Morning News Digest: April 20, 2010

Freeman: New Jersey’s ‘Failed Experiment’ 

“I said all during the campaign last year that I was going to govern as if I was a one-termer,” explains New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on a visit this week to the Journal’s editorial board. “And everybody felt that it was just stuff you say during a campaign to sound good. I think after the first 12 weeks, given the stuff I’ve done, they figure: ‘He’s just crazy enough to do it.'” Call it crazy, or just call it sensible: Mr. Christie is on a mission to make New Jersey competitive once again in the contest to attract people and capital. (Freeman, The Wall Street Journal)

Gov’s Office takes issue with AP salary story

The governor’s office tonight repudiated an Associated Press story reporting a nearly $2 million increase by Gov. Chris Christie in administrative salary costs over his predecessor Gov. Jon Corzine. “The AP story erroneously reported that the Corzine Administration salary total was only $7 million,” said Christie Press Secretary Michael Drewniak. “In fact, there were a large number of employees not included in the Corzine Administration numbers. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Leadership contest could hurt Democrats

For most of the last decade, the Bergen Republicans engaged in enough infighting and nasty personality differences to fill a panel on “The Jerry Springer Show.”  Now it may be the Democrats’ turn. (Stile, The Record)

Armed with OLS figures, Sweeney and Buono assail Christie’s budget priorities

After weeks of sniping at Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed budget as a document that unfairly saddles the middle class and working poor while coddling the wealthiest New Jerseyans, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) lined up numbers from the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS) to prove his point. “The Governor keeps talking about a budget based on the concept of ‘shared sacrifice,'” Sweeney. “But this analysis proves what Democrats have been saying throughout this process: The sacrifices in this budget are being made solely by the families who can least afford them.” (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

Wisniewski on Christie administration salaries in context of shared sacrifice plea: ‘outrageous’ 

Thirty-four people in the administration of Gov. Chris Christie each makes over $100,000, with Christie himself sitting at the top of the totem with a salary of $175,000, according to a story published today by the Associated Press, which the Christie administration otherwise said contained several inaccuracies when comparing the stats with the administration of former Gov. Jon Corzine. But Democratic State Party Chairman John Wisniewski said the high-end salaries in the Christie administration stood out glaringly against the governor’s call to teachers for year-long wage freezes and other cost savings measures. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

N.J. gov’s office payroll goes up under Christie

 There are nearly twice as many people making $100,000 or more per year in Governor Christie’s administration than under his predecessor, according to an analysis by The Associated Press, which the governor’s office disputed Monday. The AP analysis found that while Christie, a Republican, is proposing laying off 1,300 state workers, he is spending nearly $2 million more on annual salaries than his predecessor, former Gov. Jon S. Corzine, a Democrat. (AP) 

Education Commissioner Bret Schundler offers different models for success 

Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed $820 million in cuts to local education have dominated news coverage of his proposed budget as school districts wrestle with the prospect of layoffs, tax increases or other dramatic steps. On the eve of this week’s school elections, Gannett New Jersey sat down with Education Commissioner Bret Schundler to get his thoughts on the current situation and his vision for schools in New Jersey. (Method, Gannett) 

Christie leaves ’em laughing in Phila. 

In a speech to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Gov. Christie joked about his terrible sense of direction. “I was on the phone with someone this morning and he said to me, ‘Where is this speech you’re giving in Philadelphia?’ and I said, ‘I have absolutely no idea. I know it’s in Philadelphia, and when the car stops and when I see a state trooper standing on the sidewalk, I’ll know we’re close.’ ” (Lu, Inquirer) 

Morning News Digest: April 20, 2010