Morning News Digest: July 7, 2010

Experts: ‘more seasoned leadership might have gotten better concessions’ Mercenaries in the pay of the English crown once got their

Experts: ‘more seasoned leadership might have gotten better concessions’

Mercenaries in the pay of the English crown once got their butts kicked in Trenton, but this time London came calling and made Trenton kneel. Ensconsed in her office throughout the morning, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange) wanted face-to-face time with Gov. Chris Christie, who finally managed a phone call with her before crossing the Hudson to meet Queen Elizabeth II. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

ELEC to push for ‘Pay to Play’ law reform

The state Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) plans to push to reform the state’s questionable and confusing ‘pay to play’ law to strengthen the measure that took effect in 2006. The commission, which is responsible for tracking campaign finance in the state, called the law “confusing” and said with the inclusion of the “fair and open” provision, which allows municipalities to bypass the pay to play restrictions in awarding contracts so long as the request for bids is advertised on the township’s Web site or in a local newspaper, the law has a huge loophole. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ) 

Christie vetoes 2.9% cap and repackages bill with his and Sweeney’s input 

After vetoing the version on his desk, Gov. Chris Christie returned Senate Bill 29 to the Legislature with changes reflecting his desire to land a hard cap of 2 percent with limited exceptions, a deal struck Saturday with Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford). “Now is the time to act, not hesitate,” the governor said in a statement. “The stakes are too high for New Jersey families who are struggling to make ends meet and fighting to stay in their own homes to delay any longer in providing real, meaningful property tax relief.” (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

Rep. Scott Garrett’s hard-line views gaining more influence 

Rep. Scott Garrett literally had a seat at the table when a select House-Senate conference committee put the final touches on the Wall Street overhaul bill the House ultimately approved Wednesday. From that seat, Garrett was able to insert several provisions into the final package, including a new type of bank financing called covered bonds that he has championed for several years, but never could get to a vote. (Jackson, The Record) 

NJ Gov Chris Christie will meet with Queen Elizabeth at ground zero in NYC 

 New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is set rub elbows with royalty on Tuesday night when he meets Queen Elizabeth II. The 84-year-old monarch will spend five hours in New York City on Tuesday. She’ll 
first address the United Nations, then head to ground zero for a tribute to the victims 
of the 9/11 attacks. At ground zero, the queen is set to lay a wreath in honor of the thousands of people 
who died there. Christie is among the dignitaries who is scheduled to join her there. (AP) 

FAQ: How Gov. Christie’s Property Tax Reform Would Work 

The historic deal reached this weekend between Gov. Chris Christie and lawmakers over a new 2 percent property tax cap includes several exemptions. And lawmakers will be in session over much of the summer to consider a package of other legislation that could profoundly affect how local governments manage and pay their employees. We’ve prepared this guide to help you understand the cap, and the proposed legislation. (Celock, Westfield Patch) 

Energy funds raided to balance New Jersey budget

 Last month, a state utilities board voted to allocate $15 million in federal stimulus money for grants to make businesses more energy efficient. The money for the program, which seeks to lower New Jersey residents’ utility bills by reducing demand from the biggest users of the electric grid, should have come from a fee assessed on major commercial and industrial users since 2003. (Rao, Inquirer)

More for Abbott districts now

Shift on Supreme Court later? New Jersey’s budget negotiations ground to a halt for a time Monday when a couple of Republican lawmakers refused to go along with the governor’s spending plan. The hitch? Gov. Christie’s budget, while lowering school aid by $819 million, gives a larger proportion than previous budgets to the 31 school systems in the poor, mostly urban communities formerly known as Abbott districts. (Lu, Inquirer) 

Ingle: Christie vetoes property tax cap 

As expected, Gov. Christie conditionally vetoed the Legislature’s 2.9 percent property tax cap. A conditional veto means the Legislature doesn’t have to start over with a new bill. This comes on the heels of an agreement reached over the weekend between Sen. Steve Sweeney and Christie for a 2 percent cap with more exceptions that Christie would have had in his proposed 2.5 percent property tax amendment. (Ingle, Gannett)

Morning News Digest: July 7, 2010