NJ Politics Digest: Another Budget Shortfall for Christie

Gov. Chris Christie. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In the latest reminder of the state’s battered finances, the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services delivered a pointed reminder Tuesday, projecting a $687 million shortfall in the state budget through fiscal 2018. The Christie administration projected a $527 million shortfall and said it would delay homestead rebates by two months and implement some new “compliance” measures to reap enough revenue to balance the budget.

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, who wrote a letter targeting a constituent in March, is now the subject of an ethics complaint and is being targeted in a Democratic ad campaign.

And Sen. Cory Booker said the latest scandal bedeviling the White House may involve President Trump engaging in obstruction of justice.

Quote of the Day: “This must be a wake-up call for congressional Republicans to begin holding Trump accountable, to put country first, and to act immediately in a bipartisan fashion to get to the bottom of this.” – Sen. Cory Booker

Booker: Trump May Have Engaged in ‘Obstruction of Justice’
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker said President Trump may have “engaged in obstruction of justice in the Oval Office” after bombshell reports surfaced Tuesday describing a conversation between the president and the former FBI director, James Comey.
Salvador Rizzo, Observer Read more

Another candidate for governor sues Christie to stop Statehouse renovation
Another Democratic gubernatorial candidate announced Tuesday he’s filed a lawsuit to block Gov. Chris Christie’s planned $300 million renovation of the Statehouse.
Samantha Marcus, NJ.com Read more

NJ Budget Facing $687M Revenue Shortfall, OLS Says
New Jersey faces a $687 million budget shortfall through fiscal 2018 because of another missed revenue forecast from Gov. Chris Christie, according to the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services.
Salvador Rizzo, Observer Read more

NJ hoping to raise $200M from stepped-up tax enforcement
State officials are counting on stepped-up enforcement and better responsiveness from its Taxation Division to bring in a few hundred million dollars extra in the budget that Gov. Chris Christie will hand off to his successor.
Michael Symons, NJ101.5 Read more

Senate, Assembly Primary Race on Track to Be Most Expensive In NJ History
The gubernatorial primaries may be getting all the political attention right now, but the State House Senate and Assembly contests are on a pace to becoming the most expensive in state history.
Colleen O’Dea, NJSpotlight Read more

Frelinghuysen Hit With Ethics Complaint
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11) is facing an ethics complaint over a fundraising letter he sent targeting one of his constituents.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Bank says it’s OK with workers doing politics. So why did lawmaker’s critic resign?
The North Jersey bank that has been accused of forcing out a vice president after a congressman outed her as being involved in a political opposition group says its workers are allowed to participate in politics as a watchdog group asks for an investigation.
Dan Alexander, NJ101.5 Read more

LoBiondo to Question Trump’s Russia Disclosure at Hearing
New Jersey lawmakers expressed concern over a report in the Washington Post that President Trump divulged highly classified information about ISIS to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador last week at a meeting in the Oval Office.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

N.J.’s Pascrell renews quest for Trump tax returns following Russian relevations
Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. acted Tuesday to force a House vote on whether to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns, a move made following the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey and the possible dissemination of classified material to Russian officials.
NJ.com Read more

Candidate for acting FBI director led agency in Trenton
One of the candidates under consideration to be interim head the FBI is William “Bill” Evanina, who held several top roles with the agency in New Jersey before heading to Washington.
Kevin Shea, NJ.com Read more

Johnson Says His Platform Would Stump Trump
Jim Johnson, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor, said Tuesday that he would act as a bulwark against President Trump’s “hate-filled agenda” on immigration, health care, criminal justice, voting rights and the environment.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Fulop distances himself from Kushners as mayor’s race nears
The mayor last week said he will not support a critical tax break Kushner’s family requested for their One Journal Square project; denied knowledge of a $10,000 donation to the Hudson County Democratic Organization that Kushner’s sister and her husband made three months before that project was announced; and responded to inquiries about the Kushners with statements stressing his opposition to Trump.
Terrence T. McDonald, Jersey Journal Read more

Kushner Cos. takes another shot at massive Monmouth Mall redesign
It’s round 2 for the Monmouth Mall makeover.
Dan Radel, Asbury Park Press Read more

State will give Lakewood public schools $8.5M in state aid
In the middle of a $15 million budget deficit, the Lakewood School District will receive $8.5 million in a state-aid advance from the state Department of Education that will “ensure a thorough and efficient education” for students by bringing back nearly 130 teaching jobs, restoring sports and extracurricular programs and buying new textbooks.
Katie Park, Asbury Park Press Read more

Freehold school suit: NJ shortchanges Hispanic students
Melissa Rivera says her daughter wants to be a writer, but cultivating the eighth grader’s love of literature can be difficult when her school doesn’t have a library.
Asbury Park Press Read more

Newark Teachers Ink Contract
Four years ago, a landmark contract for Newark public school teachers warranted a public signing and a press conference, complete with Gov. Chris Christie and the national president of the American Federation of Teachers.
John Mooney, NJSpotlight Read more

Shrewsbury mayor: ‘We got broadsided’ by drug rehab center
Operators of a controversial drug addiction treatment facility did not tell borough officials their full plans for the new White Street location when they submitted a December zoning application, town leaders said Monday night.
Susanne Cervenka, Asbury Park Press Read more

Ocean City Housing Authority director removed from position after pleading guilty to stealing
Alesia Watson was removed Tuesday from her position as executive director of the Ocean City Housing Authority, a week after she pleaded guilty to charges of embezzling federal funds.
Press of Atlantic City Read more

EDITORIAL: Seek permanent funding fix for Lakewood
Ten buses loaded with high school and middle school students from Lakewood will descend on Trenton Wednesday to urge officials from the state Department of Education to provide an additional $10 million in funding to ward off the layoffs of more than 100 teachers — about one quarter of the school district’s teaching staff.
Asbury Park Press Read more