Morning News Digest: March 26, 2010

Wisniewski: Christie’s ‘unconscionable’ budget starting to sink in on the ground level 

As school boards grapple with state aid-depleted budgets, transit riders face fare hikes, and towns contemplate layoffs to make it under a 2.5% spending cap, Gov. Chris Christie’s budget each day becomes less a (paperless) Statehouse document and more a discomfiting impactful object, according to Democratic State Chairman John Wisniewski. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

Donovan: state can generate $56 million by collecting sales tax from NFL teams 

Bergen County Clerk Kathleen Donovan says the state should collect sales tax on a projected $800 million in revenue the Giants and Jets will receive for the sale of Personal Seat Licenses at the new Meadowlands football stadium. Donovan estimates that sales tax would bring in $56 million in revenue – a plan she says Gov. Christopher Christie take instead of repealing Bergen County Blue Laws.
 (Editor, PolitickerNJ)

In race against Schneider, Unger focuses on Dwek residue in Long Branch 

Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider knew Solomon Dwek. No big deal, he says. Dwek was a well-heeled waterfront speculator down here from Deal. Knew a lot of people, gave to a lot of organizations. “I was at his wedding – 20 years ago!” says the veteran mayor, up for re-election on May 11th and facing a challenge from Councilman Brian Unger (pictured). (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Christie picks DeLeon to head D.C. office 

Gov. Chris Christie has chosen Dona DeLeon, a former environmental advisor to Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, as director of the governor’s Washington, DC Office. Governor Christie said, “It is important that New Jersey have a strong and effective advocate for our interests in Washington. Ms. DeLeon has considerable political and government experience at both the national and state level and I am confident in her ability to represent my administration and the interests of New Jersey citizens.” (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

Sports authority board pick has Democrats wary 

Three Democratic state senators voiced reservations Wednesday about one of Governor Christie’s nominations to the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority’s board, but said they supported his choice to fill a vacancy on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey board. Sens. Paul Sarlo of Wood-Ridge, Loretta Weinberg of Teaneck and Robert Gordon of Fair Lawn did not go so far as to say they would block the appointment of Robert Yudin, the Bergen County Republican Organization chairman, but questioned whether he has the necessary experience to serve on the board. (Gartland, The Record) 

Christie wants time to assess health care law before deciding whether to join suit 

Governor Christie Wednesday said he needs time to consider the impact of health care reforms signed Tuesday by President Obama before deciding whether New Jersey should join 14 states in filing court challenges. Attorneys general across the country – most Republicans – have said the federal government does not have the constitutional power to force people to have health insurance. Thirteen states filed a joint lawsuit just minutes after the president signed the bill, and Virginia filed a separate suit. (Fleisher, The Record) 

Ingle: Think of the kids, stay in the classroom 

While the Assembly took its sweet time on pension reform Monday, the Statehouse halls were alive with the sound of teachers telling passing lawmakers to “Think of the kids.” Most of the relatively mild changes affect future hires, but one would require teachers to pay at least 1.5 percent of their salary toward health care benefits for them and their families. What’s that got to do with kids? (ingle, Gannett) 

Ingle: Where we rank among the states 

The Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation has re-released its 2010 version of Facts and Figures, which compares the 50 states on 31 different measures. “As states recover from the recession and legislators attempt to balance budgets and stabilize revenue, it’s important to keep in mind that tax changes affect states’ competitiveness regionally and nationally,” said Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge.(Ingle, Gannett) Morning News Digest: March 26, 2010