Morning News Digest: April 9, 2010

Unger drops Dwek mailer on Schneider

Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider (pictured) and Councilman Brian Unger traded their first full-blown punches in mail pieces over the last 48 hours, with the mayor throwing first on Tuesday and Unger retaliating today. Unger went ugly early, dealing an omnimous-looking picture of Solomon Dwek today and detailing the money Schneider took in caqmpaign contributions from the disgraced developer. “He’s one of the most notorious criminals in New Jersey,” reads the campaign glossy. “Adam Schneider took his money.” (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Doherty tackles ‘at-risk’ designation for urban students

It’s a favorite issue of state Sen. Mike Doherty (R-Washington Twp.), a rural legislator who grew up in Essex County and long heard what he interpreted as the sucking sound of money from the suburbs into Newark. Conceding that Newark’s porverty rate stands at 24%, Doherty believes urban schools unfairly receive a disproportionately high share of state aid based on the designation of “at-risk” children. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Sarlo stays on the offensive

The state treasurer’s remark that New Jersey’s budget problem stems from spending straightens the back of Budget and Appropriations Chairman Paul Sarlo, the Democratic senator from Wood-Ridge. Recovering, Sarlo leans into the microphone. “Did I hear you say (the budget deficit) has nothing to do with revenue?” “There is some falloff in revenue because of the national recession,” concedes Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff. But “I think it’s clear, New Jersey has a spending problem.” (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

 Budget chairman and treasurer clash over property tax relief 

A prickly flare-up ensues involving state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), chair of the budget committee, and Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff (pictured). “We take that $1.5 billion, $447 million, $848 million in rebates, that equals $2.8 billion in property tax relief cuts, is that correct?” “The math part is okay,” says the treasurer. (Pizarro, 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) 

Gov Chris Christie backs tuition cap for public colleges 

New Jersey’s public colleges and universities might be forced to keep tuition increases in check. Gov. Chris Christie has proposed a 4 percent cap. Schools that exceed it would lose more state aid. Tuition and fees at the state’s four-year schools average about $11,000, one of the 
highest public rates in the nation. (AP) 

Sharp debate on N.J. budget

Lawmakers opened their review of Gov. Christie’s proposed budget on Wednesday with sniping, sharp criticisms, and a reversal of roles for Democrats and Republicans. On what some lawmakers referred to as their “opening day” on the $29.3 billion budget – their first hearings with nonpartisan fiscal analysts and Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff – Democrats said Christie’s plan would increase costs for the middle class, result in the largest property tax increases in state history, and give a break to the wealthy. (Tamari/Lu, inquirer)

Stile: State budget needs Tarot cards

Cynthia White has spent most of her adult life gazing into the future — for a fee, of course. But she was never asked — until I called her up Wednesday — to make a revenue forecast. The all-purpose occultist, having a slow day in her storefront shop down the street from the State House, figured, “why not?” (Stile, The Record) 

Ingle: Budget cost Christie fans, as predicted

Gov. Christie said doing what he elected him to do wasn’t going to win him any friends. He got that right. New Rutgers-Eagleton Poll shows his favorable numbers have dropped 12 points since the budget address, from 45 percent to 33 percent. About half New Jersey is displeased with the budget while 43 percent like it. (Ingle, Gannett) 

Stewart: Slash and burn brings no return 

Education costs money, but then so does ignorance. – Sir Claus Moser Since Gov. Christie delivered his budget address in Trenton three weeks ago, I have been waiting patiently to comment on it. I decided not to tackle this immense topic until I felt adequately informed regarding the governor’s plan. This was a hard-fought battle on my part, one that required massive amounts of willpower and study. (Stewart, The Record) Morning News Digest: April 9, 2010