Morning News Digest: Thursday, June 30, 2011
By Missy Rebovich
Moments after the Assembly voted to pass the budget put forth by the Democrats, speculation turned to how the governor will react to the spending plan, which numerous Republican lawmakers have labeled unconstitutional. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)
Crowley not running for U.S. Senate
Biotech millionaire John Crowley of Princeton won’t run for the U.S. Senate this year, he announced to his friends on Facebook. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)
The Assembly passed the budget 46-32
After nearly four hours of testimony, the state Assembly passed, 46-32, the Democratic Party-drafted $30.6 billion budget, just a few hours after the state Senate gave its approval. (Hassan, State Street Wire)
Poll: More than half say they’ll likely vote for someone other than Christie in next election
A Bloomberg poll released Wednesday found declining support for Governor Christie.
Fifty-one percent of respondents said they will definitely or probably vote for another candidate in the next gubernatorial election. Thirty-nine percent said they will definitely or probably vote for Christie. (Megerian, The Star-Ledger)
Gov. Christie won’t say if he’ll veto $30.6B budget
After calling it “unconstitutional,” Gov. Chris Christie won’t say what he’ll do about the $30.6 billion budget the state Legislature sent him today.
“At this time, the governor can’t be certain if the remedy is the line item veto or whether he needs to consider sending it back to the Legislature,” Christie’s press secretary Michael Drewniak said in a statement. (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)
The next budget battle
United for at least a day after almost two weeks of bitter infighting, the Democratic majorities in the Senate and Assembly yesterday approved a $30.6 billion budget.
“There are some calling this a ‘Democratic’ budget. I simply say it is a budget for New Jersey,” Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen) insisted. (Magyar, NJ Spotlight)
N.J. Assembly approves Democratic bill to restore earned income tax credit for low-income workers
Legislation that Democratic sponsors describe as designed to reverse Gov. Chris Christie’s income tax increase on working poor families was approved 46-32 by the Assembly on Wednesday. (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)
New N.J. bills could halt growth of charter schools in suburbs, expand in unwelcome areas
The Assembly advanced a package of bills tonight that could stymie the growth of charter schools in the suburbs while dramatically expanding their portfolio statewide.
The Assembly advanced a package of bills tonight that could stymie the growth of charter schools in the suburbs while dramatically expanding their portfolio statewide. (Calefati, The Star-Ledger)
New N.J. bill allows developers to claim tax credit, eases responsibility to provide affordable housing
Legislation that would pave the way for hundreds of millions in tax credits for the Meadowlands project formerly known as Xanadu also includes a last-minute change that would allow developers to claim a tax credit while easing their obligations to provide affordable housing. (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)
Gov. Chris Christie moving to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing
Gov. Chris Christie is moving to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing.
The Republican governor submitted a reorganization plan to the state Legislature Wednesday that would do away with the controversial agency that determines communities’ obligations to provide housing for lower income residents. Its functions would be transferred to the Department of Community Affairs. (The Associated Press)
State orders NJ counties to cut welfare
Changes in the state budget for the new fiscal year that begins Friday will result in funding reductions to welfare programs that are administered by New Jersey’s 21 county governments. (Larsen, Gannett)
NJ Assembly votes to stay in anti-pollution pact
Two bills aimed at keeping New Jersey in a regional greenhouse gas reduction pact received final approval from the Legislature Wednesday, but the fate of the state’s participation was no closer to being resolved. (Lederman, The Associated Press)
Legislature backs Meadowlands tax break
The state Legislature on Wednesday approved a bill that would allow the American Dream Meadowlands to get a $350 million tax break and would modify the corporate incentive program that granted a tax break to help Panasonic move from Secaucus to Newark. (Morley, The Record)
N.J. Legislature approves bill restoring prescription drug benefits for AIDS patients
Nearly 1,000 people with HIV and AIDS would have their subsidized prescription drug benefits restored that Gov. Chris Christie reduced last summer under a bill the Assembly approved today. (Livio, The Star-Ledger)
Vineland Developmental Center may be saved; developmental center bill passed by Senate
The state Senate on Wednesday approved a bill to create a task force on the state’s seven developmental centers, which, if approved by the Assembly and the governor, could delay, or even stop, the Vineland Developmental Center’s closure. (Laday, The News of Cumberland County)
State Senate approves bill that would cut the Casino Control Commission to three members
The state Senate approved a bill today that would reduce the size of the Casino Control Commission from five members to three.
Sponsored by Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, the bill was approved 39-0. It now heads to the state Assembly. (Froonjian, Press of Atlantic City)
N.J. lawmakers act on a rang of other bills
New Jersey lawmakers spent the better part of Wednesday debating the state budget and taxes, but as Trenton looked toward summer break, a range of other actions with broad implications were taken. (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
N.J. Legislature OKs delaying presidential primary
The state Senate has voted unanimously to move New Jersey’s presidential primary election to June next year.
The Assembly previously approved the measure. It now goes to Gov. Chris Christie to be signed into law. (The Associated Press)
NJ lawmakers pass ban on gas drilling technique
New Jersey’s Legislature has passed a ban on the natural gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” (The Associated Press)
N.J. couples’ lawsuit urges gay marriage
Seven gay couples and many of their children filed a lawsuit Wednesday to demand that New Jersey recognize same-sex marriage, calling it the only way to solve inequities created by the state’s four-year-old civil-union law. (Mulvihill, The Associated Press)
As NJN shifts to NJTV, its staff finds a way to say goodbye
Michael Aron, the veteran New Jersey Network political reporter, has been covering the latest news on the fate of the listing ship, NJN for several months now.
“In a perverse way, I’m sort of getting high on the drama of reporting on our own catastrophe. Unless you’re actually sinking,” Aron said today, “it’s exciting.” (McGlone, The Star-Ledger)
NJN reaches the end of the story
It’s another day in the capital for Michael Aron.
T he news director and principal political correspondent for the New Jersey Network’s nightly TV news program, Aron has made the short trip from the NJN building to the Statehouse in Trenton thousands of times. On Tuesday, he hopped into the news van with his cameraman to cover a Gov. Chris Christie press conference one last time. (Crimmins, Newsworks)
Teacher evaluation pilot program prepares for takeoff
The Christie administration’s planned pilot of a new statewide teacher evaluation system has begun to draw some interest from school districts, but also a few questions.
Officials of the state Department of Education (DOE) met with nearly 70 districts last week to explain the details of the planned pilot, which would provide $1.1 million to up to nine districts to test out evaluation systems for a year before one is put in place statewide. (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)
Lautenberg, colleagues press to keep federal police grants coming
Police in Woodbury and Camden could have a stake in efforts by a number of U.S. Senators to preserve funds from two federal grant programs.
U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and colleagues on Capitol Hill want to provide $600 million to the federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. (Green, Gloucester County Times)
NJSEA would be able to jointly operate Meadowlands Racetrack, Monmouth Park under bill going to Chris Christie
With new private management lined up to take over Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands Racetrack, a bill that would allow the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority to jointly operate racetrack operations with the lessees for up to a year received final legislative approval Wednesday. (Jordan, Gannett)
Legislature fails to pass measure that would loosen restriction of New Jersey’s wine market
The Legislature failed to pass a bill Wednesday that would have loosened restrictions on New Jersey’s wine market and possibly end a long legal battle before legislators recess for the summer. (Procida, Press of Atlantic City)
Obama criticizes Garrett proposal on bondholders
President Obama reiterated his support during Wednesday’s news conference for an issue being driven in Congress by U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez while slamming an idea that U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett is advocating. (Jackson, The Record)
Federal agency OK’s power transfer from New Jersey to New York
New Jersey has lost another battle with federal regulators, a setback likely to lead to higher electricity prices for consumers in the state.
Over the protests of the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Monday approved an interconnection request to allow 660 megawatts of power to be transferred from the Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) Ridgefield substation to a Consolidated Edison West 49th Street substation in Manhattan. (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)
Latest from State Street Wire
Casino/Industry revenue loss in government shutdown of 2006 may have 2011 ripple effect
As the state waits to see what Gov. Chris Christie will do with the Democratic Legislature’s budget, at least one of his actions from this year shows that he may be ready to shut the government down – or at least he’s prepared in case a shutdown comes. (Carroll, State Street Wire)
Bateman supports Christie move to abolish COAH
Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman, (R-16), Somerset, this evening applauded the governor’s decision to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH). (Staff, State Street Wire)
Bath salts bill passes Assembly
The Assembly passed 74-2 the bill to criminalize bath salt sales.
Called Pamela’s Law, bill S2829 would criminalize bath salts sales because of the potential for abuse of some of the chemicals they contain. (Hassan, State Street Wire)
From the Back Room
The Cask of Amontilliado
A winery bill that passed out of the senate tonight contained the stain of political bad feelings between Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) of West Deptford and Assembly Majority Leader Joe Cryan (D-20) of Union Twp., according to sources. (Staff, PolitickerNJ)
Guv’s millionaire’s tax veto not instantaneous this year
Don’t look for a replay of last year, when Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the millionaire’s tax moments after state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) of West Deptford delivered the document following a floor vote. (Staff, PolitickerNJ)
Christie’s reelection prospects
Notwithstanding Governor Chris Christie’s current standing in the polls, the events of the first six months of 2011 appear to have actually enhanced his reelection prospects. He will be able to run for reelection in 2013 as a Governor who finally succeeded in controlling property tax increases, facing a weak Democratic opponent emerging from a fratricidal primary. (Steinberg, PolitickerNJ)
Plaintiffs’ take: ‘Civil unions don’t work’
The clunky words civil union can’t do justice to the bond between Karen and Marcye Nicholson-McFadden.
The clunky words civil union can’t do justice to the bond between Karen and Marcye Nicholson-McFadden. (Riordan, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
With Jon gone, it’s a happier fiscal new year
Well, we’ve come to the end of another year, at least in Trenton terms.
The year may end on Dec. 31 in the rest of the state but in Trenton it ends on June 30. At midnight tonight you can pop the cork on a bottle of champagne, preferably a cheap one, and welcome in fiscal 2012. (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)
Don’t borrow in the dark, Governor Christie
Every family encounters times when bills are due and they don’t have money. If this happens to a state or local government, they go to the municipal bond market where they can borrow short- or long-term. In the current market they are likely to find a lot of willing lenders. These lenders will lend at very reasonable interest rates, and the terms of the borrowing will be made public so taxpayers can see what their obligations are. (Long, Muniland)
Getting things done in a time of austerity
This is a column about management styles. What sort of leader can get things done in an age of austerity?
Our first case study is what you might call the Straight Up the Middle Approach. When Chris Christie ran for governor of New Jersey, he campaigned bluntly on the need to reduce the state’s debt. After he was elected, he held 30 contentious town meetings with charts to explain how the debt would crush homeowners in each municipality. (Brooks, The New York Times)
Paying late not good for candidate’s image
Cherry Hill mayoral candidate Stephen Buividas calmly addressed his history of late tax and sewer payments in a conversation Wednesday, just hours before Congressman Jon Runyan was due to raise money for Buividas and other local Republicans at Woodcrest Country Club. (Rosen, Gannett)