Morning News Digest: June 25, 2010

Assembly releases budget

The assembly budget committee voted to release the budget late Thursday, setting the stage for a vote by the full legislature on Monday. The committee released the budget by a vote of 5 to 4, with Democratic Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Newark) the lone Democrat to vote “aye.” (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)

Kean and Democrats help drive budget supplemental bills out of committee

With Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean subbing for an AWOL state Sen. Mike Doherty, the Senate Budget Committee just passed the ancillary budget bills that caused the day-long breakdown. The bills passed with some distributed Democratic Party assistance. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Kasparian’s statement on court ruling

As the successor of a scuffed up and now exonerated Joe Ferriero, Bergen Democratic Chairman Michael Kasparian today released a statement on the United States Supreme Court ruling on “honest services.” “While I am glad that the individuals impacted under the ‘honest services’ ruling will now be able to clear their names, the fact remains that this favorable opinion for the former leadership of our party has no impact on the current Bergen County Democratic Organization, its leadership, or the campaigns of Dennis McNerney, Leo McGuire, Jim Carroll, Liz Calabrese or John Hogan,” said Kasparian, who assumed the chairmanship of the organization following Ferriero’s resignation last year to confront corruption charges. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Sweeney: No deal made to seat Kean 

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) pushes back his chair and heads for the door of the Senate Budget Committee chamber. The committee just passed his 2.9% statutory cap along party lines. They gavel out here for a recess before addressing contentious issue number one: an already notorious package of supplemental budget bills. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

High Court Ruling to Have Broad Impact on Corruption Cases 

 The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday made life a little more difficult for government lawyers who prosecute corruption cases against public officials and white collar suspects. In a ruling that sided with former Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling, the high court limited prosecutors’ use of a federal fraud statute known as the “honest services” law. (Prial, Fox News) 

Final vote on Teterboro’s breakup could come as soon as Monday 

An Assembly committee agreed Thursday to dissolve Teterboro and redraw South Hackensack, and supporters promised to give residents of five Bergen County towns a voice on the issue after it becomes law. The plan, which involves property zoned mostly for commercial and industrial use, needs final approval from the Legislature and the signature of Governor Christie. In all, five Bergen County municipalities would divide hundreds of millions of dollars in ratables. (Young, The Record) 

New Jersey Senate panel approves $29.38 billion spending plan 

Senate panel approved the $29.38 billion state spending plan Wednesday evening, after a day of long and tense negotiations. The Budget and Appropriations Committee also advanced a slew of budget-related bills, including measures to consolidate watchdog agencies and cut tax credits for low-income families, and temporarily suspend them for film production expenses. (Rao, Inquirer) 

GOP opposition stalls key NJ budget votes 

 Members of the New Jersey Senate are meeting privately to resolve differences over budget-related legislation. Votes on key bills have been stalled since Wednesday. A Republican on the budget panel, Sen. Michael Doherty, opposes four bills that raise taxes or fees. (AP)

Property tax cap, women’s health bills advance 

 A Senate budget committee has advanced a bill capping local property tax increases at 2.9 percent. The legislation would replace a 4 percent cap. Gov. Chris Christie had proposed a 2.5 percent cap that would be written into the Constitution. Budget committees in both houses of the Legislature also advanced a bill allocating $7.5 million for family planning centers. (AP)

 NJ gov conditionally vetoes unemployment tax bill 

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has conditionally vetoed a bill to limit the impact of an unemployment tax increase on businesses. Christie says the dollar figure is OK but the bill doesn’t go far enough toward reforming the financially troubled unemployment insurance fund. (AP) 

Stile: Teterboro takeover moves forward despite hurdles 

“Boy Scout” Bob Gordon failed to electrify a small group of senators huddled Wednesday to hear him sell his Orwellian-titled “Teterboro Consolidation Initiative.” That’s hardly a shocker. Gordon, the wonkish senator from Fair Lawn, is more C-SPAN than Oprah. His presentation, densely packed with tax data charts and color maps, was an eye-glazer. One person left before he was finished. (Stile, The Record) Morning News Digest: June 25, 2010