Morning New Digest: April 6, 2010

Runyan praises Obama for offshore drilling decision, but ultimately favors state supremacy

Parting company with Gov. Chris Christie and others worried about the environmental impact of “drill, baby, drill,” 3rd Congressional District candidate Jon Runyan today praised President Barack Obama for deciding to lift the federal moratorium on offshore oil drilling. “President Obama’s plan to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling is a step in the right direction for reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, creating jobs and bringing down the cost of energy on overburdened consumers,” said Runyan. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Christie urges NJEA acceptance of salary freeze proposal, which teachers dismiss as gov ‘slush fund’

In the same letter he sent today to Barbara Keshishian, president of the New Jersey School Board Association, and Marie Bilik, executive director of the New Jersey School Boards Association, Gov. Chris Christie urged education associations and local school boards to adopt a proposal to provide additional state aid to school districts that have enacted year-long salary freezes. “The additional state aid to those districts that make the right choice and join in the shared sacrifice will ensure that more teachers stay in their jobs, more students will be able to participate in extracurricular activities, and protect educational services. While it is not the easy choice, it is the right choice and it shows we put New Jersey’s children first,” said Christie. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

U.S. Sen. Menendez appeals recall ruling 

Calling it an “attack on the Constitution,” a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez yesterday said the Democrat has appealed to the state Supreme Court to stop a recall effort. “Mainstream New Jerseyans believe deeply in the U.S. Constitution that for more than 200 years has made ours the greatest form of government in world history,” said Afshin Mohamadi, a spokesman for Menendez (D-N.J.). “This attack on the Constitution undermines our uniquely American system of democracy and will be contested.” (Ackermann, The Record)

A.C. casino tax breaks flunk poll test

A majority of those responding to the Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll recently opposed tax breaks for the stalled Revel casino project in Atlantic City. Sixty percent agreed that “tax rebates shouldn’t be given because they amount to a bailout of the Wall Street firm Morgan Stanley, a key backer of the project,” while only 27 percent favored the tax incentives. (Lu, Inquirer) 

Daunting problems for N.J.’s new DOT chief 

James Simpson, the new commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, inherits plenty of problems as he takes over the sprawling agency. The state Transportation Trust Fund is running dry. The condition of New Jersey’s crowded highways is the worst in the nation, according to federal data. NJ Transit ridership is down and fares are slated to increase 25 percent. The state’s toll collectors recently drew unwanted attention for hundreds of complaints by motorists about nasty behavior. (Nussbaum, Inquirer)

Morning New Digest: April 6, 2010