Morning News Digest: July 14, 2010

Battleground Hamilton serves as Christie’s local setpiece for 2 percent cap story

Gov. Chris Christie selected this public service sector stronghold in which to flourish a pen and sign a 2 percent property tax cap bill into law as two 14th District contestants from opposing parties eagerly edged into the picture frame as they bear down on their November election clash. “They’re running against each other,” said Christie, acknowledging the presence of state Sen. Tom Goodwin (R-Hamilton) and Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro), who are running in a special election to fill the unexpired term of Bill Baroni. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

Adler campaign poll shows congressman up 17 points over Runyan

 An internal poll from the campaign of U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) obtained by shows the incumbent holding a 17-point lead over Republican Jon Runyan, 51-34%, in a three-way 3rd Congressional District race. The poll reflects a matchup among Adler, GOP nominee Runyan, and Tea Party independent Peter DeStafano, who gets 12% of the vote in the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

 Monmouth Poll: voters like cap, but preferred a hard cap 

Although many state residents approve of a 2 percent property tax agreement, more wanted a hard cap over a soft one, and a majority say a cap won’t fix the structural problems that cause high property taxes, according to a Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Press Media Poll released this morning. Among a group of 3-in-4 New Jerseyans who say they are familiar with the special session, 48% approve of the deal reached by the governor and legislature compared to 31% who disapprove. However, it is not clear that these residents are actually aware of the plan’s details. Asked about specifics regarding the 2 percent cap with exemptions for health care, pension, and debt payments that Gov. Chris Christie will sign into law this afternoon, only 35% of New Jerseyans say they favor this type of cap versus 45% who oppose. By comparison, a majority of 54% favor a hard 2.5% cap like the one the governor originally proposed, with 31% opposed. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

OP-ED: Right v Might 

Everyone who follows politics is keenly aware of the lapses in decorum during President Obama’s State of the Union Address. Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R-SC) shouted, “You lie” during a point on healthcare, while New Jersey’s own Justice Samuel Alito mouthing the words “Not true” to a reference on a court decision concerning election contributions. Last week, the New Jersey Senate took it a step farther. During State Senator Michael Doherty’s (R-Warren) remarks on the Senate Floor, he observed that New Jersey was spending too much money on education in the urban areas. It was at that point that Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) called out “that’s not true.” (LaRossa) 

From the Back Room… 

RIP Boss

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner has died. Steinbrenner, who had been in poor health recently, was 80. Steinbrenner, whose teams own seven world championships reportedly died of a heart attack. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)

Homebuyer Tax Credit Bill Sits On Christie’s Desk

A bill that some say would reenergize New Jersey’s housing market is still sitting on the desk of Governor Chris Christie. It’s a spend money to make money, create jobs and create commerce initiative. “If you want to put people back to work, build a house,” said New Jersey Assemblyman Lou Greenwald. But so far, Christie is hesitant to sign a $100 million homebuyer tax credit bill. (Long, CBS) 

Dems in House, Senate face growing to-do list 

Democrats have significant majorities in both the House and Senate, but they face a long, and growing, to-do list as Congress returns from its Independence Day break this week. They have to pay for the “surge” in Afghanistan. They want to extend expired tax cuts and unemployment benefits. And some want to help states pay for teachers and Medicaid. And that’s before they get to major overhauls of energy policy and immigration. (Jackson, The Record) 

Congressman Holt sets Central Jersey telephone town hall meeting 

 U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, D-12th announced Tuesday July 13 that he will welcome 
Central New Jersey residents at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday July 20 to a on-hour telephone town hall meeting to ask questions and share views on the challenges facing New Jersey and the country, including the economy, health care reform, energy sustainability, retirement security, the situation in the Gulf and anything else that may be on their minds. “As a representative, I continue to hear the concerns of Central New Jersey residents and work to address their needs, study their issues, and get solutions that ensure fairness and promote opportunity,” Holt said. “Holding town hall meetings is one way to stay in touch.” (O’Brien, Gannett) 

NJ Gov. Chris Christie signs property-tax cap bill into law

 Republican Gov. Chris Christie has signed legislation capping local spending and property tax growth at 2 percent a year, after steering the compromise bill through a Legislature controlled by Democrats. The new law was designed to slow the rate of property tax increases in a state where the average household is assessed nearly $7,300 a year, the highest in the country. It is the second major fiscal initiative in as many weeks for Christie, who signed a $29.4 billion state budget June 29, hours after Democrats provided the votes necessary for the Legislature to pass it. (AP) 

Ingle: They must be told in their language

 In a 4-3 decision, authored by Chief Justice Stu Rabner, the state Supreme Court has ruled police must inform drunken driving suspects in their native language they are required to take a Breathalyzer test. The individual, who rear-ended another car in Plainfield, remains convicted of DUI but his conviction for refusing to take a test was tossed. (Ingle, Gannett)

Morning News Digest: July 14, 2010