Morning News Digest: July 13, 2010

Ruiz ready to run again in 2011

Her would-be opposition resigns itself to the notion that she can vote however she wants without fear of voter reprisal. Her organization’s too big. Too strong. Too well-connected. Poised for re-election next year in the safely Democratic 29th Legislative District with the long arm of Essex County’s most powerful political operation at her back, state Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark) didn’t surprise anyone when she recorded an aye vote for Gov. Chris Christie’s $29.4 billion budget. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

McHale on BCDO resignation: ‘There’s no smoking gun’

 Dumont Mayor Matt McHale insisted that his resignation earlier this month as executive director of the Bergen County Democratic Organization (BCDO) was his own decision. “It was an amicable separation,” McHale told “I’m still going to be in a volunteer capacity. I’m part of this party. I want to see the county executive and sheriff and freeholders win. The job’s a grind. I did it for a little over a year. I handed in my resignation. There’s no smoking gun.” (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

Teachers Union: Cap “Devastating” to Children and Public Education

 The New Jersey Education Association weighed in Monday on the cap on the property tax cap passed by both houses of the lesgislature and ready to be signed into law by the governor. Union President Barbara Keshishian issued a release shortly after the assembly voted 73 to 4 to pass the 2 percent cap on property tax increases, calling the measure a “devastating day for children and public education.” (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ) 

Two percent cap bill passes in the Assembly, 73-4 

In a no-drama session, the 2 percent property cap tax bill passes, 73 to 4. The legislators voting against the bill are Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-South Plainfield), Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman (D-Ewing), Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Elizabeth) and Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville). Chair of the Democratic State Party, Wisniewski as the dissenting vote in the most prominent position position, tells tax cap as proposed is a good idea, but ultimately unworkable, in part because the bill does not exempt existing collective bargaining agreements from the cap. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

 From the Back Room… 

Leakers: Dems upset over leaks 

Statehouse sources told PolitickerNJ that Democrats are upset over leaks of internal arguments that took place in their caucus room last week. Democratic leadership reportedly urged members not to leak information to reporters or anyone else because of its potential damage to the party. Last week, PolitickerNJ reported on several arguments inside the caucus over a deal made between senate democrats and the Republican governor. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ) 

Gov. To Speak at Reform Jersey Now Fundraiser

 Gov. Chris Christie is scheduled to speak tonight at a Reform Jersey Now fundraiser. The event is for a “small number of people” RJN’ers said, and will be held in New Jersey. Reports that the price of admission is $25,000 are unfounded, according to someone familiar with the event. There is no set price per plate and attendees can donate whatever amount they like. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ) 

OP-ED: The twin political quagmires of Bob Menendez 

This has not been a good political year for U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey). A June 17, 2010 Quinnipiac Poll reported that New Jersey voters disapproved of Menendez by a 43-38 percentage, his highest disapproval rating ever. For Bob Menendez, however, the worst news may be yet to come. He faces two political quagmires, to wit; 1) the California U.S. Senate race, in which Menendez is involved in his capacity as chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC); and 2) the failure of President Barack Obama and the Democratic- controlled Congress to date to extend the tax cuts enacted under the leadership of President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003. These tax cuts expire on December 31, 2010. (Steinberg) 

 Poll fnds few in New Jersey see property-tax cap solving problems 

 New Jersey residents remain skeptical that the property tax cap Gov. Chris Christie plans to sign will actually fix the underlying problems that have led to the state’s highest-in-the-nation property taxes, a new poll found. While 48 percent say they approve of the deal the Republican governor reached over the Fourth of July weekend with the Democrat-controlled Legislature, just 12 percent say that the cap will solve the tax problem, according to a Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Press Media poll. (Mikle, Gannett) 

 N.J. Mayor Links Property Tax Cap to Urban Violence

 A 2 percent property tax cap approved by the New Jersey State Legislature Monday could have dire results for urban cities, according to at least one Garden State mayor. “This runs the risk of driving urban communities in New Jersey back to the 60’s when we had urban violence,” Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage said in an exclusive interview with NBCNewYork. (Thompson, NBCNewYork) 

 GOP hopefuls for Shore area House seats get aid from Mitt Romney PAC

 Four Republican challengers for New Jersey’s House seats, including Anna Little in the 6th Congressional District, Jon Runyan in the 3rd and Scott Sipprelle in the 12th, won the support of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s political action committee today. The Free and Strong America PAC, formed by Romney following his unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, also is supporting incumbent Republican Leonard Lance in the 7th District. (Roh, Gannett) 

 NJ teacher retirements at record high; some spurred by Gov. Chris Christie agenda 

 School officials are grappling with a fourth R this summer. In addition to the traditional reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic, there is a wave of retirement, with public school teachers retiring this year at nearly double the rate of recent years. This month, according to the state Department of Treasury’s Division of Pensions and Benefits, retirement applications have been filed by 5,444 teachers. (Gannett)

 Ingle: Christie won’t be joining sports betting suit

 Gov. Christie refuses to join a suit brought against the federal government by Sen. Ray Lesniak to force the feds to allow New Jersey to have sports betting. Good for the governor. With dwindling resouces it makes no sense to waste the people’s money on windmill tilting. New Jersey and other states had an opportunity in 1992 to sign up for sports betting. Only Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon met the deadline. Senate President Steve Sweeney has joined Lesniak in the suit so a victory by them will be a victory for all. (Ingle, Gannett)

Morning News Digest: July 13, 2010