Morning News Digest: December 27, 2010

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Christie: Skip the New Year’s resolutions

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he’s done making New Year’s resolutions because, like most of us, he has trouble keeping them.  (The Associated Press)



Killing tunnel work get Christie noticed

Canceling the $9.7 billion Access To the Region’s Core tunnel project helped catapult Gov. Chris Christie into the national spotlight and prompted other state officials to look at whether they could afford big-ticket projects started with federal money, said national transportation experts.  (Higgs, Courier-Post)



Some N.J. towns grumbling over new ‘Best Practices’ checklist

The 2011 to-do list for many struggling New Jersey municipalities just got a whole lot longer.  (Hefler, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Democrats stance promoting pro-business bills is a turnaround from past

A year ago, it seemed unlikely that New Jersey’s Democratic leaders would vigorously champion a sizable package of bills giving tax breaks, incentives and other benefits to help business.  (Morely, The Record)



New Jersey colleges hire 1,600 employees, despite funding cuts

Despite cuts in state aid, New Jersey’s public four-year colleges have hired more than 1,600 new employees during the past five years.  (D’Amico, Press of Atlantic City)



Proposed New Jersey laws help victims of domestic abuse

State lawmakers have advanced legislation that creates a limited self-defense justification for domestic-violence victims who use force to protect themselves.  (Shipkowski for The Associated Press)



Hoboken Republicans take swipe at Sen. Menendez over letter to Santa Claus concerning global warming

The Hoboken Republican Club has taken a shot at their neighbor Sen. Robert Menendez over Menendez’s letter last week to Santa Claus.  (Schmidt, The Jersey Journal)



3 Case studies for governing in hard times

They’re not exactly a matched set, but when life as we know it resumes after the New Year, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will have a lot in common.  (Applebome, The New York Times)






Public teacher talks not contagious

A few months ago, the Mount Olive Board of Education proposed negotiating a new contract with its teachers’ union in public. Whether that will happen remains to be seen, but you have to admire the board’s thinking.  (Snowflack, Daily Record)



Excellent point over at Conservative New Jersey

With both Chris Christie and Kim Guadagno out of the state, Acting Governor Steve Sweeney could have both declared the state Senate to be in recess and reappointed Justice Wallace as a recess appointment.  (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)



In case you missed it



Gov. Christie’s first year in office has had impact on New Jerseyans

Any governor is at the center of a state’s political universe, but it’s difficult to imagine one thrusting himself in less than a year into the middle of more conversations than New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie.  (Symons, Asbury Park Press)



Trenton officials acted more nasty than nice as Christmas approached

Christmas preparations in Trenton came wrapped in political sniping and stalling, as lawmakers struggled to pass a few stocking-stuffer accomplishments to end the year well.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Christie not afraid to show his power

Gov. Chris Christie said back in January, as governor-elect, that the state would see “any number of times over the next four years” the limits of the vast powers afforded a New Jersey governor, and he hasn’t shied from using the tools at his disposal.  (Symons, Courier-Post)



Democrat Sweeney will be in charge while Gov. Christie vacations

Santa left presents under the tree this morning for two New Jersey politicians — the Christie family is headed to Disney World and a Democrat gets to be governor for a few days.  (Gibson and Friedman, The Record)



Congress banks on sideline salaries

Their full-time job titles are “representative” or “senator,” but most members of North Jersey’s delegation in Washington make more than their congressional salaries by being landlords and investors.  (Jackson, The Record)



Funding for Atlantic City tourism district still unclear despite legislative progress

As state officials continue to work to create a tourism district in Atlantic City, it has become less and less clear how the district would be funded.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Christie, Sweeney standoff heightens politicization of N.J. top court

By the time delegates gathered to rewrite New Jersey’s constitution after World War II, the state’s court system was in a rut, considered by some the worst part of an already troubled government.  (Megerian, The Record)



Three N.J. districts struggle to regain control of schools from state despite problematic statute

With a series of takeovers from 1989 to 1995, New Jersey seized control of its three biggest school districts in a bid to stamp out local corruption and financial mismanagement.  (Masarenhas and Calefati, The Star-Ledger)



2nd Amendment hero? You may want to hold your fire

Gov. Chris Christie’s first commutation was granted to a Mount Laurel man sentenced to seven years on widely criticized gun charges.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



Are Jerseyans overtaxed for everything?

Is it fair to size up New Jersey based on property taxes alone?

When looking at all the taxes residents and businesses must pay, does the Garden State tax too much?  (Shamlin, Asbury Park Press)



Funds to feed seniors on rise

Sharp and sudden spending cuts have made New Jersey the subject of national headlines.

But one area that hasn’t been touched by Gov. Chris Christie’s budget ax is spending on services for fixed-income seniors.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



U.S. Attorney’s Office in N.J. nets $69M in fines and forfeitures

The U.S. Department of Justice had a banner year in collecting money in civil and criminal cases in Fiscal Year 2010, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey contributing $69 million toward a total of $6.68 billion nationwide in criminal and civil fines and forfeitures, officials said.  (Hopkins, Asbury Park Press)



The Bryant dynasty near the end of a long run in Lawnside

In Lawnside, it’s impossible to escape the Bryant name.

It’s on road signs and the local community center, evidence of the family’s long political history, which dates to at least the 1920s.  (Osborne, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Plumsted mayor may step down in spring

Mayor Ronald S. Dancer says he may step down from the Township Committee before his term on the panel ends in 2011.  (Loder, Asbury Park Press)



New Jersey 2010: A year at the Statehouse, or movies

For The Auditor, 2010 has played out like a great motion picture. As that deep-voiced guy you hear in the movie trailers would say: “In a world chock-full of bold characters, plot twists, confrontation, funny moments, a new leading man and enough action-packed talk to make Arnold Schwarzenegger blush, the Statehouse was transformed into a 200-year-old multiplex as the stars of Jersey politics were overheard uttering lines we’ve all heard before on the silver screen.”  (The Auditor, The Star-Ledger)



In 2000, (now entered the political stage, changing how New Jersey’s power elite received its daily political fix. Starting in January 2011, we’re shaking up Trenton once again. Stay tuned for State Street Wire.

  Morning News Digest: December 27, 2010