Morning News Digest: July 6, 2010

Offshore drilling an issue in N.J. congressional race

As oil spews into the Gulf of Mexico from a blown-out well, candidates in New Jersey’s most competitive congressional race are making offshore drilling an issue in the district that runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Delaware River. Freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. John Adler, like most of the state’s politicians, is against drilling off New Jersey’s shore. But Republican nominee Jon Runyan, a former Eagles tackle, says he’s in favor of drilling off the state’s coast, as long as it can be done safely and New Jersey’s residents pass a ballot question supporting it. (Burton, Inquirer) 

PATH upgrading stations to tune of $200 million 

Get ready for extreme makeover, mass transit edition. Commuters who take PATH trains from New Jersey to Manhattan are going to notice improvements over the next several years, including more benches, cleaner surroundings and better loudspeaker systems, not to mention a nearly complete overhaul of one of the rail system’s decaying stations. (AP) 

Report: N.J. job claim fraud reaching $25M yearly

 Tough economic times mean more unemployment claims for New Jersey to process — and that has meant a spike in fraudulent claims by people trying to exploit the system. New Jersey has paid out nearly $100 million in unemployment claims since the beginning of 2006 to people who weren’t entitled to them, according to a report in The Star-Ledger of Newark. State labor officials told the newspaper that because of the time and difficulty involved in finding violators, about one-third of fraudulent claims are never recovered. (AP) 

Ingle: Sarlo says tax crisis is ‘fake’ 

Sometimes you have to wonder what they put in the water pitcher for committees here at the Statehouse. These people sometimes act like they’re on something. Paul Sarlo chairs the Budget Committee for the Senate. He went into a rant about how Democrats have held down taxes then went into a useless discussion about what might be discussed in future meetings. (Ingle, Gannett) 

Hannon: Governor Christie’s setting the table 

 Sitting at what looked like a card table in a South River, N.J., firehouse, Governor Chris Christie signed the 2010-11 state budget into law last Tuesday. The stark surroundings were in character with both the governor’s message and his budget. Earlier in the year many political pundits predicted that this spending bill, which represents an 8.8-percent reduction from last year’s plan, would never happen. They said that Christie would fall victim to special interest groups, the Trenton bureaucracy, and the Democrat majority. Once again they underestimated the governor. (Hannon, The Record)

Morning News Digest: July 6, 2010