Morning News Digest: April 8, 2010

Corzine, New Jersey Officials Cut Line for U2 Tickets

Former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine’s office got U2 and Bruce Springsteen seats the public couldn’t buy last year, at the same time the state was suing brokers over ticketing practices, according to documents showing 22 elected officials received special treatment. (Satariano, Bloomberg)

Poll: Christie approvals tied to budget

Newly-elected Gov. Christopher Christie has an upside-down 33%-37% favorable rating, down from 45%-26% in February, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton poll released today. Christie’s proposed budget has a 42%-50% approval rating.

”Three weeks after the budget speech, the impact is starting to sink in,” said David Redlawsk, the poll director. “The results are recognition that the proposed budget cuts are going to hurt and a significant decrease in favorable impressions of Christie.”
 (Pizarro, PoiltickerNJ)

Mack banks on voters, not endorsements

The community pizza parlor named Frank’s actually goes by Vito’s in the street, and when Tony Mack gets here, it’s evident that Vito’s or Frank’s celebrated Trenton street cred probably has little on Mack. “I believe in my heart through my experiences that people will vote for you because they believe in you,” says the mayoral candidate, who works hands here shortly after Council President Paul Pintella received the embrace of CWA Local 1039 at his campaign HQ. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Greenwald: Christie budget an ‘all-out assault on the middle-class’ 

Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Louis Greenwald (D-Voorhees) says that Gov. Christopher Christie will have to veto his own budget because it contains a tax increase.

”Just about everything vital to working class New Jerseyans and senior citizens would be taxed, slashed or eliminated by Gov. Christie, whether it be property tax relief, senior citizen care, education, college aid, health care or businesses,” said Greenwald, who presided over a budget panel hearing this morning. “This all-out assault on the middle-class and senior citizens by Gov. Christie spares no one but the wealthy and does nothing to cure New Jersey’s addiction to property taxes. As a matter of fact, under this budget, the largest property tax hikes in New Jersey history are on their way. (Editor, PolitickerNJ) 

N.J. Gov. Christie’s poll numbers take a dive in budget aftermath 

Public opinion of Governor Christie has taken a dive in the aftermath of his first state budget, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The Rutgers-Eagleton poll found that Christie’s favorability rating sank 12 points since February, when 45 percent of residents had a favorable opinion of the governor and 26 percent unfavorable. Now that stands at 33 percent favorable and 37 percent unfavorable, according to the poll.
(Heininger, The Record) 

Group urges caution before privatizing parts of N.J. state government 

Government watchdogs Wednesday said any plan to privatize parts of state government should be carefully crafted because using the private firms for public functions can still produce waste and abuse. “I believe that privatization can work,” Inspector General Mary Jane Cooper told the governor’s Privatization Task Force. “But where it works, the project has been carefully set up from the beginning to work.” (Friedman, The Record) 

Christie to trim 1,300 jobs from executive branch 

Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to trim more than 1,300 jobs from the 63,500-person executive branch workforce includes 529 jobs from the Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital slated for closure, 129 jobs at New Jersey Network, which is proposed to be privatized, and hundreds of police and public safety jobs, according to details of his budget released today. The governor’s budget said his plans are consistent with an agreement former Gov. Jon Corzine made with labor unions to freeze wages in exchange for no layoffs through the 2010 calendar year. (Fleisher, The Record) 

N.J. Gov. Christie proposes 4 percent tuition-increase cap for state colleges 

Governor Christie is proposing a 4 percent cap on increases in tuition and fees for the state’s public colleges and universities, and is considering reopening union contracts to try to get salary concessions at the schools, his spokesman said Wednesday. “It’s definitely something worth our attention,” said Michael Drewniak, the spokesman. “It’s not the most desirable thing, but we are short on choices.” (Alex, The Record) 

Supporters greet Sharpe James, convicted ex-Newark mayor in NJ 

 One of New Jersey’s longest serving former mayors got a hero’s welcome Tuesday, stepping off a Greyhound bus in Newark and blowing kisses to a throng of cheering supporters before being driven to a halfway house where he’ll serve out the remainder of a federal prison sentence on corruption charges. “It’s good to be home,” former Newark Mayor Sharpe James said through the lowered window of an SUV that barely inched forward through a sea of 300 or so supporters who chanted, cheered and held signs reading “no crime committed” and “Sharpe for governor.” (Henry, AP) 

NJ revenue outlook bleak 

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie might have to sharpen his budget ax. A nonpartisan projection of the state’s revenue outlook shows tax collections could 
be slightly weaker than the governor’s office anticipated. The Office of Legislative Service is presenting the analysis to the Assembly Budget Committee on Wednesday. (Delli Santi, AP) 

Ingle: It’s not easy being green 

Jeff Tittel, director of the Sierra Club in New Jersey, should know a thing or two about being green. Here’s what he says, “In New Jersey, campaign contributions not only get you access but also seem to get you results … The only thing green about New Jersey politics is the money that comes from developers and contractors.” (Ingle, Gannett)

Morning News Digest: April 8, 2010