Morning News Digest: June 13, 2012


Morning News Digest: June 13, 2012

By Missy Rebovich

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Gopal beats LaRocca to lead Monmouth Dems

Businessman Vin Gopal of Long Branch defeated attorney Frank LaRocca of Marlboro to become the new chairman of the Monmouth County Democrats.

He won with 73% of the vote.

An unsuccessful candidate for the Assembly last year, Gopal succeeds veteran Chairman Vic Scudiery.   (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Traier beats Heck to win Passaic GOP Chairmanship

John Traier defeated Scott Heck tonight to become the new chairman of the Passaic County Regular Republican Organization.

Traier had the backing of outgoing Chair Scott Rumana.

Of 373 votes cast, Traier received 210 votes and Heck got 163 votes.

“The most important thing we need to do as a party is win as a party,” said Traier. “We have to learn how to work together for the good of the Republican Party, and you have my commitment to make sure that happens. I got into this race to see the Republican Party win.”  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Bennett wins Monmouth chairmanship by three votes

Former state Sen. John Bennett defeated attorney Christine Giordano Hanlon by three votes to become the new chairman of the Monmouth County Republican Committee.

Bennett received 309 votes to Hanlon’s 306 votes.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Gov. Chris Christie tells Haddonfield audience he wants budget deal by deadline

The day after the Christie administration asked his cabinet to figure out what would happen in case of a government shutdown, he told a town hall audience he expects a budget deal in time for the deadline in a few weeks.

The well-attended afternoon event marked a return to the big crowds to which he is accustomed. According to his staff, 750 people showed up in Haddonfield in contrast to last week’s rarity where there were empty seats at a morning town hall in Piscataway. The number of registered Democrats in both Middlesex and Camden counties outpaces that of registered Republicans.  (Portnoy, The Star-Ledger)



Christie brings tax-cut campaign to Haddonfield

Gov. Christie, who has doubled the frequency of his town hall meetings as the days ticktock down to the deadline for signing the state budget, brought his fabled road show to the heart of Camden County on Tuesday.

The Republican governor is now crisscrossing the state for these events twice a week, as opposed to once a week earlier in the year, and except for fielding softball questions from the audience about issues related to small business, autism, and solar power, Christie hammered away at one theme in Haddonfield’s Central Middle School gym Tuesday: Taxes need to be cut, and Assembly Democrats will be to blame if that doesn’t happen.  (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Analysis: Tax relief could sink NJ into a $1 billion hole as revenue loss grows year after year

New Jersey will be on a course to lose at least $1 billion annually in the coming years if lawmakers give Governor Christie a new state budget that includes either his call for tax relief or theirs.

The competing tax-relief plans that the Republican Christie and Democrats who control the Legislature are pushing now come with a seemingly modest, $183 million price tag on a $32 billion spending plan.

But both the direct income tax cut Christie wants and the new income tax credit for middle-class homeowners that Democrats have countered with call for multiple-year phase-ins, meaning after a few years actual costs will range from more than $1 billion annually to more than $2 billion based on the current proposals.  (Reitmeyer, The Record)



Christie presses the flesh – and his case for tenure reform

Tenure reform, New Jersey style, took a few more twists and turns yesterday, with Gov. Chris Christie pressing the case in public while legislators and staffers continued to work in private on a couple of fronts.

The Christie push came at one of his town hall meetings, this one before more than 600 people in a Haddonfield middle school. He again invoked the example of just 17 teachers facing tenure charges as ineffective in the past decade, out of more than 100,000 in the classroom.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Unions seek amendments in higher education bill

Labor unions representing faculty, staff, and others who would be affected by a bill to overhaul higher education in New Jersey have asked lawmakers to tweak the measure so that thousands of current employees are protected.

The unions are seeking amendments that ensure collective bargaining rights and contracts, limit the authority of a new Rowan University/Rutgers-Camden governing board, and guarantee no layoffs at University Hospital in Newark by providing financial stability to the money-losing teaching hospital.  (Delli Santi, Associated Press)



Tax Foundation: Millionaire’s tax will curb economic growth

As New Jersey legislators continue to push conflicting versions of a tax cut proposal under the looming June 30 budget deadline, a new study by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation shows a plan by Assembly Democrats to use a so-called “millionaire’s tax” to fund a tax credit would hinder economic growth in the state.

“High progressive tax rates disincentivize developing job skills and career advancement, and reduce the number of hours people are willing to work,” the report said. “Taxes on high-income filers include business income, and raising taxes on this group would have negative effects on long-term economic growth.”  (Eder, NJBIZ)



Nursing home advocates hope to restore funding in NJ budget

Nursing home advocates believe they have a shot at persuading the Legislature to restore a portion of the $75 million in federal and state Medicaid nursing home funds cuts as decisions on the Christie administration’s proposed spending plan come down to the wire.

The timing is critical because New Jersey plans on Jan. 1 to have managed care companies begin serving Medicaid’s long-term care recipients, including nearly 28,000 nursing home residents. Nursing homes expect the shift to managed care to lower their reimbursements over time, and worry that if they enter managed care with funding already squeezed some will be forced some to close.   (Fitzgerald, NJ Spotlight)



Former Gov. Whitman joins call for tighter security at chemical plants

The federal government needs to tighten security around chemical plants and to force manufacturing facilities to replace the extremely hazardous substances they use with less dangerous alternatives, a wide-ranging coalition of officials and groups urged yesterday.

Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Whitman joined Greenpeace, labor, and other organizations in calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take steps to prevent disasters around chemical facilities.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



NJ insurers say they’ll retain some ACA reforms however high court rules

Perhaps the least controversial provision of the Affordable Care Act is the one that requires health plans to cover children until age 26 — and it’s been especially popular in this tough economy, as young people struggle to find good jobs with health coverage. This month the Supreme Court will decide whether all or part of the ACA is unconstitutional, but at least two insurers operating in New Jersey, Aetna and UnitedHealthcare, will continue covering kids until age 26, regardless. Another two, Cigna and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, are awaiting the court’s ruling before addressing the issue.   (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



EDA approves $37M Urban Transit Hub grant to Cablevision

The board of the state Economic Development Authority today approved a new $37 million Urban Transit Hub tax credit to entice Cablevision Systems Corp. to keep more than 500 jobs in Newark, and approved an additional $87 million worth of Grow New Jersey awards for three projects to retain and add jobs in the state.

“We’re incentivizing $300 million in new capital investment in New Jersey,” said Caren S. Franzini, agency CEO. “We’re keeping major employers in Newark and in New Jersey.”  (Tarbous, NJBIZ)$37M-Urban-Transit-Hub-grant-to-Cablevision



Tourism flat in Atlantic City despite Revel’s opening

Despite the hype around the opening of the city’s newest casino and the “Do AC” advertising campaign, Atlantic City’s nongaming tourism business climate held steady in May, according to a report released Monday by the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority.

“We’re not at our peak season yet … so we don’t see huge hits until the June numbers come out,” said Jeff Vasser, president of the agency. “With Revel opening in early April and ‘Do AC’ launching in mid-April, there’s a longer lag time before you see the big jump. But I think we’ll see that jump in the next month.”  (Eder, NJBIZ)



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EDA awards Grow NJ, BEIP grants to keep jobs in New Jersey

The Economic Development Authority gave the green-light to three companies that applied for Grow New Jersey Assistance grants that will help them in constructing new facilities and keep jobs in New Jersey.  (Hassan, State Street Wire)



Christie: Working relationship with Sweeney helps N.J.

Gov. Chris Christie at his town hall here addressed an issue that he indicated probably puzzles some people: How and why he gets along with Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney.

In response to a question from someone in the audience of approximately 750 people, Christie said of Sweeney, “He takes a lot of heat from people in his party that he shouldn’t be cooperating with me.” And the same, Christie said, is true of people in the Republican Party who do not want him cooperating with Sweeney.  (Mooney, State Street Wire)



Christie expresses support for solar energy bills

Gov. Chris Christie expressed support at a town hall here for solar energy bills working their way through committees.

The Assembly passed its version last week, and the amended bill now goes to the Senate, where Christie said it is expected it will be worked on Thursday or next week.  (Mooney, State Street Wire)



From the Back Room 



Pascrell stands with Stellato

Having laid flat U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) crossed the river tonight with olive branch overtones, attending and supporting the Bergen Dems’ reaffirmation  of Chairman Lou Stellato.

The Passaic County native received a great reception at the reorganization meeting and said he stands with Stellato 100 percent.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Republican Chair Booth wins two year term in Camden

The Camden County Republican Committee reorganized Monday evening, and re-elected its current Chairman, Tom Booth of Voorhees, to a full 2 year term. 

Booth took over the CCGOP last year following former Chairman Rick DeMichele’s ouster and resignation halfway through his two year term.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)






Christie on his game in Haddonfield 

Anyone hoping for fireworks at Gov. Christie’s “Jersey Comeback” road show in Haddonfield on Tuesday left disappointed.

Opponents of the proposed merger of Rutgers-Camden and Rowan University — about which the Republican governor said nothing — didn’t get much satisfaction either.

But those who lined up in the rain, then sat or stood for two hours in Haddonfield Middle School’s swampy gymnasium, to watch a gifted politician at the top of his game seemed to come away pleased.  (Riordan, The Philadelphia Inquirer)


  Morning News Digest: June 13, 2012