NJ Politics Digest: Credit Agency Says 2 Tax Moves Terrible for NJ

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The federal government shutdown ended Monday, re-opening federal offices and creating some divisions among Democrats.

New Jersey’s two U.S. senators, Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, opposed the deal reached between Democratic leadership and the GOP in the senate.

The good news for the nation was offset by bad news for New Jersey, as Moody’s reported that the recently passed GOP tax plan—coupled with the state’s reduction in the sales tax rate, which was part of a deal to raise the gas tax—means New Jersey residents can expect to see the average value of their homes drop by about 7.5 percent.

The credit rating agency dismissed former Gov. Chris Christie’s claims that he’d left the state in good financial shape to one-shot cash infusions that still leave the future looking bleak for the Garden State, according to a report published by NorthJersey.com.

And if you want to know why voters in the state are so jaded, look no further than this NorthJersey.com report, which details how the Christie administration, with state courts’ acquiescence, added $1 billion to New Jersey’s debt without voter approval by using an accounting gimmick.

Quote of the Day: “To say it’s not needed anymore is to ignore the facts,” — Barry Evenchic, a former commissioner on the Waterfront Commission of New York and New Jersey discussing the state’s move to abolish the agency.

NJ Senate Panel Advances Bills to Rejoin Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
New Jersey is poised to rejoin a regional effort to rein in carbon emissions six years after former Gov. Chris Christie pulled the state from the program.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Gov. Phil Murphy Orders Audit of NJ Transit
Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order on Monday mandating a “full-scale” audit of NJ Transit, the embattled agency plagued by safety and staffing problems.
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Wall Street Warns New Jersey Home Values Could Tumble 7.5 Percent
A pair of federal and state tax policy decisions could deliver a double whammy to New Jersey and its homeowners, a Wall Street credit-rating agency warned on Monday.
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New Jersey Democrats Not Panicking About Menendez Retrial
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Government Shutdown: Cory Booker and Bob Menendez Reject Deal Other Democrats Accept
New Jersey Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker broke with many of their fellow Democrats on Monday and opposed a Republican offer to end the government shutdown and then hold talks on immigration and budget issues.
The Record Read more

$1 Billion of New Jersey Debt Added Without Required Voter Approval
New Jersey has borrowed nearly $1 billion to renovate the State House, build new offices in Trenton and redevelop a pedestrian strip near Rutgers University—all without asking permission from voters, as required by the state’s constitution.
The Record Read more

Gov. Murphy Orders Audit of NJ Transit Finances and Personnel Practices
With a crumbling concrete wall serving as a backdrop, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order on Monday for a comprehensive audit of NJ Transit’s finances, customer service and personnel practices.
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Meet Murphy’s Pick for New NJ Transit Boss. Can He Fix ‘National Disgrace’?
The vice president of a national transportation consulting company is expected to be nominated to head NJ Transit by Gov. Phil Murphy to fix the agency he called a “national disgrace,” sources said.
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The First Hints of What ‘Sanctuary State’ Means in N.J.
What will it mean for New Jersey to be a “sanctuary state,” as Gov. Phil Murphy promised as a candidate?
NJ101.5 Read more

U.S. Attorney Vague on How He’d Deal with Legal Weed in Jersey
In 2013, a memo came down from the U.S. Department of Justice, instructing federal prosecutors not to focus their energies on enforcing federal drug laws in states that had voted to legalize marijuana.
NJ.com Read more

Millions in Settlements to Keep Bad Cops on the Street and the Public in Danger
Killed. Beaten. Stalked. More than 200 citizens across the state have been victimized in recent years by out-of-control rogue cops. In many cases, the cops kept their jobs, even got promoted—while tens of millions of your tax dollars kept the abuses quiet. Until now.
Asbury Park Press Read more

Why Does N.J. Want to Get Rid of a Mob Watchdog?
On his way out the door, former Gov. Chris Christie signed off on legislation he once vetoed as unconstitutional, moving to unilaterally kill the bi-state Waterfront Commission of New York and New Jersey.
NJ.com Read more

As Obamacare Debate Rages, Most in N.J. Say Health Insurance System ‘on Wrong Track’
The Affordable Care Act helped dramatically reduce the number of people who lack health coverage in New Jersey, but those who signed up are least satisfied with their coverage because of cost, according to a poll released Monday.
NJ.com Read more

Top N.J. Medical Examiner Says System in ‘Desperate Need’ of Overhaul
New Jersey’s system for investigating deaths is in “desperate need” of an overhaul—from rewriting state law to an influx of money to improve outdated buildings and keep underpaid staff—the state’s top medical examiner testified Monday.
NJ.com Read more

Moran: Draw a Line Against Deporting Dreamers
If you are relieved to learn that the government shutdown is about to end, then enjoy the moment. Because it may not last.
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Women’s March: 15,000 Attended Morristown March, Exceeding Expectations
Police estimate about 15,000 participated in the Women’s March in New Jersey on Saturday and report no arrests and one medical emergency.
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Missing the Circus, Not the Clowns: A Q&A with Raymond Lesniak
Even if he had never entered politics, the opening line to Raymond Lesniak’s biography would require some debate.
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FERC OK of Penneast Doesn’t Make It A Sure Thing
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval of the PennEast pipeline late Friday marks a significant victory for its backers, but the company still needs to secure a slew of federal and state permits before the project can move forward.
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Keeping the Focus on N.J.’s High Maternal Mortality Rates
A growing array of healthcare providers have teamed up to focus attention on what they say are unnecessarily high maternal-mortality rates in New Jersey and are now looking to work with patients, families, policymakers and others to reduce avoidable deaths.
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Sen. Vin Gopal: ‘Renter Hell’ Reform Bills in the Works
Proposed reforms sparked by the Asbury Park Press’ “Renter Hell” investigation stalled in the legislature last year, but a new series of bills is expected this year.
Asbury Park Press Read more

Toms River: Former Councilman Loses Appeal in Church Lawsuit
A state appellate panel has ruled that the Presbyterian Church of Toms River can continue leasing parking spaces in its lot to a local auto dealer, rejecting a former councilman’s claims that the Board of Adjustment had acted improperly when it approved the parking plan.
Asbury Park Press Read more




NJ Politics Digest: Credit Agency Says 2 Tax Moves Terrible for NJ