negotiations for Ocean County law enforcement unions

Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday responded to two letters Ocean County Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr. has sent him since December, pleading with the governor for assistance in stalled contract negotiations with the county’s seven law enforcement unions.  (Larsen, Asbury Park Press)



Voucher bill picks up steam

Low-income students in New Jersey’s “chronically failing” schools could get taxpayer-subsidized scholarships to attend other public or private schools if a controversial and bipartisan bill is approved.  (Fleisher, The Wall Street Journal)



Study: No tunnel, no toll hike necessary

A proposal to roll back tolls to reimburse motorists for the $1.25 billion contribution no longer needed for the canceled Hudson River tunnel project can be done without hurting the New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s finances, according to a state analysis.  (Higgs, Asbury Park Press)



Toll collectors’ union proposes pay, job reductions

The union representing toll collectors and maintenance workers on the state’s two largest toll roads said it is offering $16 million worth of concessions, from pay cuts to job eliminations, as a counter-proposal to privatizing collections.  (Higgs, Daily Record)|head



Meadowlands, Monmouth Park racetracks still may not receive subsidy money despite new bill

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill Wednesday that could increase purses at the state’s racetracks, but it’s still uncertain whether the tracks will receive the money.  (Bossert, New York Daily News)



Assemblyman Vincent Polistina to run for state Senate

Assemblyman Vince Polistina, a Republican representing Atlantic County, said Wednesday he will announce his intention to run for the state Senate seat in the 2nd legislative District at a rally tonight.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Superintendent salary caps: The legal limit

First proposed last July, Gov. Chris Christie’s caps on superintendent salaries have stirred intense debate and a couple of pending lawsuits. And that was before they even became effective under the law.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Feelings run high as Opportunity Scholarship Act moves to the Assembly

The Opportunity Scholarship Act — New Jersey’s version of a private school voucher bill — is moving to the Assembly today, and the politicking from all sides is going full bore.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



After ruling, DRPA relents on free rides

Free rides for about 500 union workers on the Delaware River Port Authority’s bridges and the PATCO Hi-Speedline are back, at least until new contracts are negotiated.  (Stilwell, Courier-Post)



CRDA director says he was not criticizing New Jersey governor

The head of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, whose job could be on the line, on Wednesday clarified recent statements that were believed to be targeting the governor’s administration.  (Clark, Press of Atlantic City)



Revel tax deal would fund new businesses, old landmarks in Atlantic City’s South inlet

The $261 million state tax-reimbursement deal provided for the Revel casino development in Atlantic City may soon have a visible impact on the casino’s South Inlet neighborhood and its recognizable landmarks.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



New casino legislation costs 115 gaming inspectors their jobs

The New Jersey Casino Control Commission notified 115 gaming inspectors Wednesday that they will lose their jobs as the result of a sweeping regulatory overhaul of the Atlantic City casino industry.  (Wittkowski, Press of Atlantic City)



Top financial officer of Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners resigns, 5 employees are fired

In the latest turmoil to hit the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners, the agency’s chief financial officer resigned today and five other employees — including the wife and brother of a former commissioner — were fired, officials said.  (Sherman, The Star-Ledger)



NJDOT awards grant totaling $3.9 million to 20 county towns

Twenty Burlington County municipalities will receive a total of $3.9 million in state grants to help cover expensive road and safety projects within their borders.  (Levinsky, Burlington County Times)






GOP gets help in redistricting fight

Secret political slush funds are all the rage in Trenton right now.

Republicans love to wallow knee-deep in them, and Democrats love to rail against them from a higher moral ground.  (Stile, The Record)



The governor’s getting a real schooling on education

The internet is a wonderful educational tool.

I don’t mean for children. I mean for adults.  (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)



In 2000, PolitickerNJ emerged on the political stage, changing how New Jersey’s power elite receive their daily political fix. Starting on March 1, 2011, we’re shaking up Trenton once again. Stay tuned for State Street Wire.



Morning News Digest: February 3, 2011