Morning News Digest: May 25, 2011

Morning News Digest: Wednesday, May 25, 2011

By Missy Rebovich

Try State Street Wire, Follow PolitickerNJ on Twitter and Facebook. Text “PNJ” to 89800 to receive alerts


Gov: Constitutional ball in legislature’s court

In a press conference, Gov. Chris Christie today called the state Supreme Court’s ruling on Abbott v. Burke “disappointing but not unexpected,” and underscored his own opinion that it is not the role of the court to dictate policy.  (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)



Lesniak: Court ruling makes millionaire’s tax imperative

Running for re-election in a Democratic Primary, veteran state Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-20) said today’s state Supreme Court ruling to additionally fund urban Abbott School districts requires a reup of the so-called millionaire’s tax.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Political expert: Christie has wiggle room with closeness of court ruling, but finally faces tough decision

Given the closeness of the Supreme Court decision today and one affirming judge’s concurring opinion with one portion of a dissenting opinion, Gov. Chris Christie has sufficient political room to maneuver.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Christie’s popularity declines in new poll

A new poll finds Gov. Chris Christie’s popularity taking a hit with registered New Jersey voters.  (Staff, Gannett)|topnews|text|State



Court orders New Jersey to increase aid to schools

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a major piece of Gov. Chris Christie’s cost-cutting was unconstitutional and ordered lawmakers to raise spending for poor, urban schools by $500 million next year, despite a state budget shortfall estimated at $10 billion.  (Pérez-Peña and Hu, The New York Times)



Court sparks budget fight

An opinion by a divided state Supreme Court on Tuesday sets up a state budget confrontation between a Republican governor who vows not to raise taxes and a Democratic-controlled state Legislature seeking to funnel even more money to local schools.  (Method, Gannett)



Christie tells Cherry Hill town he will comply with school-funding order

Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday said a state Supreme Court ruling handed down that morning would drive up taxes statewide.  (Roh, Gannett)



Sweeney welcomes responsibility with Abbott decision to add $500M in funding for poor schools

It’s their problem, he said in the end.

Gov. Chris Christie deferred to lawmakers Tuesday over how the state will respond to a Supreme Court decision ordering that another $500 million be spent on poor public schools.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



Abbott v. Suburbs, the next school funding struggle?

The ghost of three decades of Abbott v. Burke litigation hovered over the state Supreme Court’s 21st Abbott ruling yesterday. It was evident in the divided and defiant ruling that strictly addressed only the 31 original Abbott districts. And it was equally evident in the tensions that almost immediately surfaced concerning other urban and suburban districts that are also calling for financial relief.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Finger-pointing follows Abbott ruling

With a Supreme Court decision that orders up another $500 million in funding for low-income school districts and a governor proclaiming that the ball is now in the Legislature’s court, Democratic leaders responded by blaming Chris Christie for ignoring the state funding law and forcing the issue back into their hands.  (Schoonejongen, Gannett)



Options before Christie, N.J. Legislature in finding education aid

The state Supreme Court’s latest decision on school funding gives Governor Christie and lawmakers about a month to balance a new budget that now must include another $500 million in education aid for poor communities.  (Reitmeyer, The Record)



Legislators, others react

Some reactions to Tuesday’s state Supreme Court ruling on school funding.  (Staff, Gannett)|head



Two N.J. Supreme Court justices felt court had no place in deciding fate of Abbott case

For months, Gov. Chris Christie and Republicans in the Legislature questioned whether the Supreme Court has the right to order school funding.  (Spoto, The Star-Ledger)



New Jersey health officials unveil new Medicaid eligibility limits

New Jersey health officials are pushing to tighten the eligibility requirements for new Medicaid enrollees as part of the Christie administration’s effort to save $300 million by overhauling the health care program for low-income and disabled residents.  (Lederman, The Associated Press)



Democrats appalled by Christie’s proposed Medicaid cuts

Democratic lawmakers say they still need much more information about the administration’s plans to cut $300 million from the state Medicaid program. But after grilling state officials for more than two hours they concluded that the proposal was “simply inhumane and fiscally irresponsible,” in the words of one Assemblyman.  (Stainton, NJ Spotlight)



Democrat says Christie’s budget philosophy ‘born out of a moral vacuum’

Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Bergen) Tuesday took a heavy verbal swing at the Christie administration over its shaping plan to cut as much as $300 million in Medicaid funding for New Jersey’s neediest residents.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



N.J. arts council members say their staff should not be blamed for ‘irregularities’ in contracts

At the first public meeting of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts since Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno criticized its awarding of several contracts for public art projects, council members firmly restated their belief that their staff was not to blame.  (McGlone, The Star-Ledger)



Panel: Casino’s industry’s future is online

Internet gambling is the future of the casino industry, whether it’s approved at the federal or state level, a panel of online and brick-and-mortar casino executives said Tuesday.  (Parry, The Associated Press)



CEO tells Gaming Congress that Revel casino will be open in Atlantic City next May 15

One of Atlantic City’s most closely guarded secrets ended Tuesday when the chief executive officer of the Revel casino project disclosed that the $2.4 billion megaresort will open May 15, 2012.  (Wittkowski, Press of Atlantic City)



NJ military property tax deduction clears Assembly panel

A bill proposing a constitutional amendment to increase a property tax deduction for veterans cleared an Assembly panel Monday.  (Bichao, Gannett)



Dad promotes anti-abduction bill

A New Jersey father who fought for more than five years to get his son back from Brazil urged Congress on Tuesday to penalize foreign countries that refuse to repatriate abducted American children.  (Chebium, Gannett)



State establishes $3 million fund to bankroll combined heat and power projects

New Jersey is setting aside $3.235 million in federal stimulus funds for projects at state-owned facilities and institutions to build Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants, a step that would allow colleges and state agencies to reap big energy savings.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



Property-tax cap pact takes shape

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is within striking distance of legislative approval of a property-tax cap that would curb growth of the nation’s highest local levies and fulfill a marquee campaign promise.

Assembly Democrats, rebelling against demands of labor allies, put forward a tax-cap measure on Tuesday that provides local government more financial cushion but is more stringent than the one that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie extracted from state lawmakers last year.  (Gershman, The Wall Street Journal)



States collect more in taxes, but fiscal threats remain

States had strong growth in tax collections during the first quarter of the year, but still collected less money than they did before the recession began, according to preliminary data released Tuesday by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.  (Cooper, The New York Times)



S.J. Port Corp. bans bar tab

The bar is now closed at South Jersey Port Corporation.

Executives of the quasi-state agency will no longer pick up bar tabs to entertain customers of the port, Chairman Richard Alaimo announced Tuesday at the board’s monthly meeting.  (Stilwell, Gannett)



Latest from State Street Wire

(Click here to request a free trial)


Daily State House Schedule



CWA plans lunchtime pickets throughout state

Thousands of members of the Communications Workers of America – the largest union representing New Jersey public workers – will stage lunchtime pickets Wednesday  across the state as the union sits down for another day of bargaining with representatives from the state, the CWA reported Tuesday.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Overhaul court to overhaul school funding, Christie tells supporter

A man asked Gov. Chris Christie today why the non-Abbot districts, the vast majority of school districts across the state, don’t have the same funding requirements as the 31 court-designated Abbott districts.  (Carroll, State Street Wire)



Lawmakers blast Christie’s Medicaid eligibility changes

The Assembly Budget Committee blasted a proposal by Gov. Chris Christie’s administration Tuesday to put a freeze on accepting new adults into Medicaid who would currently be eligible.  (Hassan, State Street Wire)



Christie reinforces no-tax-hike stand, even after $500M Abbott decision

Even after catching a $500 million school bill this morning and passing the baton to the Legislature to balance the budget, the governor is not going to stand for a tax increase once the spending document lands back on his desk.  (Carroll, State Street Wire)






Christie v. Abbott

The latest Supreme Court ruling on educational funding presented some interesting options for Chris Christie.  He could have defied the court order as overstepping its bounds, as many of his supporters hoped he would.  In the end, he took a less controversial way out.  Maybe.  (Patrick Murray for PolitickerNJ)



With court’s decision on school money, Christie sheds emperor’s tag

Clutching a microphone in the steamy air of a Cherry Hill armory, Governor Christie explained how he expects to pay the $500 million “invoice” from the state Supreme Court that dropped on his desk Tuesday.  (Stile, The Record)



From unlikely N.J. Supreme Court source, a simple case of applying the law

It came down to one Supreme Court justice, an unlikely one, to stave off a constitutional crisis, save as much as she could of New Jersey’s commitment to poor school children, and keep alive—for how long, no one knows—the storied independence of the state’s highest court.  (Braun, The Star-Ledger)

  Morning News Digest: May 25, 2011