Morning News Digest: February 21, 2011

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First map surfaces out of redistricting effort

As the debate over the new legislative districts – and control of the State House for the next decade – rages on, the first map has emerged from the bowels of the redistricting process.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Menendez calls on state to curb inmate tax abuse

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez Sunday called on state officials to work with the Internal Revenue Service in an effort to curb abuse by prisoners in the state’s penal system of the tax system.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Christie adviser mulls PAC

One of Chris Christie’s top political advisers revealed that he is considering formation of a federal political action committee because of the extraordinary interest in the New Jersey governor.  (Haberman, Politico)



Christie promises tax cuts

Gov. Chris Christie plans to present a balanced state budget Tuesday that he says will cut taxes, and others predict will lead to perhaps his toughest political battles.  (Method, Daily Journal)



State’s clout to suffer in D.C.

A ban on money for special home-state projects and the scramble to cut federal spending will make it more difficult for New Jersey lawmakers to exert the kind of influence that would benefit New Jersey, analysts say.  (Chebium, Courier-Post)



N.J. Democrats brace for budget battle with Christie

Democrats who control the Legislature gave Gov. Christie nearly everything he wanted in last year’s controversial state budget and enough votes to pass it.  (Rao, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



N.J. union workers to demonstrate at Statehouse

The New Jersey State AFL-CIO on Friday will attempt to bring to Trenton the kind of attention Wisconsin’s unionized public workers have been receiving when it holds a noon rally in support of New Jersey public workers at the Statehouse.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



Accord sough on reforms to NJ housing mandate

A new proposal for how the state should meet its affordable housing obligation should be in the Legislature early next month.  (Bowman, Asbury Park Press)



Measure would expand N.J. law on mass layoffs

Legislation that proponents say would close loopholes in New Jersey’s law regarding mass layoffs may soon go before the full Assembly.  (Shipkowski for The Associated Press)



School chiefs: Pay cap too tight

Gov. Chris Christie’s controversial salary cap on new contracts for New Jersey public school superintendents is on track to cut about 10 percent from the combined $100 million currently paid to school chiefs throughout the state.  (Jordan, New Jersey Press Media)



NJ bill to put legal notices online unlikely to come to legislative vote

A bill that would allow government agencies, businesses and citizens to post legal notices on-line rather than in newspapers won’t be coming up for a vote in the Legislature any time soon, leaders of the Senate and Assembly said Friday.  (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)



Christie still wavering on saltwater fishing registry

While Governor Chris Christie remains noncommittal about the future of a saltwater fishing registry that would allow recreational fishermen to avoid a $15 federal registration fee, backers of the bill are optimistic that Christie will sign it.  (Staff, Gannett)



The governors storm D.C.

As congressional Republicans mull whether to address the government’s long-term fiscal problems — House Republican leaders are being pushed by the 87 freshmen to do so, while some Senate Republicans are seeking some bipartisan accords with Democratic colleagues — two Republican governors barreled into Washington with the message that the lawmakers better get moving. And that congressional Republicans might do just fine politically if they do.  (Barone, National Review)



Christie loses weight with diet and exercise

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey has cut more than the state budget in his first year in office: he has also dropped a few notches in his belt.  (The Associated Press)



From the Back Room




Due to an attack by spammers who have posted hundreds of comments over the past few weeks, we are temporarily blocking the ability to post comments.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)






Democratic chief’s support could swing t o veteran or newbie in 35th

Passaic County Democratic Organization Chairman John Currie stood by Sen. John Girgenti last June after the veteran 35th Legislative District Democrat was dealt an embarrassing defeat in his hometown of Hawthorne.  (Stile, The Record)



Incentive for Revel casino will have further impact

As leaders of the business community in Atlantic City, we feel it’s important that your readers and New Jersey taxpayers understand why the state Economic Development Authority’s decision to approve a $261 million Economic Redevelopment and Growth grant for the Revel project is sound public policy.  (Kelly, NJBIZ)



Propaganda wins out in home-rule discussions

People sometimes question why little towns have huge police forces but next to no crime. Occasionally they ponder why police departments aren’t consolidated into one large county unit, allowing officers to be deployed where they’re needed.  (Ingle, Asbury Park Press)



Fear-mongering makes for bipartisan blend of tea

Sarah Palin and John Wisniewski have something in common. They both bottom-feed off of people with bigger ideas. The former Alaska governor makes headlines, not public policy. In the debate over health care reform, now permanently dubbed “Obamacare,” she helped spread the myth that the Obama administration would create death panels.  (Doblin, The Record)



In case you missed it



Christie ducks questions on Wisconsin union battle

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie shot to prominence last year by challenging public unions, but he ducked questions Friday about whether he would support Wisconsin-style legislation to weaken union power.  (Fleisher, The Wall Street Journal)



GOP lawmaker’s vote switch may be important

Six Republican senators, not seven, voted in favor of a toll-hike rollback opposed by Gov. Chris Christie, as one switched his vote shortly after it was cast and recorded Monday.  (Symons, Asbury Park Press)



Democrats in 1st District present united front as they prepare for re-election campaigns

Democrats Jeff Van Drew, Nelson Albano and Matt Milam plan to run for re-election in the 1st District in November.  (Degener, Press of Atlantic City)



Superintendent pay cap likely to save $9.8M

Governor Chris Christie’s salary cap on new contracts for New Jersey public school superintendents is on track to cut about 10 percent from the combined $100 million currently paid to school chiefs throughout the state.  (Jordan, Gannett)



Gov. Christie says budget to cut taxes

Gov. Chris Christie, rising national Republican star, plans to present a balanced state budget on Tuesday that he says will cut taxes, and others predict will lead to perhaps his toughest political battles.  (Method and Symons, Asbury Park Press)



New Jersey Governor’s Conference on Tourism set for March in Atlantic City

Tourism and travel professionals are invited to this year’s New Jersey Governor’s Conference on Tourism, set for March 23 through 25 in Atlantic City.  (Cohen, Press of Atlantic City)



Gov. Christie’ budget address is likely to expose bitter divisions

When Governor Christie delivers his budget address Tuesday, the air will be filled with financial figures. But for a fuller understanding of why Trenton politicians are bracing for a battle that could be unrivaled for sheer hostility, here are some other numbers to remember.  (Megerian and Friedman, The Record)



Month of change fosters optimism for Atlantic City

The private casino deals and government regulatory changes of recent weeks have tourism and casino industry stakeholders believing Atlantic City is in position for a turnaround.  (Previti, Press of Atlantic City)



Christie puts spotlight on MUAs

They are responsible for managing public housing, equipping firefighters, and treating the sewage that is flushed down toilets and sinks daily.  (Levinsky and Krebs, Burlington County Times)



People and Power: Democrats try to play countdown game with Christie. It backfires.

With the state’s unemployment rate dropping to 9.1 percent – after peaking in December 2009 at more than 10 percent, higher than the national average – state lawmakers have figured that talk of putting people back to work has major political impact.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Christie vetoes tax-cut efforts

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a slew of tax-cutting proposals that had been championed by Democrats as job-creation legislation and were passed with bipartisan support in the state Legislature.  (Fleisher, The Wall Street Journal)



N.J. senators seek permanent appointment for acting Essex County prosecutor

When it was announced last week that Carolyn Murray would become the new acting Essex County prosecutor, Gov. Chris Christie was effusive in his praise, calling her “an outstanding person” and a tough but compassionate prosecutor who was a “natural choice to lead” the office.  (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)



Christie adviser considers W.H. exploratory committee

One of Chris Christie’s top political advisers revealed that he is considering creating an exploratory committee for a possible White House campaign because of the extraordinary interest in the New Jersey governor.  (Haberman, Politico)



GOP content to have governor’s ear

Ask Bill Palatucci if his reputation as Gov. Chris Christie’s political godfather is deserved, and he makes a choking sound.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



Gov. Christie’s nominees for 10 vacant Highlands Council seats remain in limbo

When Gov. Chris Christie took office last year on Jan. 19, the terms of two-thirds of the Highlands Council — a powerful state panel that reviews development plans for much of northern New Jersey — had expired.  (Horowitz, The Star-Ledger)



Advocates for municipal consolidation to hold forums in Union County

A group planting the seeds of public support for local government consolidation is pushing the idea in several Union County towns.  (Hutchins, The Star-Ledger)



In 2000, PolitickerNJ emerged on the political stage, changing how New Jersey’s power elite receive their daily political fix. Starting on March 1, 2011, we’re shaking up Trenton once again. Stay tuned for State Street Wire.


Morning News Digest: February 21, 2011