Author Archive: Jason Springer

Quote of the Day: It gets almost embarrassing

Tom Moran took Reform Jersey Now to task in a column yesterday talking how laughable it is for the Governor to try and act like he has nothing to do with the slush fund intended to promote his agenda:

It gets almost embarrassing when the governor tries to pretend this is an independent group. When Palatucci calls to solicit a donation, everyone knows it’s the governor asking. When the governor speaks at the group’s fundraisers, he can see who comes to write checks.

Everyone knows, but the Governor still won’t say. They can say they’re independent all they want, but it still doesn’t make it true. This is just another case of Christie Transparency, so transparent you can’t see anything at all.

Deep Thought: Helping people who own many homes, but not those who want just one

Late Friday afternoon, the Governor vetoed three bills.  One of those bills would have dedicated $100 million over three years to create a Homebuyers Tax Credit. He said the state just can’t afford it:

“I cannot approve legislation, no matter how meritorious, when the state simply cannot afford it,” Christie wrote in a veto message.

But he didn’t bat an eye when he vetoed the bill giving a tax cut for millionaires, which cost the state over $800 million.  I guess the Governor is willing to help people who own multiple homes keep their money, but leaves those trying to get just one hanging out to dry.  

Sunday NJ Talk Shows 7/25

otrscreenshotOn the Record will have Michael Aron talking about the Governor’s proposal to cap superintendents pay with Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, Richard Bozza with the NJ Association of School Administrators and James O’Neill, the Chatham Schools Superintendent.

reportersroundtableOver on Reporter’s Roundtable, – they will talk about the Christie announcing a state takeover of the Sports, Gambling and Entertainment industries in New Jersey and Christie’s 6 months in office.

Michael Aron hosted this weeks panel which included Dunstan McNichol of Bloomberg News, Charles Stile with The Bergen Record, Matt Friedman from the Newark Star-Ledger and Jason Method for New Jersey Press Media.

You can click on the images to watch the stream of each show. You can also see Governor Christie’s appearance on ABC’s This Week with Jake Tapper here:

Obama coming to Jersey to talk about the economy

Published reports say that the President will be making a stop in New Jersey next week:

Obama will appear in or around Edison to talk about the economy, the White House announced yesterday. White House spokeswoman Moira Mack said further details about the trip will be announced next week.

This will be the President’s first time in the state since he campaign for Jon Corzine just before Election day. The President canceled his last scheduled visit after the Gulf Oil spill began. We’ll keep you updated as the White House releases information.

Blue Jersey Friday Haiku

Another hot summer week has passed and it’s time to begin the weekend in rhyming style.The Governor unveiled his gaming report which has made waves across the state. The calls continued for the Governor to restore funding for women’s health services. We learned that the FBI probe is growing in Toms River. It was GSE vs. NOM at the statehouse. Our Senators met with the British Prime Minister and kept up their calls for answers on ties between BP and Libya.  As usual, we’re not short on topics this week.

Rules are simple:

You compose a haiku (5 syllables, then 7, then 5) on the topic the last poster suggests. Then you get to set the next topic.

First Topic: Meadowlands Race Tack

Race Track is for sale

Anyone want to go halves?

I have fifty cents

Next Topic: Gaming Commission report

The future of NJN is in their hands

We now have all the members named to the Legislative Task Force on Public Broadcasting, which will help determine the future of NJN. The Committee is made up of five members of the Senate and five of the Assembly. Here they are:

Senate Democrats:

Nia Gill

Teresa Ruiz

Jeff Van Drew

Senate Republicans:

Thomas Kean Jr.

Joseph Kyrillos

Assembly Democrats:

Lou Greenwald

Thomas Giblin

Nellie Pou

Assembly Republicans:

Alex DeCroce

John Amodeo

The ten-member taskforce is charged with examining the Governor’s proposal to restructure the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority as a non-profit organization and submitting a report of its findings by October 15 to both the Governor and legislative leaders. The we’ll have to see what the Governor does once he gets the report.

News Roundup and Open Thread, Friday July 23, 2010

ACLU wants answers and the AG to get them

  • The American Civil Liberties Union has requested the state Attorney General’s Office investigate last weekend’s fatal shooting of an unarmed man by an Essex County sheriff’s officer inside a park. On Wednesday, the ACLU and Garden State Equality, the state’s leading gay rights organization, filed separate requests asking for documents relating to the shooting.

    The last to recover

  • Bank economists said a slow jobs recovery and a shrinking manufacturing sector mean the Garden State, which entered the recession six months before the rest of the nation in June 2007, could also be one of the last to emerge.

    Tuition Spikes

  • A 4% increase in tuition at Montclair. That follows the news yesterday that UMDNJ will hike tuition by as much as 21%, which drew this criticism from Assemblywoman Lampitt.

    Lautenberg weighs in on Women’s Health Funding

  • The Senator questioned Christie’s withdrawal of a Medicaid waiver and encouraged the Governor to fund women’s health.

    How many people can live there?

  • The Buena Vista Township Committee is considering an ordinance that would establish the township’s first rules on occupancy limits.

    DRPA still under fire

  • Free bridge tolls, PATCO train rides and car allowances may soon be perks of the past for Delaware River Port Authority managers as they are still under fire.

    BCIA Chairman resigns after guilty plea for fraud

  • Ronald J. O’Malley resigned from the Bergen County Improvement Authority hours after the two pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

    Al Doblin says Atlantic City is not a Board game

  • Doblin says that Christie should take the same hard look at other cities.

    APP urges caution in scrapping Kyleigh’s law

  • The decal provision of Kyleigh’s Law should not be thrown out before the Attorney General’s Office has a chance to complete its study and the Legislature has a chance to digest it.

    Christie’s first Sunday Show

  • The Governor will join Jake Tapper on ABC’s This Week on Sunday.

    No more Trenton Puerto Rican Day Parade

  • For the past 33 years, the Puerto Rican Parade has been a fixture in the city. But the parade and its accompanying carnival will not take place this month due to budgetary constraints, the president of the nonprofit organization that hosts the annual celebration.
  • Lautenberg urges Christie to restore Women’s Health Funding & questions Medicaid waiver withdrawal

    As the Governor still waits to either veto or sign legislation that would fund women’s health services, the voices calling for action continue to grow louder. Today, Senator Lautenberg sent a letter to the Governor urging restoration of funding:

    Eliminating the $7.5 million in funding for these services and withdrawing the Medicaid waiver to provide family planning services with a 90 percent federal match would reduce access to critical public health services and tum away millions of dollars in federal funding.

    As you know, New Jersey has traditionally supported family planning health centers with state funding. Last year, these centers provided critical health care services, including breast exams, pap smears and HIV and other STD tests to 126,903 women and 9,461 men. Eliminating $7.5 million in state funding for these critical reproductive and preventive health services threatens the health of individuals and their families who rely on this care.

    The Senator continued and focused on the impact of the Medicare waiver for a federal match:

    In addition to this budget cut, I understand that you have withdrawn the state’s application for a Medicaid waiver that would allow NJ to expand Medicaid coverage for family planning services for 70,000 New Jerseyans who do not qualify for Medicaid or NJ FamilyCare. If approved, the waiver would provide health screenings and contraceptive counseling and supplies to men and women between 18 and 49 with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). As you are aware, the federal government pays for 90 percent of the cost of family planning services provided under such waivers. Accordingly, a contribution or$1 million from the state towards family planning services would receive $9 million in federal matching funds. The legislation now before you would require New Jersey to access these critical federal funds. In the current fiscal climate where severe budget cuts to education, health and other key programs are being made, maximizing federal funding is both fiscally responsible and critical for the continued provision of these and other basic services.

    So we’re giving up a 9 to 1 match for what? How will that help things? We’re already short money and people will still need care and services. If this was really about the money as the Governor is trying to say, this wouldn’t be the course of action they’d be taking because they’re costing much more than they will ever save.

    Christie promise to watch: Property taxes won’t rise more than 2% next year

    This may end up being the Governor’s next broken promise. Check out this exchange with Eric Scott from NJ 101.5 the other night:

    Scott: “So you’re convinced that we are going to see in this next budget cycle property taxes generally not increase more than 2 percent.”

    Christie: “Yeah, not the property tax bills you are about to get this August.”

    Scott: “Right, but next Year.”

    Christie: “But next year, yes.”

    Scott: “There’s a lot of people out there governor that hope you are right.”

    Christie: “Listen, I know I’m going to be right.”

    Christie went on to explain that municipalities will be forced to cut services when costs of contracts rise above the 2 percent cap.

    As if cost of contracts is the only problem that there is. That sounds like a promise to me in Christie speak. Remember that, he know’s he’s going to be right. Even with all of the exemptions in the cap, we’re going to see headlines that fly in the face of what the Governor says. We’ve already seen talk of it just the other day when news came out that healthcare costs were going up 12%:

    “They (taxes) have to go up,” said Frank Bradley, administrator for Union Township. “[Just] because it’s outside the cap, don’t be misled by that. It’s still an additional amount of money that has to be generated through a tax increase.”

    Even if the Governor exempts it from his calculations, the towns and the taxpayers still are stuck doing the real math.

    Just how big is the pension problem

    Michael Symons at Capitol quickies brings our attention to the fiscal note that went along with SCR1, the constitutional amendment legislation that would require the state to begin fully fund its pension contribution over the course of seven years, each year adding one-seventh of the overall tab to its actual contribution. From the note we learn just what that would mean:

    The Division of Pensions and Benefits in the Department of the Treasury estimates that the actuarially required contribution to the State-administered retirement systems for the State will be $3.477 billion in State FY 2012, $3.718 billion in FY 2013, and $3.940 billion in FY 2014. The phase-in payments under this concurrent resolution, if the State pays the minimum amount required, are estimated to be $540 million in FY 2012, $1.157 billion in FY 2013, $1.887 billion in FY 2014, leaving $2.94 billion in FY 2012, $2.56 billion in FY 2013, and $2.05 billion in FY 2014 unpaid.

    This year, the Christie administration played the same games that got us into this mess and made no payment into the pension fund, even though they were supposed to pay more than $3 billion.

    There are 15 sponsors to the SCR1 version of the bill in the Assembly including the Speaker and Minority Leader, but it hasn’t moved out of committee since it was passed in March. The fact remains that even if it passes, we’re still just passing a bill to make partial payments on a fund that’s already short.