Morning News Digest: May 21, 2010

Democrats’ one-shot, a series of inoculation A MILLIONAIRES TAX is a one-shot budget fix. Forget whether the 16,000 New Jerseyans

Democrats’ one-shot, a series of inoculation

A MILLIONAIRES TAX is a one-shot budget fix. Forget whether the 16,000 New Jerseyans who make more than $1 million a year should be taxed at nearly an 11 percent rate. Forget whether the more than $600 million in anticipated revenue is an accurate number. And forget whether that revenue would really be used for senior citizens. In plain New Jersey English, just fuhgeddabout the whole thing. (Doblin, The Record)

NJ Gov. Chris Christie swiftly vetos millionaires tax increase, property tax rebate bills

It took about two minutes from the time Senate President Steve Sweeney certified the passage of the millionaires tax package for Governor Christie to veto the bills at his desk. (Friedman, Fleisher, The Record)

Opponents warn Adler, Runyan of overlooking the 3rd District primary

With a few weeks left before the June 8 primary, the 3rd Congressional District candidates with major party backing are taking aim at each other in anticipation of the November general election. (Spahr, Press of Atlantic City)

Polos won’t run against Spicuzzo but wants new leadership

Freeholder Jim Polos of Highland Park won’t challenge Middlesex County Democratic Chairman Joe Spicuzzo, but he wouldn’t argue if someone else stepped forward at the committee’s reorganization meeting on the Tuesday after the June 8th Primary.  (Pizarro,|

Horizon Blue Cross plans to go public are on hold amid scrutiny of CEO pay

Public scrutiny of the largest health insurance provider in New Jersey intensified Thursday, even as the company confirmed it had no imminent plans to resume seeking state approval to shed its nonprofit status and become a publicly traded entity. (Livio, Star-Ledger)

Branded as theatrical, Sarlo accuses governor of same

In a debate that lacks dramatic power by virture of the common knowedge circulating and percolating that the bill will be dead upon (hand) delivery to the governor later tonight, state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) objects to state Sen. Joe Kyrillos’s (R-Milddletown) characterization of the evening as “political theater.” (Pizarro,

Sweeney bill advances to set veto power over county authorities

Stephen Sweeney presides over the New Jersey Senate and the Gloucester County Board of Freeholders. On Thursday, he got a step closer to acquiring sway over a new realm of government. (Rao, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Face-off with N.J. Dems about taxes marks defining moment for Gov. Chris Christie

After months of threatening and posturing, the battle about taxes that will define Gov. Chris Christie’s first year in office was joined Thursday.  (Star-Ledger)

Dems drive tax against skeptical GOP

In what initially looks like a pro forma execution of the inevitable, the Democratic Assembly seeks passage of the millionaires’ tax bill that – in his own pro forma execution of the inevitable – Republican Gov. Chris Christie said he would veto.  (Pizarro,

Senators from New Jersey, Maryland ask Obama to block drilling

U.S. senators from New Jersey and Maryland have written to President Obama, asking him to block oil drilling off the Virginia coast.  (Associated Press)
N.J. cops, firefighters start paying for pensions, health care
A law reducing pension and health care benefits for police and firefighters will go into effect today after a state judge Thursday refused to block it.  (Megarian, Star-Ledger)

Ocean Township feels disgrace, unease after Van Pelt conviction

Their former mayor, Daniel M. Van Pelt, faces years of incarceration for two corruption convictions, and no two residents seem to feel exactly the same way about it. But those who are willing to talk are very willing. (Campbell, Press of Atlantic City)

Large-scale protests are common to Trenton, but results are uncertain

Organizers of Saturday’s Statehouse protest against Gov. Chris Christie’s budget cuts are expecting a crowd of up to 30,000 — most from public employee unions — and hope such a show of force will sway the state’s top politicians.  (Friedman, Star-Ledger)

Jeers, Cheers for Christie

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky during Monmouth University’s commencement ceremony Thursday, but the atmosphere here was undoubtedly turbulent due to the man delivering the graduation address: Gov. Chris Christie. (Herring, Wall Street Journal)

‘Dirty’ Oil Ad Hits the GOP

With Sen. Lisa Murkowski blocking quick passage of a bill in the Senate to raise the penalties BP faces for the Gulf oil spill, the Democratic-affiliated Americans United for Change is firing off an ad tarring Republicans with big oil money.  The aim of the spot is to promote energy reform legislation, but New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez probably doesn’t mind the pressure it could bring for his oil spill bill, which would raise the cap on economic damages BP must pay to $10 billion from $75 million. (McAuliff, New York Daily News)

Bill to curb business payments into unemployment funds goes to governor

A bill that would cut by about $260 per worker the increase businesses will pay into New Jersey’s unemployment insurance fund in July moved to the governor’s desk Thursday – although it was not clear whether he would sign it. (Morley, The Record)

N.J. towns make school budget cuts in wake of election defeats

The Woodbridge School District will have to cut $1 million from its proposed $182 million budget after township voters defeated the spending plan by 1,600 votes.

New Jersey senate passes bill requiring new state employees to live here, too

Future public employees who work in New Jersey would have to live in New Jersey under a bill passed by the state senate today. (Friedman, The Record)

Ex-Toms River resident confirmed to head N.J. Community Affairs

The nomination of former Toms River resident Lori Grifa to be commissioner of the state Department of Community Affairs was confirmed by the state Senate Thursday. (Michels, Asbury Park Press)

N.J.’s Christie Nixes Tax Boost on $1 Million Earner

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed an income-tax increase on residents earning $1 million, minutes after the bill cleared the Democrat-led Legislature. (Dopp, Bloomberg)

Responding to plea to drop out of 7th District Primary, Baker blasts Larsen

Two Tea Party challengers to U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Lebanon) are scrapping over who should drop out of the race and back the other as the solid hard right alternative to the moderate Lance. (Pizarro,

Sweeney slams Christie tax plan at AARP conference

Moments before Gov. Chris Christie arrives for this AARP conference, state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) seizes a microphone and grabs the attention of a big senior citizen crowd here at the Marriot, intensifying his own shared sacrifice mantra a day after Gov. Chris Christie backed off of senior prescription drug cuts.  (Pizarro, Morning News Digest: May 21, 2010