PolitickerNJ News Digest: June 29th

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It’s Wednesday, and the question still to be answered in Trenton is how the state Senate will react to the Assembly’s compromise with Gov. Chris Christie to boost the gas tax and cut the sales tax.

Quote of the Day: “We can’t do both of these things. The numbers don’t lie.” – Senator Loretta Weinberg, on Democrats embracing the plan to cut the state sales tax while also backing a constitutional amendment to force the state to meet its pension obligations

Sweeney Weighs in on Christie/Prieto TTF Deal
Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-2) said that he was surprised by the late-night compromise struck between Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) and Governor Chris Christie regarding the new plan to replenish the near-bankrupt Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Senate Leery as Criticism of New Assembly TTF Bill Rolls in
Following a late-night vote Monday that saw a new deal for funding the Transportation Trust Fund pass in the state Assembly, Democrats in the Senate are largely staying mum on that proposal to raise the state’s gas tax in exchange for reductions to the sales tax. A Senate bill had been in the works to phase out the estate tax in a bid to satisfy Governor Chris Christie’s stated criteria of “tax fairness,” and support for the new bill could be thin.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

Christie Praises Assembly TTF Proposal, Calls for ‘Successful Conclusion’ on Thursday
Following a full day of negotiations Monday, Governor Chris Christie and state Assembly Speaker Vince Prieto (D-32) reached a deal on a new proposal to fund the ailing Transportation Trust Fund with a gas tax increase in exchange for a winnowed-down sales tax. The move came after months of wrangling from Democrats, who had a bill ready that would have phased out the estate tax and offered several additional tax breaks.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

Holdsworth to Take Helm for Hillary in NJ
Statehouse sources tell PolitickerNJ that Secretary Hillary Clinton has tapped Jennifer Holdsworth to become NJ State Director for the General Election. Holdsworth has been omnipresent on the fundraising and grassroots organizing circuit for Hillary for the past two years.
Jay Lassiter, PolitickerNJ Read more

Challenger’s Camp Keeps Swatting at LoBiondo on Trump Connection
The campaign of U.S. Representative Frank LoBiondo’s long-shot Democratic challenger David Cole continued to deride the congressman’s financial ties to Donald Trump Tuesday after LoBiondo’s camp criticized their new attack ad. That ad accused LoBiondo of callously accepting 12 contributions from Trump totalling roughly $8,000 during a time when Trump’s casinos were declaring bankruptcy in the build-up to Atlantic City’s recent fiscal havoc.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

Essex Dems Push County Unity at Watson’s Assembly Announcement
Members of the Essex County Democratic Committee have officially announced that former Freeholder Blonnie Watson has the organization’s support to fill the assembly seat to be vacated by Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer after she moves up to a Superior Court Judgeship.
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Sweeney pushing ‘100 percent’ funding for N.J. schools
State Senate President Stephen Sweeney isn’t giving up on his plan to revise New Jersey’s public school funding system despite Gov. Chris Christie’s proposal to divert state aid from urban districts to achieve property tax relief for most of the state.
Adam Clark, NJ.com Read more

With sales, gas tax deal, Assembly helps Christie burn down the house
It was after midnight when the Assembly voted on a tax cut plan that would dig a $1.6 billion hole in the state’s annual budget, at least.
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger Editorial Board Read more

Why does N.J. need sales tax cut? Christie explains ‘my idea’
Standing outside his office in the Statehouse well past midnight with just three days to sign a balanced budget, Gov. Chris Christie insisted “the last week of June is when magic happens.”
Claude Brodesser-Akner, NJ.com Read more

Sales tax cut may help offset pain at the pump
Governor Christie and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto on Monday upended the plan to fund transportation projects and instead passed their own: Raise the gas tax by about 23 cents per gallon, and in exchange chop the state sales tax over two years from 7 percent to 6 percent.
Christopher Maag and Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

Feds: Not our fault Christie bridge case texts are missing
Federal prosecutors in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case say in a court filing they shouldn’t be penalized for not finding text messages between Gov. Chris Christie and an aide.
Associated Press Read more

Union leader reaffirms strike threat at five of Atlantic City’s eight casinos
The leader of a union local that represents nearly 6,000 Atlantic City casino workers said Tuesday that a strike is likely later this week unless the casinos improve their offers.
John Brennan, The Record Read more

Protesters greet Christie at governor’s first school funding ‘fairness forum’
Armed with posters accusing Chris Christie of promoting apartheid and repeating chants criticizing him, more than a dozen protesters arrived here Tuesday to greet the governor at his first school funding “fairness forum.”
Matt Arco, NJ.com Read more

‘Little guy’ contractors still angry at Trump Taj bankruptcy
Weak from heart surgery and a sepsis infection that would soon kill her, Patricia Paone was resting at home last summer when an apparition appeared on the TV – a famous businessman who had struck a deal with her husband years before.
Bernard Condon, The Associated Press Read more

Commissioner gets $20K in health benefits for 5 hours a week
Raritan Township’s committee has told the township municipal utilities authority to stop offering health benefits to a commissioner who works 5 hours a week.
Associated Press Read more

South Jersey lawmakers, businesses react to gas tax, sales tax issue
In an early morning vote Tuesday, the Democrat-led Assembly, with Republican Gov. Chris Christie’ support, passed sweeping legislation to raise New Jersey’s gasoline tax by 23 cents per gallon to fund road and bridge work and to cut the sales tax from 7 percent to 6 percent despite opposition from many South Jersey lawmakers.
John DeRosier, Press of Atlantic City Read more

Kevin Bannon to be fired from Mercer County Park Commission
For the second time in his life, Kevin Bannon will be publicly humiliated by a high-profile firing.
David Foster, The Trentonian Read more