Battle Over New Bus Terminal Threatens to Paralyze Port Authority’s Board

After three years of planning for a new bus terminal in Manhattan, the commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey still agree that New York City badly needs one. But, as the nasty debate over paying for it has spilled out in public, they appear to agree on little else.

The discord has threatened to paralyze the board that oversees the agency and that is responsible for transportation projects critical to the region. When the time came on Friday to publish the board’s monthly agenda, the agency punted, hinting that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, a Democrat, might instruct his appointees not to conduct any business, just as he did before the board’s previous meeting.

When the agenda for the meeting this week finally appeared on Monday afternoon, it suggested that politicians from the opposite sides of the Hudson River had still not bridged their differences. They may still be billions of dollars apart in their views on how the agency should spend the money it collects from tolls and transportation fees.

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Student Debt Forgiveness Signed Into Law in N.J.

By JT Aregood • 12/05/16

PolitickerNJ

Governor Chris Christie signed a bill into law Monday offering student loan forgiveness at the state level in cases of death and disability.

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Student debt reform has come to New Jersey. Governor Chris Christie signed a bill into law Monday that would eliminate student debt in the event of death and total disability, and allow for deferment of payments and interest accumulation for lenders who are temporarily disabled.

The change comes after a ProPublica investigation detailing the case of one mother who was forced by law to continue paying off her son’s state student loans after his murder.

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End of the Road for the Urban Enterprise Zone?

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Guadagno's rules for working class: Suck it up | Editorial

on December 03, 2016

What state does Kim Guadagno live in?

It's a pertinent question, because every time the lieutenant governor stands before a microphone, you wonder whether she knows anything about the lives of New Jerseyans.

Whether that's a deal-breaker in her ambition to occupy the top chair is for voters to decide, but they should know that she believes all of the following:

A pauper's wage of $8.38 is fair, businesses should pay employees whatever they want, paid sick leave is folly even if that single mother working at the local deli coughs on your lunch, and - don't sip your beverage as you read this - a $15 wage will lead to self-service gas.

And, of course, she continues to spout the absurdity that we didn't need to raise the gas tax to fund transportation projects.

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Judge Rejects Bid for Special Prosecutor to Investigate Christie in Bridge Scandal

A New Jersey judge on Friday dismissed a bid to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Gov. Chris Christie’s involvement in the lane closings at the George Washington Bridge in 2013, leaving the case in the hands of a county prosecutor’s office that is led by one of Mr. Christie’s appointees.

In her decision, Judge Bonnie J. Mizdol of Bergen County Superior Court wrote that the citizen who made the request, William J. Brennan, did not have standing to make such a motion. Mr. Brennan had petitioned the court to order the recusal of the Bergen County prosecutor’s office and the state attorney general’s office, which are both overseen by appointees of Mr. Christie, a Republican.

But Judge Mizdol cited various precedents that indicated that Mr. Brennan did not have the legal right to file such motions in the case. “This court is mindful of the heightened concern for conflict when a governor is facing criminal prosecution by the very state he is tasked to govern,” Judge Mizdol wrote. “However, this court is duty-bound to uphold our Constitution, statutes, case law and court rules; none of which convey standing upon Brennan.”

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Obamacare repeal will mandate a fight within the party that invented it - the GOP | Mulshine

on December 01, 2016

 Mitt Romney campaigns in South Carolina back in 2012; Romney said he would repeal Obamacare, but he invented it

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Mitt Romney's name is still being bandied about in discussions of who will be Secretary of State in the Donald Trump administration.

But imagine Trump had chosen Mitt Romney as secretary of Health and Human Services.

With him in charge, the Republicans could have repealed Obamacare and replaced it with Romneycare - without any meaningful changes in the law.

Both systems have as their linchpin the individual mandate to buy health insurance. And the Republicans who have pledged to end Obamacare seem to forget that the approach originated with Republicans like Romney and the mainstream GOP.

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Elected Officials Stand With Workers at Newark Airport Fight for 15 Rally

By Alyana Alfaro • 11/29/16

PolitickerNJ

Baraka at the Newark Airport Fight for 15 rally.

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NEWARK, N.J. – The nearly 1,000 workers who descended upon Newark Airport on Tuesday to air grievances with low wages did not let the pouring rain dampen their spirits as they marched from terminal to terminal. According to those workers, the minimum wage must be boosted to $15 per hour in order to provide basic necessities and improve the standard of living for those in low wage jobs.

In Newark, marchers were outfitted with bright yellow ponchos emblazoned with SEIU-32BJ on the back, referring to the union who organized the march. At their side were a number of elected officials who support the minimum wage boost including Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Assemblyman/gubernatorial candidate John Wisniewski, State Senator Ray Lesniak, Assemblyman Gary Schaer, East Orange Mayor Lester Taylor, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, Assemblyman Jamel Holley and Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti.

According to Baraka, the fight for 15 is a critical one in Newark. At other New York area airports, workers are already paid $15 per hour.

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Court Rules Against Christie Changes to State Workers’ Promotions System

By JT Aregood • 12/01/16

PolitickerNJ

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at the annual State of the State address last year.

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A New Jersey appeals panel weighed in against a rule adopted by the administration of Governor Chris Christie Thursday. Unions argued in court that Christie’s 2014 change to the Civil Service Commission’s advancement policy would have undermined public workers’ ability to earn promotions on their own merits.

That rule put state employees into groups of “job bands” with other sharing similar titles and functions. Supervisors, then were given greater discretion as to who could advance within their own “band” with less consideration for factors like their scores on the civil service exam or an independent assessment of their performance.

Christie had argued that the change would make state government more efficient, but the plaintiffs characterized the new policy as opening the door to more patronage hiring. Hetty Rosenstein, state director of the Communications Workers for America, represents one of the unions that sued the commission and praised the decision in a statement.

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Let's make deporting the Dreamers Trump's worst nightmare | Editorial

on November 27, 2016

Susana Terrones, 24, was only six months old when she came to the United States from Mexico and she's never gone back since. Terrones was one of about 750,000 youths without legal status who were given temporary protection from deportation and work permits under President Obama, after they came to the U.S. as children. These people are now under threat from a Donald Trump presidency.

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Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign by disparaging a very small minority -- undocumented immigrants with criminal records.
 
The 750,000 young immigrants known as "Dreamers" are not among them. They came here as children and "are, for all practical purposes, American kids," as President Obama said recently.
 
They've grown up with everyone else's kids, played on the same sports teams, sat in the same classrooms, been their play-dates and prom dates. They have work permits, Social Security cards, bank accounts and jobs. A UCLA study calculates that Dreamers will add $1.4 to $3.6 trillion in taxable income to our economy over the course of their careers.
 
Yet Trump has said he would "immediately terminate" the executive action that Obama signed four years ago to give the Dreamers protection from deportation.

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Tussling Has Resumed in Tug of War With New York Over New Bus Terminal

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