Morning News Digest: February 18, 2010

Yudin: Christie wants Caliguire out of exec race 

Surrogates for Gov. Christoper Christie have tried to dissuade former Bergen County freeholder Todd Caliguire from running for county executive, according to Bergen County Republican Chairman Bob Yudin.

”I know that the Governor’s Office does not approve of what Todd is doing. They have reached out to him, and my understanding is that as of today, Todd is still planning on running,” said Yudin.

Yudin, who clarified his statement by saying that he was referring to Christie’s political advisors, not actual front office staffers, would not name those advisors.
 (Friedman, PolitickerNJ) 

http://www.politickernj.com/matt-friedman/36918/yudin-christie-wants-caliguire-out-exec-race 

Wisniewski factors into Roselle Council conflagration 

The new state chairman of the Democratic Party enters the spotlight tonight in Roselle, where the Borough Council wants to hire him as a tax appeal attorney over the strenuous objections of Mayor Garrett Smith, against the building backdrop of Council President Jamel Holley’s reelection campaign. “They talk about trying to bring the party together, and it’s all based on greed,” said Smith. Chagrined by the politics, the mayor has his hackles up over tonight’s work meeting agenda item, championed early by the mayor’s longtime political foe Holley, that would make Democratic State Chairman John Wisniewski Roselle’s second concurrent tax appeal attorney. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

http://www.politickernj.com/max/36915/wisniewski-factors-roselle-council-conflagration 

Christie: NJ budget cuts need legislative approval 

Less than a week after ordering a spending freeze to close a $2.2 billion budget gap, Governor Christie acknowledged Wednesday that he cannot complete the midyear budget-balancing moves by executive order alone and needs approval from the Democratic Legislature. The executive order by the new Republican governor freezing aid to schools, hospitals, colleges and transit surprised Democrats in the Legislature and endangered the bipartisan good will that characterized Christie’s first three weeks in office. Christie claimed in a televised speech last Thursday that he didn’t need legislation to rebalance the budget. Afterward, Democratic leaders balked at being cut out of the process. (AP) 

http://www.northjersey.com/news/state/politics/021710_Christie_NJ_budget_cuts_need_legislative_approval.html

Possible snag in Christie budget plan: may need some legislative OK 

Gov. Christie said this morning he may need lawmaker approval to enact some of his budget plans, a change from earlier indications that he could move single-handedly to patch the state’s budget gap. Christie said he can freeze spending using his executive authority, but to move some of that money to other uses and close budget holes, he needs approval from the Democratically-controlled Legislature. “We’ve done what we need to do to freeze the spending. We will need some legislative help at the end of the year to move these balances from one fund to another, but I don’t expect that the Legislature would act irresponsibly,” Christie said in a morning appearance on NJ 101.5 FM. 

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/nj_politics/Possible_snag_in_Christie_budget_plan_may_need_some_Democratic_OK.html 

Business supports budget cuts that draw widespread ire 

The $2.2 billion cut to state spending drew opposition from groups supporting residents with disabilities, school districts and hospitals, but a leading business association has heard positives responses. A variety of speakers addressed the Assembly Budget Committee Wednesday morning, including Betsy Ryan, president of the New Jersey Hospital Association. She noted that hospitals must provide charity care, which is losing $25 million due to Christie’s cuts. (Kitchenmann, NJBiz.com) 

http://www.njbiz.com/article.asp?aID=80623 

Coniglio’s taxpayer-funded retirement pay slashed to $71 a month 

The state pension board on Wednesday disallowed the entire six years that former Sen. Joseph Coniglio served in the Legislature, slashing his taxpayer-funded retirement pay from $1,037 to $71 a month as a result of his corruption conviction. The Public Employee Retirement System board, meeting in Trenton, ruled that the 67-year-old Paramus Democrat forfeited all the service time he earned as a senator. Coniglio was allowed to keep the credits he earned over a decade as a councilman and during the year he served as an aide to Paul Contillo, a former senator from Paramus, said attorney Leon Sokol. He declined comment on the board’s ruling. (Sampson, The Record)

http://www.northjersey.com/news/state/politics/021710_Coniglios_taxpayer-funded_retirement_pay_slashed_to_71_a_month.html 

Ingle: Your government priorities at work 

Sen. Frank Lautenberg announces $23 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going for a network of bike and pedestrian paths to connect Camden and Philly. That presumably uses the Ben Franklin or one of the in-place bridges for the part across the Delaware, which causes one to wonder what they are paving the bike path with, gold? (Ingle, Gannett) 

http://blogs.app.com/politicspatrol/2010/02/17/your-government-priorities-at-work/ 

Stile: Christie’s wielding his power with zeal

Chris Christie has a knack for using vaguely worded laws and brandishing them into the weapon of choice for a crusade. As a corruption-busting federal prosecutor, he employed the 28-word “honest services” federal statute to turn party bosses like Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joe Ferriero and his ally, former Paramus Sen. Joe Coniglio, into felons. As governor, Christie has gripped a clunky section of the state constitution and he’s wielding it with his customary zeal. (Stile, The Record)

http://www.northjersey.com/news/politics/political_stile/84675772_Christie_s_wielding_his_power_with_zeal.html

Morning News Digest: February 18, 2010