Morning Digest: June 30th

Winners and Losers: Week of the $34.1 Billion Budget Plan

TRENTON – There was so much back-slapping and self-congratulations in the capital city this week that you’d never guess the state is in dire financial straits. In presenting a $34.1 billion budget to Gov. Chris Christie with little debate, everyone did a GREAT job – or so they told us… (Politicker Staff)



For 18 State House officials, pensions are a personal issue

Governor Christie has a deadline today to sign a budget for New Jersey’s upcoming fiscal year. When he does, he’s expected to strip out more than $1.57 billion worth of payments into the state pension system that Democrats included in the budget they sent to his desk last week. Christie has already cut $900 million in planned pension payments so he could balance the current year’s state budget, and more debate over keeping the pension system stable is expected in the months ahead. (Linhorst/The Bergen Record)



Christie likely to veto tax hikes, sign new budget today

Today is the deadline for Gov. Chris Christie to take action on the $34.1 billion state budget the state Legislature sent him Thursday, and lawmakers are bracing for what could be a series of vetoes. (Rizzo/The Star-Ledger)



Why Chris Christie’s Focus On Key Issue Is Both Personal And Political

On no one’s early list of issues likely to headline the 2016 Republican presidential primaries is the nation’s “war on drugs.” Chris Christie plans to put it there. (Colvin/AP)



Hillary Clinton’s money problem

Hillary Clinton is having a very hard time being rich. After two weeks of verbal gaffes and unflattering headlines, Democratic operatives, political historians and counselors to the nation’s wealthy agree that Clinton’s current strategy — acting like she’s not incredibly rich and made her money the old-fashioned way — is not working and needs to change. Fast. (White/Politico)



Port Authority settles its suit over disabled access to PATH station

The Port Authority and two advocacy groups have reached a settlement in a seven-year-old lawsuit over disabled access to the Grove Street PATH station. (AP)



Bergen exec gains support in contract fight

What started as an intramural battle over the balance of power between two of Bergen County’s top elected officials has assumed statewide dimensions. Six other counties are supporting County Executive Kathleen Donovan in her plan to challenge a contract negotiated by Sheriff Michael Saudino for his officers. (Rimbach/Bergen Record)



Christie presidential rumblings have NJ politicos thinking about life after governor

Democratic state Senate President Stephen Sweeney has been traveling all over the state, pitching his “Sandy Bill of Rights” bill — a tour many see as laying the groundwork for a run for governor. (Arco/NJ Advance Media)



Final hearing set in sale of St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic

PATERSON — The final hearing in the approval process for the sale of St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic to Prime Healthcare Services Inc., a for-profit chain of hospitals based in California, has been scheduled for next month. Judge Margaret Mary McVeigh, the presiding judge of Superior Court in Passaic County, will hold a hearing on the sale July 23 in her courtroom at the Passaic County Courthouse Complex in Paterson. Those wishing to participate must notify the judge by July 15. (Washburn/The Bergen Record)



NJ man 1st US referee in World Cup knockout rounds

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Mark Geiger will become the first American to referee a knockout stage match at the World Cup. The 39-year-old former math teacher from New Jersey was selected by FIFA to handle the France vs. Nigeria match on Monday in Brasilia. (AP)





Political media strategist Chris Mottola joins Mercury

Bipartisan public strategy firm Mercury announced today the addition of political media consultant Chris Mottola, of Chris Mottola Consulting, Inc. in Philadelphia, NJ. Mottola, best known for writing, producing and directing campaign ads for political candidates, has served as president and founder of the political consulting firm since 1986. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)





Stile: Christie’s words suggest his dream job may be losing its luster

At a recent groundbreaking for a nursing school, Governor Christie mused about returning to Trenton someday as an elder statesman, touring projects approved during his tenure. But Christie then caught himself, and abruptly returned to the present day. (Stile/Bergen Record)



Political Insider: Upcoming Davis administration already providing some drama

Members of the Jimmy and the pirates administration haven’t been sworn in yet and already they’re providing some soap opera. The Bayonne intrigue is starting with the choice of City Council president. In past columns, I suggested that the administration will probably start by making some history and Councilman at Large-elect Juan Perez, the former Hudson County sheriff, the city’s first Hispanic president of the legislative body. Well, it isn’t that simple. (Torres/The Jersey Journal)



Jackson: Whitman is looking for Republican allies in climate fight

Former Gov. Christie Whitman is convinced there are more Republicans like her who want the federal government to act, and act soon, to reduce the carbon emissions contributing to climate change. Whitman even said she would like Governor Christie to be one of them, though she quickly began to backtrack and say she needed to talk with him first — an indication that even the suggestion a prominent Republican agrees with her is potentially damaging politically. (Jackson/The Bergen Record)


Gov. Christie’s money trail

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who is toying with the idea of running for president, has yet to show sufficient interest in managing the public’s money in ways that benefit the public. He talks plenty tough, but can he make hard decisions that help ordinary people, even when it might hurt him politically? (Editorial Board/New York Times)



Kelly: Unseasoned newcomers face mess of their own making in Hackensack

A parking lot hardly seems like the setting for a fractious political fight. But in Hackensack, where wrenching disputes now seem to erupt with numbing frequency, an acre-sized patch of asphalt behind the old Masonic Lodge just off Main Street symbolizes what can happen when an idealistic and inexperienced band of reformers ousts an entrenched political machine — and then has to learn how to govern. (Kelly/The Bergen Record)



4 reasons Christie keeps moving forward

After months of being beat up by the media about his “Bridgegate” scandal in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie is still standing. And there is even some evidence that he might finally be regaining ground. (Zeilizer/CNN)



Steve Lonegan says (again) he’s through with running: The Auditor

Steve Lonegan is done running for office — and he means it this time. After losing his sixth race for state or federal office to Tom MacArthur in the Republican 3rd Congressional District primary earlier this month, the former Bogota mayor plans to settle in his new home of Lavalette and focus on his home-building business. (Star-Ledger Staff)



Morning Digest: June 30th