Morning News Digest: January 17, 2011

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Report: Christie to keynote NRCC dinner

The New York Times is reporting that Gov. Chris Christie will be the keynote speaker at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual dinner.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Troubled by AC bill, Langford wants face time with Christie

Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford said he wants face time with Gov. Chris Christie concerning the revenue from Bader Field and the impact of a new tourism district and Casino Reinvestment Development Authority on his city.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Any White House run will wait, Christie says

Amid continued speculation about his presidential aspirations, Gov. Chris Christie denied again on Sunday that he would run in 2012, saying that he was not ready to be president. He hinted, however, that he might consider a run later on.  (Hu, The New York Times)



Christie tells Congress not to give states more

Gov. Christie on Sunday urged Republicans in Congress not to “paper over” the problems facing deficit-racked U.S. states with an additional round of stimulus spending.  (Dopp, Bloomberg)



Christie, Pawlenty call for GOP grit on Hill

Two Republican governors Sunday told their party’s incoming Congress members, elected last year on promises to cut government, that they must follow through by opposing more federal spending and increases to the debt ceiling.  (Weber, The Washington Times)



NJEA calls voucher plan $1B ‘budget buster’

The state’s largest teachers union says a bill that would provide vouchers for students to attend private schools could cost taxpayers as much as $1 billion over five years — nearly three times initial estimates — because of amendments made to the measure.  (Alex, The Record)



More autism schools proposed in New Jersey

Gov. Chris Christie has proposed creating additional specialized public schools for educating children with autism in New Jersey, a departure from the current practice in many communities of integrating those children into neighborhood schools.  (Hu, The New York Times)



Amid cuts, public colleges step up appeals to alumni

As state legislatures cut back support for higher education, public colleges and universities across the country are turning to their alumni, hat in hand, as never before — hiring consultants, hunting down graduates and mobilizing student phone banks to raise private money in amounts they once thought impossible.  (Foderaro, The New York Times)



Bill upgrading jobless claims website OK’d

New Jersey’s unemployment insurance website may soon be getting an upgrade.

The state Legislature recently passed a measure mandating that the Labor Department rework the site so jobless residents can access claims information anytime.  (Shipkowski, Courier-Post)



Announcement expected soon on Christie’s plans for alternative energy source after Oyster Creek nuclear plant closes

After signing three bills nearly two weeks ago that are designed to protect Barnegat Bay, Gov. Chris Christie said an announcement is forthcoming on how the state plans to replace the energy that the Oyster Creek nuclear plant produces after its scheduled 2019 closing.  (Spahr, Press of Atlantic City)



Christie still has options when it comes to eliminating horse-racing subsidies

As Gov. Chris Christie considers whether to sign into law two major bills aimed at revitalizing Atlantic City, political observers wonder whether he is planning a veto maneuver that could withhold millions meant to help the state’s horse-racing industry.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Will NJ medical pot law go up in smoke?

The terminally ill’s lack of access to medical marijuana is one of the worries of a state senator who is trying to force Gov. Chris Christie’s administration to change proposed regulations of the drug.  (Jordan, Daily Record)



Gun advocates take aim at New Jersey restrictions

New Jersey has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, but they were unable to prevent Friday’s shooting death of a police officer in Lakewood, an author of books on the state’s firearm restrictions points out.  (Jordan, Daily Record)



Camden, N.J., braces for police, firefighter layoffs

On Tuesday, officials in Camden, N.J. — a city that ranks high in crime and poverty — are planning to cut almost 400 workers, nearly half of them police officers and firefighters. 

With fewer city workers fighting crimes and fires, some residents worry life will be more dangerous.  (Fiedler, NPR)



Washington Township struggles with effects of Christie’s budget

Washington Township resident Cecilia McHale voted for Gov. Christie, and she’s glad she did.

She said she thinks Christie can come off as brusque and a little hard-charging, but added, “I think, principally, he wants the right things, and he’s honest.”  (Rao, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



From the Back Room



Orlando gone from Turnpike Authority

Turnpike Authority spokesman Joe Orlando was one of ten people laid off this week in a Transportation Department play made “purely for budgetary reasons,” according to media coordinator Tom Feeney.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)






Put teachers on the table, not in the trash

Governor Christie came to Paramus last week and, like anyone coming to Paramus, he came to shop. But the governor was not shopping for something; he came to shop his ideas for education reform.  (Doblin, The Record)



When do we deal with real school problems?

The state Supreme Court quickly appointed a special master to determine whether school aid cuts are hampering the state constitution’s mandate for a “thorough and efficient system” of education in the so-called Abbotts. Too bad he can’t take a look at what’s really holding the kids back.  (Ingle, Daily Record)



In case you missed it



N.J. Gov. Christie discusses tone of political debate on Sunday morning talk show

Gov. Chris Christie advised Congressional Republicans to take a page from his playbook, talked about the tone of political debate and denied, again, that he’s running for president in 2012, in an interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace this morning.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



Now a Trenton insider, Christie faces new challenges

As a toned-down Gov. Christie, wearing the blue and orange of his beloved Mets, gave his first State of the State address Tuesday, two things already had begun to change.  (Burton, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



N.J. GOP is accepting donations from group not legally bound to publicly disclose its contributors

Private donors are helping Republicans bankroll their efforts to revise political maps that could determine which party controls the Legislature and the New Jersey delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives over the next decade, but the public may never know who they are.  (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)



Six months in, Gov. Chris Christie’s budget holding up

Governor Christie’s first state budget is in good shape after six months, with revenue collections beating estimates by nearly 5 percent heading into the second half of the fiscal year.  (Reitmeyer, The Record)



Business tax cut to be included in Gov. Christie’s budget this year

A tax break for New Jersey businesses will be included in the budget Gov. Chris Christie will present next month, he said in an interview that aired today on Fox News.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



Is Democratic alternative to pension reform viable option?

Ronald Zilinski, a retired finance director for the City of Trenton, has quietly advocated for months that the state break up its massive pension system, the 15th largest in the country.  (Method, Asbury Park Press)



Is NJ’s unemployment program too generous?

Speaking on a panel before a group of business leaders last month, Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce must have thought his remarks that the state’s unemployment benefits were too generous would resonate with the audience.  (Diamond, Asbury Park Press)



Gossip or rhetoric?

Gov. Christie took office a year ago this week, vowing to turn Trenton upside down.

In many ways, the former prosecutor has done just that, dictating the state’s agenda and putting New Jersey firmly on the nationa
l political map with his tough talk of fiscal responsibility.  (Lu, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



New Jersey tax collections 4.5% above projections

New Jersey’s tax revenue exceeded projections by 4.5 percent in the first half of the current fiscal year as income levies surged 11 percent above estimates, the treasurer said.  (Dopp, Bloomberg)



N.J. broadcasting authority approves $2.1M budget for NJN

Members of a re-constituted board of the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority met for the first time today and approved a three-month budget for New Jersey Network that includes $2.1 million in new state aid.  (McGlone, The Star-Ledger)



Concilation in Tuscon, Trenton; but fights part of the job

Public officials across the country last week agonized over the angry tone of modern politics in the wake of the mass shooting that gravely injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



Central Jersey stimulus money: A look at how it has been used

At Rutgers University’s Busch campus in Piscataway, technicians are preparing DNA samples for storage in a large metallic tank of liquid nitrogen.  (Burd, Home News Tribune)



Tunnel cost ballooned; Analysis supports Christie’s projection

Federal documents and a financial analysis obtained by the Asbury Park Press tell the tale of a Hudson River rail tunnel project that would have run off the fiscal
tracks, until Gov. Chris Christie pulled the emergency brake cord.  (Higgs, Asbury Park Press)



Lawmakers duck gun control

Of the handful of legislative responses to this month’s tragic mass shooting that killed six and nearly claimed one of Congress’s own, a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., is the toughest.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



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: January 17, 2011