Morning News Digest: February 8, 2011

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Another 71 sewerage workers down the drain

Gov. Chris Christie announced another 71 employees were terminated today at the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, another sweep in his continued fight against public authorities that lack government oversight.  (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)



Christie on tunnels, cable bills, batting averages, and Illinois

When the biggest transportation project in the country, the ARC tunnel, was canceled last year, its champions called it the most important infrastructure project in a generation, gone.  (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)



Gov. Christie calls law designed to help low-income senior citizens, disabled pay cable TV bills ‘dumb’

Gov. Chris Christie today called a five-year-old law designed to help low-income senior citizens and disabled people pay their cable TV bills “a dumb idea,” saying there was no way the state can afford it in such dire economic times.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



Christie: Unions need to give

Gov. Chris Christie said Monday a proposed countywide police and fire service in Camden County was not ideal, but indicated intransigent unions were forcing government’s hand.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



Report: NJ pension crisis only to get worse

Governor Chris Christie said Monday that a report that says the state’s pension crisis will get worse in the next several years further demonstrates the need to reduce public workers’ benefits.  (Method, Asbury Park Press)



Christie: Cut benefits to fix pension fund

Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that a report that says the state’s pension crisis will get worse in the next several years further demonstrates the need to reduce public workers’ benefits.  (Method, New Jersey Press Media)



N.J. Assembly, Senate Republicans propose pension reform bills

Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to drastically change the state’s troubled pension system was introduced by Republicans lawmakers Monday, but Democrats who control the Legislature indicated they’ll push their own plan instead.  (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)



Budget cuts threaten NJ public safety, officials tell senators

New Jersey towns are scrambling to soften the impact the fiscal crisis facing all levels of government is having on public safety, with more than 2,500 police layoffs and retirements being tallied statewide in recent budget cycles and hundreds more positions expected to go dark this year.  (Jordan, Asbury Park Press)



Affordable-housing deal eludes N.J. officials

After Jean Siciliano lost her job as a purchasing agent during a corporate downsizing in 2009, she feared she could no longer afford to raise her teenage son in Evesham. 

She stayed in the suburb because a nonprofit agency approved her for a spacious apartment in a new housing development on Sharp Road for $658 in monthly rent.  (Rao, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Lautenberg and Menendez offer trans-Hudson tail tunnel plan

New Jersey’s two Democratic senators, Frank R. Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, have been trying to revive the idea of a trans-Hudson train tunnel ever since Gov. Chris Christie upset them by halting construction on the one that New Jersey Transit started to build last year.  (McGeehan, The New York Times)



N.J. Sen. Raymond Lesniak vows to introduce new affordable housing bill after Christie’s veto

A proposal to reform affordable housing rules in New Jersey is on the drawing board — again.  (DeMarco, The Star-Ledger)



Senate committee criticizes N.J. health commissioner’s absence, progress on enforcing laws

Frustrated that Health and Senior Services Commissioner Poonam Alaigh declined to testify before the Senate health committee Monday, Chairwoman Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) said she would call a hearing based on the commissioner’s schedule to discuss why a handful of laws have not been implemented.  (Livio, The Record)



Sen. Menendez visits Perth Amboy company to support tariff repeal

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, D-N.J., is seeking the support of a bipartisan group of sponsors to introduce a bill that will repeal the tariff paid by a Perth Amboy custom shirt manufacturing company and other businesses that import fabrics.  (Russell, Gannett)



DRPA citizen advisors chosen

The Delaware River Port Authority has chosen 24 citizens — 12 from New Jersey and 12 from Pennsylvania — to form its first citizens advisory committee.  (Stilwell, Courier-Post)



Moody’s says finished Revel project could spark Atlantic City gaming industry, enhance convention competition

A Wall Street credit ratings company says the Revel casino project will boost the ailing Atlantic City market but could ignite stiff competition among the gaming industry for conventions.  (Wittkowski, Press of Atlantic City)



Christie makes it clear: Carver will not remain CRDA head

Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that he does not want Thomas Carver to remain at the helm of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Camden City Council to reconsider tax increase

Camden City Council will hear public comment tonight on an amended budget that increases the amount the city can collect from taxpayers to bring back public safety positions lost to layoffs last month.  (Murray, Courier-Post)



Jersey City officials working to award $120,000 no-bid contract to company that donated to Mayor Healy and two City Council members

Jersey City officials are seeking to award a no-bid contract of up to $120,000 to a city company whose owner has contributed to the campaigns of Mayor Jerramiah Healy and several City Council members.  (McDonald, The Jersey Journal)



Group to study need to veterans hospital

Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation Monday creating a task force to study the need for a veterans hospital in South Jersey.  (Staff, Courier-Post)



State releases new school data

New Jersey’s high school scores are improving. Middle school scores took a dip. And take your pick on the direction of elementary school achievement, which often depended on the grade.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



New Jersey coastal waters designated wind energy area

With the aim of expediting development of offshore wind farms, the federal government yesterday designated 417 miles of coastal waters in New Jersey as Wind Energy Areas, a move that should tighten the timeframe for approval of projects.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)






Legal ads legislation might be more about political pressure than local savings

Politicians, furious or frightened by their hometown newspaper’s coverage, often call the publisher and issue an ultimatum: Call off the watchdogs or risk losing advertising from local governments.  (Stile, The Record)



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Morning News Digest: February 8, 2011