Morning News Digest: May 21, 2009

Steve Hyman on racist newspaper: I didn't do it

Jersey City Developer Steve Hyman came to tonight's City Council meeting with one message: I didn't do it. (Clark, The Jersey Journal)

Gov. Corzine campaign kickoff in West Orange to displace voters on primary night

Gov. Jon Corzine has put off his official campaign kickoff for months. But all that extra time to prepare didn't prevent one big logistical glitch that will displace up to 2,000 voters. (Kurdzuk, The Star-Ledger)

Polls show Christie leading Lonegan in GOP race for N.J. Gov

Chris Christie has opened a commanding lead over his top opponent for the Republican gubernatorial nomination with less than two weeks remaining until the June 2 primary, according to two polls released today. (Heininger, The Star-Ledger)

Don't bet on rebate checks returning

Grim-faced Democrats and Corzine administration officials say they have no choice but to cut, at least temporarily, the bulk of the Homestead Rebate program. (Stile, The Record)

N.J. judges accept 2-day, unpaid furlough

Most state judges agreed to take two days off without pay as part of a voluntary furlough program, the office of Chief Justice Stuart Rabner announced Tuesday. (Margolin, Herald News)

Lawsuit heats up 40th District GOP primary

The Republican primary for Assembly in the 40th District heated up Wednesday when challenger Anthony Rottino sued both incumbents, claiming they published statements that defamed him. (Cowen, The Record)

Halt to rebates can't be helped, says Corzine

Gov. Jon S. Corzine acknowledged Wednesday that suspending rebates for most homeowners next year would be painful for residents, but said the state cannot spend money it doesn't have. (Graber, Gloucester County Times)

Christie’s lead over Lonegan grows in two polls

A pair of polls released yesterday showed Christopher J. Christie leading Steve Lonegan by a double-digit margin in the Republican gubernatorial primary race. (Burton, Inquirer)

Under Corzine's revised budget, no property tax rebates

After months of revisions, Gov. Corzine's new budget plan significantly reduces state spending in the next fiscal year. But it does so partly by piling billions of dollars of costs onto future budgets, and it raises taxes and fees by $1.3 billion, mostly on the wealthy. (Tamari, Inquirer)

Groups urge Corzine to go further on tax, fee hikes

Gov. Jon S. Corzine's revised budget proposal drew qualified support Wednesday from a coalition of liberal groups who urged him to raise income taxes on wealthy households even further, while the governor fended off Republican criticism of his plans to cut off property tax rebates for another 510,000 households. (Symons, Asbury Park Press)

Budget changes disturb area lawmakers

“Honestly, it stinks,” said Senate Majority Leader Steve Sweeney, D-Cumberland, Salem, Gloucester, of the Corzine administration’s proposals to eliminate homestead rebates and raise taxes on the wealthy. (Harper, Press of Atlantic City)

'Most wanted' immigration fugitive arrested in NJ

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say they've one of the agency's 10 most wanted immigration fugitives in New Jersey. (AP)

Former Perth Amboy Mayor Vas appears in federal court on corruption charges

Assemblyman and former Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas, known for dominating discussions during his 18 years as mayor, uttered only one word when brought before a judge yesterday on federal corruption charges. (Courier News)

Lonegan's comments on Camden criticized

Democratic candidates running for political offices in Camden took offense Wednesday at Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan's statement in the Courier-Post that city neighborhoods filled with boarded-up homes should be leveled and replaced with parks and forest land. (Hirsh, Courier-Post)

Bracing for the air war, Cryan hones outreach in 2nd Ward battleground

Council President John Cryan’s focused on the 2nd Ward as part of his at-large re-election bid where he runs on a Democratic Primary ticket with Mayor Donald Cresitello, Council President Anthony Cattano and former Councilman Chris O’Brien. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Morin joins Florio firm

Union County Republican Chairman Phil Morin has become a partner in the politically-connected law firm Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt & Fader, the firm announced today. (Friedman, Morning News Digest: May 21, 2009