Morning News Digest: September 14, 2001

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In 3rd District debate forum, Adler dings Pelosi, Chavez – and Runyan


MOUNT LAUREL – In this competitive 3rd Congressional District contest in a Republican district, the forces of U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) came in here with their candidate tonight seeking as much contrast as possible given a controlled format established by the Burlington County Chamber of Commerce. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Christie to propose major changes to NJ employee pensions, health benefits


TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie today will propose cuts in pension payments for state and local government workers and teachers, along with dramatically higher employee health benefit payments, according to two administration sources. The proposed reforms will also end annual cost-of-living pension increases for all state and local retirees, the sources said.  (Method, Asbury Park Press)




Sweeney refuses to allow reforms to pass until N.J. pays into retirement fund


TRENTON — As Gov. Chris Christie today proposes changes to the state’s overburdened pension and benefits system, one major roadblock stands in his way: Senate President Stephen Sweeney.  The powerful Gloucester County Democrat — who can unilaterally kill any bill without explanation — said Monday he will not allow reforms to pass until New Jersey pays its share into the retirement system, which is underfunded by $46 billion. (Fleisher, State House Bureau)


N.J. Assembly Democrats point out how Christie’s budget hurts N.J. residents, businesses

Seventy-six days after Gov. Chris Christie signed his first budget as governor, Assembly Democrats spent today criticizing it. In five committee hearings, lawmakers examined the ways they say the budget hurts college students, business owners, the poor and other New Jerseyans. (Friedman and Livio, Star-Ledger)



N.J. lawmakers introduce bill to restore $4M for children’s autism aid


New Jersey youngsters with developmental delays could see $4 million in treatment aid restored, under a bill introduced today by two Bergen County lawmakers. (Young, Star-Ledger) 




U.S. education department approves $268M to benefit N.J. schools


New Jersey’s application for $268 million for educators’ salaries and benefits has been approved, the U.S. Department of Education said today. (Fleischer, Star-Leder)




NJ law establishes set fees for public information


TRENTON — State and local government bodies and agencies will only be allowed to charge a nickel for a letter-size page and 7 cents for a legal-size page when billing people for copies of public information.‎+




Budget cuts curb after-school programs in NJ 


HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) — Budget cuts have cost funding to after-school programs that serve nearly 9,000 children of the working poor in New Jersey.

The state cut $7.4 million in aid to the New Brunswick-based charity that supported the programs as part of Gov. Chris Christie’s 2010-11 budget.



From the Back Room


Christie V. Palin, Round 1?


Tuesday’s Delaware primary election pits moderate Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Castle against Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell in a battle that could reverberate throughout the nation. Some pundits believe and O’Donnell win would mean a November loss to Democratic candidate Chris Coons, who is vying to keep the seat vacated by Vice President Joe Biden, in Democratic hands. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Bayonne Barney headed back to Jersey


U.S. Rep. Barney Frank is headed to the Garden State for a fundraiser to help Democratic Rep. Rush Holt in his 12th District reelection bid.  The Congressman from Massachusetts is scheduled to appear on Sept. 19 as Holt seeks to stave off a challenge from Republican Scott Sipprelle. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)





Democrats’ outrage on cuts rings hollow


The Democrats are having a bad case of buyer’s remorse.

The dominant Democrats dispatched 12 legislators to approve Governor Christie’s conservative, rebranding-of-the-Republican-Party budget that punished the poor while protecting 16,000 millionaires. Now they want out of the deal.  (Stile, Bergan Record) 




Forget the ARC tunnel; can you dig a gas-tax hike?


Jon Corzine could certainly afford that golden shovel. But we couldn’t afford all the projects for which he broke ground.

There was that stem cell research center in New Brunswick. I attended the groundbreaking just before the 2007 elections. After the elections, Corzine had to cancel the plan because voters had rejected funding for it.  (Mulshine, The Star Ledgar)




Keep teachers off school boards


Is it wrong, or rather, a conflict, for a fifth grade teacher to also serve as a paid municipal councilman?

Yes. So says one of the planks of Gov. Chris Christie’s ethics proposal.

But how about if that same teacher sits as an unpaid member of the local board of education?

There’s nothing wrong with that at all, at least according to the proposal the governor unveiled last week.

Does he have it backwards?  (Snowflack, Daily Record)




Bet the piggies squeal about this


The Senate Budget Committee has approved a bill to cap at $15,000 the amount of unused sick and vacation time public employees can claim on retirement or termination. That already applies to people hired after 2007. The changes would apply to future service credits for those hired before 2007 although they can still do their little piggy routine for unclaimed sick and vacation time accumulated before the law was changed. (Ingle, Asbury Park Press)



Unions putting up stiff resistance to big hammer in property tax ‘tool kit’


Vince Giordano, the overpaid director of the state teachers union, sat at the witness table in a Senate committee room Monday and predicted doom and destruction if the governor succeeds in changing the rules that allow New Jersey teachers to win cushy contracts.  (Moran, The Star Ledgar) Morning News Digest: September 14, 2001