NJ Politics Digest: Biden Talks Smack About Transit

Former Vice President Joe Biden. Alex Wong/Getty Images

He might not be vice president anymore, but Joe Biden can still take a political foe down a notch, as when he took aim at Chris Christie for his complicity in the state’s transit woes.

Christie, who famously cancelled a planned Hudson River tunnel project – a move that many say has put New Jersey in a precarious position given the rotten state of its transit infrastructure – has his own view of the ARC tunnel project, and shared it late last week.

It’s funny what a year and an appointment to a powerful post can do for a congressman’s fundraising abilities. NJ.com takes a look at how two state lawmakers are cashing in on high-profile positions.
And politics can get complicated in big families, as this story about one branch of the Kushner family supporting Sen. Bob Menendez in a big way even as Jared Kushner has become a force in father-in-law Donald Trump’s White House.

Quote of the Day: “New Jersey’s governor, god bless him… in his infinite wisdom, decided to shut the project down,” Former Vice President Joe Biden, taking Gov. Chris Christie to task for cancelling construction of a planned tran-Hudson rail tunnel.

Biden: Christie’s ‘infinite wisdom’ hurt commuters
Former Vice President Joe Biden took a swipe at Gov. Christie Friday, saying that if Christie had listened to transportation experts an urgently-needed trans-Hudson rail tunnel project would be close to completion by now.
Paul Berger, The Record Read more

Christie: ‘Complete baloney’ that Hudson tunnel project he killed would be nearly done
Despite the recent transit chaos in Penn Station and North Jersey, and the uncertain federal funding of the planned Gateway Hudson River rail tunnels, Gov. Christie said he did not make a mistake killing a similar project in 2010.
Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Read more

Derailments just a taste of what tunnel failure could bring
When a train derailed earlier this month at New York Penn Station, the disruption was much less severe than it would have been if one of the Hudson River tubes had to be closed before the new tunnel is completed. In that scenario, rail capacity in and out of Penn Station would be reduced from 24 trains an hour to six.
Paul Berger, The Record Read more

2 N.J. lawmakers won spots on a House panel with ‘juice.’ Guess what happened next.
MetLife’s political action committee made $1.4 million in campaign donations during last year’s election. Rep. Tom MacArthur got none of it.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com Read more

Menendez raises $20K from Kushner family
Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat up for re-election next year, raised $20,000 for his re-election next year from relatives of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, but the donors are from a wing of the family that is feuding with Kushner’s father.
Herb Jackson, The Record Read more

New Jersey Gubernatorial Candidates Consider Broader Marijuana Laws
The Trump administration recently warned about the potential for marijuana to lead to other drug use, but candidates for New Jersey governor are considering embracing efforts to authorize recreational use in the state.
Associated Press Read more

Despite big losses, Christie celebrates jobs at Amazon
Gov. Chris Christie visited an Amazon fulfillment center Friday to mark the company’s expansion and celebrate the state’s new 4.2 percent unemployment rate, even though preliminary statistics show New Jersey had its worst month for job losses in a year.
Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

Here’s another thing Chris Christie hates about being governor
During an appearance on his monthly call-in radio show “Ask the Governor” on NJ 101.5, Christie disclosed something akin to political sacrilege: He was elated at the prospect of not having to march in parades any more.
NJ.com Read more

NJ Governor’s Race: Wisniewski Replaces Campaign Manager
One of New Jersey’s gubernatorial hopefuls announced a change in senior campaign staff Friday afternoon. Kevin Keefe will be taking over for Robert Becker as campaign manager for Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who is seeking the Democratic nomination.
JT Aregood, Observer Read more

Lawmakers refuse to Let Urban Enterprise Zones Die in Five Cities
It’s already been several months since Gov. Chris Christie refused to extend a special sales-tax break that businesses in five New Jersey cities had been permitted to offer their customers since the 1980s as a way to stimulate economic activity. But with businesses in many other communities also in danger of losing the tax break over the next several years, some lawmakers are refusing to let the issue go.
John Reitmeyer, NJSpotlight Read more

Senate leaders convene on school funding in Parsippany
Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-District 3) traveled from South Jersey last week to meet with Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-District 26) in Pennacchio’s home district for some bipartisan discussion with educators, advocates, parents and other elected leaders on how to reform controversial New Jersey school-funding practices.
William Westhoven, Daily Record Read more

Sweeney, Ruiz say use of PARCC as graduation requirement violates legislative intent
State Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Sen. Teresa Ruiz, chair of the chamber’s Education Committee, penned a letter to state education officials this week, indicating that the use of PARCC as a high school exit exam violates legislative intent.
Linh Tat, Politico Read more

N.J. assemblyman: Rededicate income tax to school funding, cut property taxes
Fifty days ago Gov. Chris Christie offered a clean slate to the Legislature to work with him on a new school funding formula. Democrats and Republicans agree that the current formula is broken, and fixing it is paramount to reducing nation-high property taxes in the state.
John DiMaio Read more

Christie’s plan to aid ailing 911 system: Expand the tax
Governor Chris Christie plans to push for an additional $13 million for upgrading the state’s archaic 911 system by expanding the tax that state residents have already paid $1.37 billion into over the last decade, NJ Advance Media has learned.
Alex Napoliello and Stephen Stirling, NJ.com Read more

What 2 ex-N.J. governors say about unused sick pay; railroad repairs; Syria and N. Korea
Do several recent disruptive train breakdowns tell us we need to make maintaining and upgrading our railroad infrastructure a priority?
NJ.com Read more

Trio of Hospitals Continues Challenge to Omnia
Nearly 18 months after they filed suit against Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield to reveal details of how it formed its Omnia insurance network, hospital leaders and their attorneys may get to review documents and correspondence they believe are at the heart of their case.
Lilo H. Stainton, NJSpotlight Read more

This N.J. senator will walk the red carpet at the Tribecca Film Festival
State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, who has spent four decades walking the halls of the Statehouse, will walk the red carpet Saturday night at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival.
Brent Johnson, NJ.com Read more

Protesters demand Frelinghuysen support EPA on Earth Day
Several grass-roots organizations celebrated Earth Day the best way they knew how, by standing in the rain and demanding their congressman support the Environmental Protection Agency.
Michael Izzo, Daily Record Read more

Pascrell to hold town hall meeting in Tenafly
U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell Jr., New Jersey’s only member of the Ways and Means Committee, will host a town hall-style meeting in Tenafly on Monday night.
Deena Yellin, The Record Read more

Trump Cuts Could Leave NJ Poor in Cold
Next winter may be colder and more expensive for hundreds of thousands of low-income residents in New Jersey.
Tom Johnson, The Record Read more

Christie in Paterson to commend drug-recovery efforts
Gov. Chris Christie, on the heels of his appointment to lead a White House commission to address the nation’s opioid addiction epidemic, appeared at a ceremony Sunday to commend a non-profit’s service to help those recovering from drug addictions.
Sara Jerde, NJ.com Read more

Fulop Outfundraises Closest Jersey City Mayoral Challenger 3 to 1
Incumbent Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop has to date raised over $1.8 million toward his re-election according to a Friday announcement from his campaign. In the first quarter of 2017, which ended on March 31, Fulop and the five council candidates on his team added about $155,000 to their campaign coffers. Fulop is also touting $36,000 in campaign contributions made to the Jersey City Democratic Committee as part of his first quarter fundraising.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Morris GOP freeholder hopefuls tout records, visions, even youth
The four GOP candidates running for the single available term on the Morris County freeholder board in the June 6 primary election have begun pitching their goals, experience and even youth, with 24-year-old hopeful Michael Crispi of Hanover Township saying that people equate the Republican party with ‘old white men.’
Peggy Wright, Daily Record Read more

Hudson Executive DeGise pursuing 2019 Reelection
Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise evidently wants another term.
Invites went out this past week to a U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and Ambassador Phil Murphy fundraiser for DeGise, who’s up for reelection in 2019.
Insider NJ Read more

Editorial: Guadagno’s property tax scheme: not viable
Kim Guadagno, anti-tax crusader, rolled out her latest policy proposal Wednesday, and it’s just another scheme based on bogus math.
Star-Ledger Read more

Editorial: America’s most unpopular governor slams Horizon
Gov. Chris Christie’s nutty charge that Horizon is “lying” about his plan to grab the company’s $300 million is even more bizarre than the plan itself.
Star-Ledger Read more NJ Politics Digest: Biden Talks Smack About Transit