Morning News Digest: June 22, 2010

Alongside Christie on Monday, Booker set to endorse property tax hard cap concept

Embroiled in a city budget crisis and trying to close a $180 million budget deficit, Newark Mayor Cory Booker is scheduled tomorrow to endorse Gov. Chris Christie’s general concept of a hard cap on property taxes, according to multiple sources. The Christie administration Sunday evening released the governor’s updated schedule, which includes the appearance with Booker in Newark set for 11 a.m. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Runyan calls for balanced budget amendment

Pre-empted this week by U.S. Rep. Jon Adler’s (D-Cherry Hill) invocation of “Washington insider” to describe the Republican challenger, Jon Runyan as expected hit back with his first formal general election brand association for Adler: “career politician.” The candidate announced his support for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and proposed requiring a two-third supermajority of both the House and Senate to pass any tax increase and “a ‘Red Ink Taskforce’ that would be charged with a thorough review of all federal spending.” (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

N.J. school cuts won’t stop lobbyists

The publicly financed lobby for New Jersey’s school boards is spending millions to renovate its Trenton headquarters, even as local districts face massive state aid cuts, defeated budgets and construction proposals, and pending teacher layoffs. The New Jersey School Boards Association collects more than $7 million a year from 588 member districts, which are legally required to join. It has socked away so much in dues and conference fees — $12.3 million, an amount greater than the group’s annual operating budget — that it is paying cash for the improvements. (Young, The Record)

Long way to go for women in politics

 In 1776, New Jersey gave women the vote. In 1807, New Jersey took it away. Too many women, it seemed, had been voting. At least that was the thinking in the Legislature, which was all male. Such a reversal underscores the state of women in New Jersey politics today. Women have made decided gains. But they say they have miles to travel, and their gains may be imperiled. (Baldwin, Gannett) 

 Allies of former Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas get jail, probation in corruption probe 

A stunned ally of former Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas was sent to jail today for a scheme to steal from the city and another Vas associate got a tongue lashing from a Superior Court judge but avoided incarceration. Jeffrey Gumbs Sr., 51, of Perth Amboy, was sentenced to 364 days in jail in Superior Court, New Brunswick. (Serrano, Gannett)

 Racinos at the Meadowlands? Not if casinos can help it 

 A special commission appointed by Gov. Chris Christie is expected to issue recommendations on what to do with New Jersey’s sports, gaming and entertainment industries at the end of this month. The commission could end up deciding the ultimate fate of horse racing and the casinos, experts say. Longtime horse racing fans weren’t surprised late last month when neither the horses nor the perfect weather failed to draw a crowd to the rare matinee event at the Meadowlands Racetrack. (Method, Gannett) 

 Governor Christie: “Now is the time to not ignore the problems but to confront them.” 

A lot of the things that these difficult trying times are bringing into focus for all of us as citizens, as elected officials – that accountability is important now more than ever. And your point that when we appoint people, and I appoint lots of people, by the time I get done with four years I’ll probably appoint thousands of people to different things – boards and commissions and authorities around the state, members of my cabinet, judges – a lot of people that I’m going to be responsible for that are going to have my name next to them, for better or for worse for the rest of my life. (Governor Christie, PolitickerNJ)

 Stile: Criminal complaints swirl after sign scuffle 

Michael Agosta, the Republican candidate for the 9th Congressional District publicly declared during the primary a desire to “waterboard” Democratic incumbent Steve Rothman. But Agosta’s June 5 confrontation with a volunteer for his chief Republican primary rival, John Aslanian, has landed him in hot water, and most likely in court next week. (Stile, The Record) 

Ingle: Direct from the sandbox, games pols play 

How good could this state be if elected officials spent their time working to fix problems instead of trying to one-up their opponents, like kids in a sandbox? Assembly Democrats will try to override Gov. Christie’s veto of the “millionaires’ tax,” and although they frame it as an heroic effort to provide property tax relief for the disabled and elderly, it is an attempt to embarrass the governor. (Ingle, Gannett) Morning News Digest: June 22, 2010