Morning News Digest: June 17, 2009

National G.O.P. Group Takes Aim at Corzine

"Down in the polls, New Jersey’s embattled Democratic governor, Jon S. Corzine, is already trying to demonize his opponent, Christopher J. Christie, a former federal prosecutor. But national Republicans sprang to Mr. Christie’s aid on Tuesday with commercials depicting Mr. Corzine as someone who will say anything to win re-election, and who cannot be trusted. Just two weeks into what is shaping up to be an unusually long and contentious general election campaign, the advertisements running on both sides neatly crystallize the two sides’ strategies thus far. In Mr. Corzine’s eyes, his challenger is a George W. Bush clone named “Republican Chris Christie,” who would ravage the environment, curtail abortion rights and wreak fiscal havoc." (Halbfinger, New York Times)

Republican Governors Association backs Christie with anti-Corzine ads

The Republican Governors Association has joined the New Jersey governor's race, sponsoring two television advertisements aimed at Gov. Jon Corzine and his record, according to a report in The New York Times. (The Star-Ledger)

Gov. Corzine, Chris Christie spar about plans to revive state's economy

Gov. Jon Corzine sees a New Jersey economy ready to rebound from the recession faster and stronger than those of other states. (Heininger, The Star-Ledger)

N.J. bill giving developers tax breaks criticized for not doing enough, moving too fast

A broad piece of legislation that Democrats are touting as economic stimulus is on the fast track with the new state budget this month, but critics aren't convinced it should be moving so quickly. (Reitmeyer, The Star-Ledger)

Doctors say cuts to N.J. psychiatric hospitals hurting quality of care

A cut in the number of physicians at state psychiatric hospitals has reduced the quality of patient care, forcing psychiatrists to handle medical issues many have not dealt with for years, doctors at all five state institutions say. (Ragonese, The Star-Ledger)

N.J. to receive more than $82M for homeland security

New Jersey will receive more than $82.6 million for homeland security programs this year, an increase of 11.5 percent, state officials announced today. (Megerian, The Star-Ledger)

New election regulator poised to take over

New Jersey is poised to have a new top election regulator. (Heininger, The Record)

Lawyer accused of mishandling Holocaust accounts pleads with N.J. court

A lawyer who was the first to sue Swiss banks on behalf of Holocaust victims and then accused of misappoproriating funds from these clients today pleaded with the state Supreme Court to let him practice law in New Jersey. (Fuchs, The Record)

Health care tax hikeof 130% up for vote

The insurance industry is fighting a proposed 130 percent tax increase on health-care premiums to raise $100 million for New Jersey next year — which could raise costs for many small businesses. (Layton, The Record)

State OKs Newfield's break with Buena district

The Board of Education here can sever its three-decade tie with Buena Regional School District, New Jersey Commissioner of Education Lucille Davy has ruled. (Romalino, Gloucester County TImes)

East Greenwich views a grand design in the works

An Italian restaurant, a day-care center, a coffee shop and a vitamin store – these are just a few of the businesses developers hope to tap for a new Berkley Road development. (Counihan, Gloucester County Times)

Cherry Hill code officer admits taking bribes

Cherry Hill's former top code inspector admitted yesterday that he accepted cash from a Bucks County business executive trying to secure work with the township. (Boyer, The Inquirer)

N.J. uses earmarked money to plug budget holes

In 1997, New Jersey lawmakers voted to add a $1 charge to all motor-vehicle fines. The idea was to raise money for a popular cause: buying bulletproof vests and other body armor for police. (Tamari, The Inquirer)

Autism coverage bill moves forward in N.J. Senate

New Jersey may soon join a growing list of states that require health insurers to cover treatment and screening for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. (DeMarco, The Inquirer)

Nurses approve deal with northern NJ hospital

Nurses at a northern New Jersey hospital have approved a new collective bargaining agreement, ending a lockout that began June 3. (AP)

Lawmen deal with surge in gun crime

in Asbury Park For more than 18 months, the number of violent, gang-related crimes had been declining. But since March, authorities have been investigating a dozen shootings here. Three of those came after the death of 16-year-old Kayvon Laws, who was gunned down from behind on Asbury Avenue May 27. (Pais, Asbury Park Press)

Compared with world, New Jersey 8th-graders average in math

New Jersey students perform better in math than Russian students, but not nearly as well as those in Singapore. (D'Amico, Press of Atlantic City)

New Brunswick council to vote Wednesday on $72 million budget

The City Council will vote Wddnesday night on a $72.4-million budget proposal that would raise taxes $137 this year for the owner of a home assessed at the city's average. (Kaltwasser, Courier News)

Republicans tout lower health premiums

A health care reform plan offered by moderate House Republicans would lower sky-high premiums New Jerseyans pay and cost taxpayers a lot less than measures Democrats are putting together, a Garden State lawmaker said Tuesday. (Chebium, Courier-Post)

Ex-official admits he took bribes

A former township official pleaded guilty Tuesday to taking bribes in exchange for orchestrating township business contracts. (Mast, Courier-Post)

Christie and Corzine give dueling speeches

Governor Jon Corzine and Republican challenger Chris Christie continued a 36-year-old tradition tonight, both speaking at the Employer Legislative Committee Dinner. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

In first state of city speech, Diaz says she's been honest with Perth Amboy

There were days over the course of her first year in office in which Mayor Wilda Diaz wondered whether she could run Perth Amboy for a full four years. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) Morning News Digest: June 17, 2009