Morning News Digest: April 28, 2011



Morning News Digest: April 28, 2011


By Missy Rebovich

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Budget votes: less heated than last year

Several contentious school board races highlight the ballots in this year’s school elections, but overall the tone is very different from a year ago, when newly elected Gov. Chris Christie took his newfound power for a spin.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Voters in two towns OK overspending cap

Voters in Brick and Lambertville have approved referendums that will allow budgets in those township to exceed the 2 percent cap on levy increases approved by the legislature last year.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Voters across N.J. approve school budgets in greater numbers than last year

One year after New Jerseyans rejected school budgets in record numbers, leading to major cuts in classrooms across the state, voters appeared to deliver better news to their local districts today, approving a majority of the spending packages put before them.  (Calefati and Rundquist, The Star-Ledger)



Christie to discuss education plan ABC’s at Harvard

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will air his education plans in another high-level academic setting.  (The Associated Press)



Poll: We like N.J., but don’t trust state government

New Jerseyans generally have a positive view of their state as a place to live, though the number calling it excellent or good is at the lowest level in 30 years of polling on the question.  (Symons, Gannett)|head



The Garden State goes for local school budgets

Local school budgets last night appeared to be winning voter approval in sizable numbers across the state, a year after nearly three in five budgets were rejected by New Jersey voters, a record-setting year.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Parsippany school budget passes, despite Christie’s criticism

The K-12 school budget, which Gov. Chris Christie’s administration initially threatened to reject because of Superintendent Lee Seitz’s disputed contract extension, was approved by township voters Wednesday.  (Jennings, Gannett)



State may take over UEZ loan program

The state may pick up the reins of an urban enterprise zone revolving-loan program that is set to end, the head of the state Department of Community Affairs said Wednesday.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Moody’s Investors Service downgrades N.J. state government’s bond rating

The bond rating for New Jersey’s state government has been downgraded one step to Aa3, the fourth-highest level, by Moody’s Investors Service, which cited a “weakened financial position” and an economic recovery lagging behind the nation.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



Moody’s downgrades NJ transportation bonds

Moody’s Investors Service downgraded $600 million in bonds to be sold for New Jersey’s transportation infrastructure program next week.  (Method, Gannett)



Economists: N.J. economy gaining traction

New Jersey’s economy is gaining traction and becoming more competitive in its bid to attract jobs, Rutgers University researchers said Wednesday.  (Diamond, Gannett)



President Obama raises cash with Jon Corzine

President Barack Obama was feted at a high-dollar fundraiser at former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s home Wednesday evening, dining with a small group of New York power elites including Kerry Kennedy, socialite Patricia Duff and financier Bernard Schwartz, sources told POLITICO.  (Haberman, Politico)



Runyan abroad with delegation

U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan, R-N.J., is traveling in Eurasia with a congressional delegation this week, his office confirmed Wednesday.  (Roh, Gannett)



Addiego backs Lewis ruling

State Sen. Dawn Marie Addiego said Wednesday she’s happy Carl Lewis is eager to give back to the community, but wonders how knowledgeable the Olympian is about the most pressing issues in New Jersey.  (Roh, Gannett)|head



Judge orders N.J. officials to show why Carl Lewis should be barred from ballots

A federal judge Wednesday ordered Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, state Attorney General Paula T. Dow and the three county clerks within the 8th Legislative District to show why Democratic state Senate candidate Carl Lewis should not be included on mail-in primary election ballots scheduled to be sent out Thursday.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



New law eases municipal consolidation

Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation Wednesday that will ease municipal consolidation, opening the door for further study of a Cherry Hill-Merchantville merger.  (Cooney, Gannett)



N.J. historic sites in line for share of $10M in state aid

The state Historic Trust Board of Trustees Wednesday recommended 58 historic preservation projects for funding, assuring them a share of more than $10 million in state aid.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



New Jersey toll collection decision may be near

The final showdown and a possible decision on whether to privatize cash toll collections on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway is scheduled for Friday afternoon.  (Higgs, Gannett)



NJ gets $52M in grants for fire departments

Five months after layoffs were threatened and retiring firefighters weren’t replaced, the mood was buoyant Wednesday at the announcement of a $7 million federal grant that will allow Newark to hire up to 70 firefighters over the next two years.  (Porter, The Associated Press)



State vows to take fight for new power plants to U.S. Supreme Court

The dispute over high energy prices in New Jersey is likely to get a whole lot more contentious in the next few months.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



Many turn out at rally to end NJ’s participation in regional cap and trade agreement

Scores of residents were out in force last week at Chris Ridge Service on Park Avenue in Rutherford to express their support at a rally held by New Jersey State Senator Paul Sarlo and members of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) opposing New Jersey’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional coalition of mid-Atlantic and northeastern states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  (O’Keefe, South Bergenite)



Planned Parenthood leader pays visit to S.J.

Fresh from mobilizing a battle to maintain federal funding for Planned Parenthood of America and being named one of the top 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine, Cecile Richards came to South Jersey Wednesday to preach to the choir.  (Stilwell, Gannett)




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After credit rating downgrade, Cryan criticizes Christie

In the wake of Moody’s decision Wednesday to downgrade the state’s bond rating, Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan, (D-20), Union placed the blame on the Christie administration.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



In shared services fencing match with Grifa, Sarlo envokes Charlie Sheen and keeps toolkit discussion going

“Do you think this is a do-nothing Legislature?” Senate Budget Chairman Paul Sarlo, (D-36), of Wood-Ridge, asked Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Lori Grifa during her testimony before his panel Wednesday.  (Carroll, State Street Wire)



GOP senators attack Dems over sick-leave payouts

Five Republican members of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Wednesday asked the Democrats to stop defending the continuation of large sick-leave payouts to public employees.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Islamic congregation files suit over mosque-site denial

An Islamic group, the Al Falah Center, has filed a lawsuit against Bridgewater Township in Somerset County, seeking to compel the town to allow Al Falah to move forward with plans to renovate an existing building so it could be used as a mosque and community center.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



From the Back Room 



Corzine hosts Obama tonight

The first of three Manhattan fundraising events former Gov. Jon Corzine is hosting for President Barack Obama is scheduled for tonight.   (Staff, PolitickerNJ)



Must Read: Obama releases birth certificate

The Associated Press is reporting that the president today produced his long sought birth certificate, an “extraordinary effort” to put claims that he was born in Kenya to bed.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)






Owe is me: Christie lags in bill payments

Gov. Chris Christie appears to have changed his policy on out-of-state travel expenses, while records show he continues to owe the state for personal expenses on business trips taken last fall.  (Rosen, Gannett)



Snow’s quiet courage a lesson for McGreevey

Phoebe Snow and Jim McGreevey are as different as jazz and disco.

One is a pop singer, the other a politician. But, as we learned this week, they had something in common.  (Kelly, The Record)



Residents of this village have to destroy it in order to save it

Earlier this month we saw what happened when the geniuses in Trenton redrew the legislative districts. A monkey with a Magic Marker could have done a better job.  (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)



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Morning News Digest: April 28, 2011