NJ Politics Digest: State Moves Toward Takeover of Atlantic City

It’s Wednesday, and hot on the heels of Senate President Steve Sweeney’s assurances that the state has no interest in taking over Atlantic City, the state has moved one step closer to taking over the beleaguered resort’s finances. Meanwhile, despite defense attorneys’ protests, it appears jurors in the Bridgegate trial are one step closer to a verdict. And with gas prices at the pumps now significantly hire, critics and proponents are still debating the state’s gas tax hike while motorists learn how to deal with another high New Jersey tax.

Quote of the Day: “The City has taken virtually no concrete actions during the course of the past 150 days to begin to turn its budgetary problems around and indicate that it has the capability to make the hard decisions that will be necessary to stabilize the City’s finances and attract investment that will propel the redevelopment of the City,” – Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Charles Richman, in a statement rejecting Atlantic City’s fiscal recovery plan, paving the way for a state takeover of the resort’s finances.

State Rejects A.C. Fiscal Plan
The state moved a step closer to taking over the city Tuesday after it rejected the city’s fiscal recovery plan.
Christian Hetrick, Press of Atlantic City Read more

N.J. rejects A.C. plan; takeover looms
The state of New Jersey has rejected Atlantic City’s recovery plan, saying it is not likely to achieve financial stability for Atlantic City,” triggering what could be an imminent state takeover.
Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Read more

Trump avoided taxes off Atlantic City losses through ‘legally dubious’ scheme, report says
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump relied on “legally dubious” loopholes that used his losses in Atlantic City to duck tax obligations in the early 1990s, according to a New York Times review of newly obtained tax records.
S.P. Sullivan, NJ.com Read more

As higher gas tax moves in, where do other major N.J. taxes rank nationally?
As of Tuesday, New Jersey no longer has claim to the second-lowest gasoline tax in the country.
Samantha Marcus, NJ.com Read more

Backers of Public Question 2 Say It Is Only Way To Ensure Gas Tax Goes to TTF
Over the past three decades New Jersey voters have approved several ballot questions that have protected revenue raised from state fuel taxes from being used for anything other than transportation projects. Now, in the wake of the unpopular 23-cent gas-tax increase that went into effect today, voters are being asked to do so again.
John Reitmeyer, NJSpotlight Read more

Most Drivers Aren’t Happy About Paying More, But Some Are
Because of a a deal hammered out by New Jersey lawmakers and Governor Christie last month to fund the bankrupt Transportation Trust Fund, New Jersey raises taxes on a gallon of gas by about 23 cents starting today, Tuesday.
David Matthau, NJ101.5 Read more

Drivers full of resignation as N.J. gas tax hike begins
The biggest gas tax increase in New Jersey history hits Kevin Civgin outside and inside. Outside because that’s where he pumps gasoline, at the Exxon station on Kinderkamack Road in Montvale, where many of his regular customers from New York say they’ll stop crossing the state line for cheap gas after the higher tax takes effect Tuesday.
Christopher Maag, The Record Read more

Don’t like that gas-tax hike? Then buy a bike or a Tesla; someone has to pay for roads
Because I am a cheapskate, I filled up my car on Monday before the new gas tax took effect today.
Paul Mulshine, The Star Ledger Read more

Judge in Bridgegate case tells jury to ignore motive
The defendants in the George Washington Bridge lane-closure trial were dealt a potentially fatal blow during jury deliberations Tuesday when the judge said that Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni could be found guilty of conspiracy without intentionally punishing the alleged target, Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich.
Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

Bridgegate defense attorney rages as judge deals setback
Jurors in the George Washington Bridge lane closure case were instructed on Tuesday afternoon that they can find the defendants guilty of conspiracy even if the two former allies of Gov. Chris Christie weren’t motivated by political revenge.
Ryan Hutchins, Politico Read more

N.J. health insurance marketplace down to 2 companies as Obamacare enrollment begins
New Jersey residents will only be able to choose between two companies this year in the federal health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.
Associated Press Read more

New Jersey bill asserts “nuclear option” on sports betting – but there’s a catch
A bill co-sponsored by a North-South tandem of Assemblymen Ralph Caputo and John Burzichelli was introduced last week that, on the surface, appears to be a pathway to elimination of any sports betting prohibitions in New Jersey. But there’s more here than first meets the eye.
John Brennan, The Record Read more

Codey crosses party line, endorses Gannon
Morris County’s top-ranking elected Democrat is reaching across the aisle to endorse a Republican for Morris County sheriff.
William Westhoven, Daily Record Read more

Congressman questions controversial power line proposal
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone told a state utility regulating agency that he has concerns about a controversial high voltage transmission line proposed to run through several Monmouth County towns and requested more information about why alternatives to the plan were rejected.
MaryAnn Spoto, NJ.com Read more

Lance, Jacob Take Sides in Radio Forum
Rep. Leonard Lance touted his record of fiscal conservancy and bipartisanship in Washington while Democratic challenger Peter Jacob claimed the four-term District 7 congressman is typical of a historically ineffectual Congress during a candidate forum aired Tuesday morning on WRNJ radio.
William Westhoven, Daily Record Read more

‘Cool’ teacher to lose pay for joining stripping discussion
A New Jersey high school teacher will forfeit 120 days’ pay for discussing stripping and prostitution with female students during a January 2015 photography class.
Associated Press Read more

Court reverses firing of trooper who went to law school on sick leave
A state appeals court has reversed a decision by the head of the State Police to fire a sergeant who attended law school while on leave for an injury, citing questions about the timeliness of the charges brought against him.
S.P. Sullivan, NJ.com Read more

School district to pay $90K in settlement with ex-secretary
A New Jersey school district has agreed to pay $90,000 under a settlement with a former secretary who sued alleging she was terminated due to her history of mental illness.
Associated Press Read more

N.J. candidate to perform off-Broadway on election night
Former Borough Councilman Joey Novick, who is running as a Democrat for a council seat, will star in a one-man show – “Comedian Elected to Town Council in New Jersey” – at the United Solo Festival on Election Day.
Craig Turpin, NJ.com Read more

People think presidential election, sports games could be rigged, poll finds
A large chunk of Americans think that the upcoming presidential election, and many major league sports games, could be rigged, a recent poll conducted by Seton Hall University Stillman School of Business’s Sharkey Institute found.
Jessica Mazzola, NJ.com Read more

After Airbnb setback, Jersey tech group urges NY companies to cross the river
Given the cool reception Airbnb has received in New York State, tech companies might want to consider relocating across the river.
Dana Runinstein, Politico Read more

Paterson’s new financial consultant gets hit with SEC penalty in fraud inquiry
A company that Paterson hired last week for financial consulting services has been accused by federal authorities of performing a fraudulent audit for the town of Ramapo in Rockland County.
Joe Malinconico, The Record Read more

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