Morning News Digest: May 19, 2011

Morning News Digest: Thursday, May 19, 2011

By Missy Rebovich

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In Middlesex, Christie invokes ex-power broker Lynch

With six-term Mayor Richard Pucci sitting in camera view behind him, Gov. Chris Christie discredited long-timers and dual office holders.    (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Eyeballing revenue intake uptick, Christie targets pension system and property tax rebates

Addressing what he wants to do with unforseen revenues, Gov. Chris Christie said he would put roughly $250 million into the pension system and another $225 million toward property tax rebates.   (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Gov. Christie claims credit for tax windfall, but others disagree

Gov. Chris Christie took credit Wednesday for an unexpected surge in state revenue, although an independent expert and the state treasurer attributed the windfall to rising incomes among the state’s wealthier taxpayers.  (DeMarco and Renshaw, The Star-Ledger)



Gov Christie gets earful from residents at town hall meeting

While Gov. Chris Christie intended Wednesday’s town hall meeting here to focus on his reform agenda, attendees had an agenda of their own: Confronting the state’s top elected official over the disparity in Monroe’s school state aid funding.  (Prato, Gannett)



Chris Christie approval sags back home in New Jersey

He’s getting a ton of love from the national Republican elite, but Chris Christie’s approval ratings at home are softening, according to a new poll.  (Haberman, Politico)



Christie’s proposed income limits would cut Medicaid for working poor

Adults in a family of three that makes as little as $103 a week would earn too much to qualify for health care provided by Medicaid under a sharply curtailed program Gov. Chris Christie wants the federal government to approve this year, according to state officials and advocates briefed on the proposal.  (Livio, The Star-Ledger)



Court rejects challenge to Oyster Creek license renewal

A federal appeals court on Wednesday declined to review the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s license renewal of Exelon Corp.’s Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey.  (Maykuth, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Bill would cut Casino Control Commission to three members

State lawmakers will consider shrinking the Casino Control Commission from five members to three, under a bill proposal that will be discussed in the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee Thursday.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Lautenberg: $30M on way for beaches

The federal government will provide almost $30 million to upgrade beaches at South Jersey shore towns, a federal legislator said Wednesday.  (Gannett)



Lance speaks about economy at Edison Chamber forum

Mandatory spending is leading to a cliff over which the nation will fall, Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., told about 85 members of the Edison Chamber of Commerce during its third economic forum Wednesday at Pines Manor.  (Makin, Gannett)|head



State aid for special education: The underfunding continues

The law came out of New Jersey’s previous school-funding formula in the 1990’s, a way for the state to provide local districts with help for some of their steepest bills: so-called extraordinary special education costs.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Morris legislators ponder windfall

Morris County state legislators are approaching an unexpected projected increase of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state with caution, but most agree on one thing: If any money is going to be spent at all, it should go toward reducing taxes.  (Roman, Gannett)|head



Authority approves $1 rise in bridge toll

The Delaware River and Bay Authority has approved a $1 increase to the toll at the Delaware Memorial Bridge, a spokesman said.  (Gannett)



Bordentown City struggling with Ocean Spray’s move

In Bordentown City, known for its popular cranberry festival, the decision by Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. to move its plant to Pennsylvania, far from the bogs, has left a bitter aftertaste.  (Hefler, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Booing interrupts Lt. gov at William Paterson

More than 100 graduates and some spectators stood and turned their backs when Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno gave the keynote commencement address Wednesday to William Paterson University’s Class of 2011, part of an organized protest against state funding cuts to higher education.  (Jordan, Gannett)|head



Adoptees await Christie’s call on records

Adult adoptees in New Jersey who want to find their biological parents are hoping that a three-decade battle in the Legislature over giving them access to their birth records will end with a stroke of Gov. Chris Christie’s pen.  (Lederman, Gannett)



Newark schools superintendent Cami Anderson delays opening of new schools

In her first directive as Newark superintendent, Cami Anderson said today she will delay the opening of several new schools that were scheduled to enroll their first students in September.  (Calefati and Giambusso, The Star-Ledger)



No new contract for charter school chief

The director of Camden County’s first suburban charter school will not return there next fall.  (Rothschild, Gannett)



Environmentalists demand Christie safeguard wetlands, forests near Barnegat Bay

On the heels of a report that the health of Barnegat Bay continues to degrade, an environmental group today stepped up pressure on Gov. Chris Christie to impose more safeguards for the surrounding areas.  (Spoto, The Star-Ledger)



New delays in Highlands power line could drive up congestion, prices

A new delay in a controversial high-voltage power line threatens to increase congestion on the regional electric power grid, an event that could end up costing consumers more than $400 million over the next two years, and possibly more beyond — according to state and utility officials.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



New mayor named by Old Bridge panel

After selecting a sitting councilman to fill the vacant mayoral seat and then bringing a new member to the council, the Township Council on Monday approved a change to the town’s health benefits policy to encourage employees to retire so the town can leave positions vacant to help close a projected budget gap.  (Remaly, Gannett)



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Proposed teacher evaluation reform will draw Senate committee attention

 A controversial aspect of the administration’s education reform agenda gets a hearing Thursday.  (Hassan, State Street Wire)



Highlands nominee slated to appear before Judiciary

A nominee to the Highlands Planning Council whose appointment environmentalists oppose is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Thursday.  (Mooney, State Street Wire)



Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield withdraws application to become for-profit

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield has withdrawn its application to switch from a non-profit to a for-profit health insurer.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



N.J. League of Municipalities wants additional revenue channeled toward property tax relief

The N.J. League of Municipalities recommends that the hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenue now anticipated by Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff and Office of Legislative Services budget officer David Rosen should go toward property tax relief.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



From the Back Room



Him, Governor?

In case you missed it, this was Sen. Dick Codey’s contribution to last night’s Legislative Correspondents Club dinner.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)






Credits just a ruse for lawmakers to buy votes

So what do legislators, drooling over an unexpected $500 million to $900 million in tax revenues, plan to do with their good fortune? Use it to buy votes.  (Stile, The Record)



George Norcross responds to Dick Codey’s mocking video

The Silver Lion is nothing if not pithy.

Former Gov. Dick Codey’s contribution to last night’s legislative correspondents dinner was a video of him leading a tour of school kids through the State House. The senator from Essex explains that George Norcross, New Jersey’s most influential Democrat, is even more powerful than Gov. Chris Christie.  (Roh, Gannett)



How many times can we solve the same problem?

It’s only rarely that I find myself in complete agreement with our governor. But I completely agree with his recent observation that the proposal to permit towns to impose local income taxes is “a monumentally stupid idea.”  (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)



We like Obama

President Obama is doing well according to the latest Monmouth University/NJ Press Media Poll. He gets a 60 percent approval in his job rating as opposed to 35 percent who disapprove of his performance for all residents. It is 60-36 percent among registered voters.  (Ingle, Gannett) Morning News Digest: May 19, 2011