Morning News Digest: May 18, 2011

Morning News Digest: Wednesday, May 18, 2011

By Missy Rebovich

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Monmouth Poll: the more voters hear of Christie, the less they approve

Gov. Chris Christie stands at 47% approve to 49% disapprove among all state residents, a downturn since the last poll issued by Monmouth University/NJ Press Media Poll. Among registered voters, according to a poll to be released Wednesday, the Republican governor has a 46% positive to 49% negative job rating.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)



Sweeney, pension reform, the GOP, and his prospects for another leadership term

When Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) made a 2009 power play to dethrone Dick Codey from the rostrum, he told people he could lean on GOP votes in a pinch to take down Codey, but didn’t want to do it that way. Now the threat of using those cross-the-aisle votes makes him a no-brainer player to lock up the leadership position again.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Christie to hold Monroe town hall meeting

Governor Christie will hold a town hall meeting Wednesday in Monroe Township, his 17th public forum of the year.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



Christie keeps saying no to a presidential race but Republicans keep calling

So many people want to talk to Gov. Chris Christie about the 2012 presidential campaign that he probably could not drop the subject if he wanted to.  (Pérez-Peña, The New York Times)



Found money: Officials argue about budget windfall

The annual Battle of the Budget yesterday turned into the Battle of the Bulge, as the Christie administration and legislative budget experts sparred over just how big an increase in state income tax revenue New Jersey could expect from the hundreds of millions of dollars earned by Garden State millionaires in the recent Wall Street recovery – and over how to spend it.  (Magyar, NJ Spotlight)



What N.J.’s latest revenue forecast means for taxpayers

Governor Christie wants to spend more on property tax relief and pension fund payments — just a year after cutting both to balance the state budget — thanks to a rebounding economy and higher tax revenues.  (Reitmeyer, The Record)



Lewis holds off on interviews, platform

Carl Lewis is still in it to win it, as the cliche goes. But 8th Legislative District voters will have a wait longer to get a closer look at the Democratic Senate candidate.  (Roh, Gannett)



Another blast at proposal on beach access

The state’s proposed new beach-access regulations took a beating Tuesday for the second week in a row, with residents speaking out at a hearing in Atlantic County against a plan that would give towns a much greater say in deciding how much access was appropriate for them.  (Parry, The Associated Press)



Another no-show for much-delayed Energy Master Plan

Don’t bother showing up for Friday’s initial hearing on the state’s Energy Master Plan. It’s been cancelled once again, as the Christie administration struggles to revise it in the wake of nuclear disaster in Japan and its own thwarted efforts to build new power plants in New Jersey.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



Hearing on Vineland Developmental Center heats up

Anger, fear and utter concern convinced more than 250 people to speak up about the proposed closure of the Vineland Developmental Center during a nearly four-hour hearing Tuesday.  (Funderburk, Gannett)



Few tickets written for teens who don’t display decals

The little red decal which has some people seeing red is being ignored by both by teens and police.

The law that requires teen drivers to display a decal on their license plates to alert police they have a Graduated Driver’s License is generally not being enforced, according to law enforcement and court officials. Some teenagers are also being told by parents not to display the sticker for fear of being harassed.  (Higgs, Gannett)



Call to downsize county cops

A law enforcement consolidation report conducted by a private consulting firm recommends that Bergen County downsize or eliminate its police department, privatize some county security guard duties and make the county medical examiner’s office a civilian agency.  (Gartland, The Record)



Camden County moves toward 8% increase in its property-tax rate

The Camden County Board of Freeholders gave preliminary approval Tuesday to an 8 percent increase in the county’s property-tax rate for 2011, after having laid off more than 250 employees this year.  (Osborne, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



GOP elite see Mitch Daniels as 2012 savior

Top Republicans are increasingly convinced that President Barack Obama will be easily reelected if stronger GOP contenders do not emerge, and some are virtually begging Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to add some excitement to the slow-starting nomination race.  (Allen, Politico)



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Treasurer cites previous corporate tax overpayments for softness this year

State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff believes the “soft” corporate business tax revenues that led to the state projecting lower numbers from this point on could largely be because of overpayments in the prior year.  (Hassan, State Street Wire)



Treasurer recommends boosting Homestead credits with income tax windfall

Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff gave a hint into the thinking of the Christie administration Tuesday when he told the Assembly Budget committee that a boost in projected income tax revenue is not a license to begin spending.  (Hassan, State Street Wire)



Education Law Center seeks changes to charter school law

In the wake of a Trenton charter school’s recent closure, The Education Law Center Tuesday proposed 10 changes it believes will improve the state’s charter school law.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Lawmakers scrutinize work force costs as Vineland center faces closure

State Sen. Jeff Van Drew, (D-1), Dennis Township, asked Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez Tuesday what would be the biggest factor in the estimated $30 million savings the state is expected to realize by 2014 by closing the Vineland Developmental Center.  (Carroll, State Street Wire)



From the Back Room



Politics, old school

On Thursday, the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey’s Trenton War Memorial Annex will present “New Jersey and the Politics of the Civil War,” the first in a series of lunchtime presentations.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)






Will N.J. pot laws withstand federal scrutiny?

Curiouser and curiouser. |Skeptics accused Chris Christie of sabotaging a plan to let medical patients use marijuana for debilitating pain.  (Ahearn, The Record)



NJEA offers revised history on one tax

When Gov. Chris Christie took his town hall road show to a Washington audience recently, the message was the same as here: Teacher unions are the biggest stumbling block to education reform. Back home, the New Jersey Education Association was proving him right.  (Ingle, Gannett)



Codey: I will give $500 to charity if fake Tweeter comes out

Sen. Dick Codey wants you to know he does so have a sense of humor. But whoever’s behind that fake Twitter account is a total bastard. Also, don’t forget to buy his book!  (Roh, Gannett)

  Morning News Digest: May 18, 2011