N.J. moves to ease $919M tax increases businesses will get socked with because of high unemployment

Posted Oct 29, 2020

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill to lessen the blow of a $919 million unemployment payroll tax increase businesses will be hit with next year to begin replenishing the unemployment trust fund.

More than 1.7 million New Jersey workers have sought unemployment benefits since mid-March, when Gov. Phil Murphy ordered much of the state shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The state has paid out more than $5.4 billion to people out of work, depleting the unemployment trust fund.

The Unemployment Trust Fund is financed through employer and employee contributions. Employees all pay the same tax rate on their first $35,300 in wages, while an employer’s contributions depend on the overall fund balance and how many of their own employees have claimed benefits.

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Trump and Biden teams prep for once-outlandish election standoffs

The 2020 election has come to this.

Lawyers for Donald Trump and Joe Biden are poring over arcane federal law to prepare for the possibility that a close or contested election might trigger two little-understood and barely tested scenarios.

First, there’s the chance that officials within a closely contested state might send two different results to Congress, one giving Trump the win, the other giving Biden the win. It’s a scenario that almost happened in Florida in 2000, and one that would leave the country without an obvious path to determine who won the state — and possibly the country.

Second, there’s the chance that the House of Representatives has to step in if no candidate clears the 270 electoral-vote threshold needed to win the presidency. While more clear-cut legally, this situation would still create a confusing moment in which each state delegation gets to cast just one vote for president. So even though Democrats control the House, they wouldn’t necessarily have the advantage, angering swaths of the country.

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Biden has big lead over Trump in N.J. as Election Day nears

Posted Oct 29, 2020

This is why the presidential candidates aren’t spending much time in New Jersey this fall.

Former Vice President Joe Biden held a 24-point lead over President Donald Trump in New Jersey, while U.S. Sen. Cory Booker led Republican Rik Mehta by 30 points, according to a poll released Thursday. .

Biden’s edge among likely voters was 61% to 37%, in the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. In the state’s U.S. Senate race, Booker, D-N.J., was ahead of Mehta, a pharmacist and lawyer, 61% to 31%.

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Van Drew's defection to GOP haunts him in tight race

It was supposed to be an audacious act of political survival.

Fearing Democrats’ impeachment push would end his career in a southern New Jersey district won by President Donald Trump, Rep. Jeff Van Drew dropped the “D” next to his name and joined the GOP.

But nearly one year and a global pandemic later, Van Drew’s pledge to give his “undying support” to Trump could end up sinking the freshman lawmaker.

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These N.J. candidates give Trump’s COVID-19 strategy a thumbs-up. Yes, seriously | Editorial

Posted Oct 28, 2020

There is no discernible plan from the Trump Administration to deal with the coronavirus, so we are being asked to surrender to the heartbreaking calculus of sickness and death.

Despite scientific warnings that the worst is yet to come, Donald Trump even sent Mike Pence to campaign after five of the VP’s staff members tested positive for the virus — an astonishing rejection of CDC quarantine guidelines — because his administration apparently has no interest in dealing with a scourge that has already killed 226,000 Americans in eight months.

And despite these warnings, every Republican challenger for Congressional seats in New Jersey supports or applauds the strategy of a president who has brought 15 cases of COVID all the way down to eight million.

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Debate reveals chasmic splits between Booker, Mehta

By Nikita BiryukovOctober 27 2020

New Jersey Globe

 

Tuesday’s debate between U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-Newark) and Republican challenger Rik Mehta revealed sharp, sometimes chasmic, splits between the two candidates on health care, the pandemic and race relations in the United States.

Booker, still less than a year off an unsuccessful presidential campaign, repeatedly launched attacks at President Donald Trump over his policies, while Mehta lobbed bombs at Gov. Phil Murphy while defending the president’s record.

The divide was perhaps in its sharpest relief over the candidate’s ratings of Murphy and Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

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Amy Kennedy now favored over Van Drew in N.J.’s hottest congressional race, and Trump is why

Posted Oct 28, 2020

Democratic challenger Amy Kennedy now is favored to defeat party-switching Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew in New Jersey’s hottest congressional race, according to Inside Elections.

The Washington-based publication that tracks congressional contests says President Donald Trump is the chief reason.

“Jeff Van Drew is the Trump candidate in this race,” said Jacob Rubashkin, a reporter and analyst Inside Elections.

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COVID-19 Comes to the Campaign Trail in New Jersey

By Max Pizarro | October 28, 2020

Insider NJ

 

As New Jersey’s COVID-19 case count upticks and the state’s largest city shuts down, the virus reached onto the campaign trail today in battleground Burlington County.

With six days until Election Day, Republican headquarters in Mount Holly – politics central in the CD3 race between U.S. Rep. Andy Kim and GOP challenger David Richter – just got shut down.

The reason?

Evidently a COVID-19 positive case.

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Misleading messages to Mendham voters follow nationwide trend of election misinformation

GENESIS OBANDO | OCTOBER 28, 2020

NJ Spotlight News

Oct. 27, 2020, a voter fills out her ballot in early in-person voting in Brooklyn, New York.

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Voters in Mendham have received messages saying Gov. Murphy decided there will be no in-person voting on Nov. 3 and that only voters registered as “visually impaired” will be allowed to vote in person. The messages came by letter, text and email and appear to have been sent by the Mendham Borough Republican Committee.

The information in the messages is not true.

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Feds launch investigation into New Jersey veterans homes, seek more info from New York

10/27/2020

Politico

A health worker arrives to take a nose swab sample as part of testing for the coronavirus at a nursing and rehabilitation facility. 

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The U.S. Department of Justice has launched a civil rights investigation into New Jersey’s state-run veterans homes, citing a lack of cooperation with an earlier probe as well as concerns over the quality of care at the facilities.

New Jersey officials estimate that 190 residents at veterans homes in Paramus and Menlo Park have died of Covid-19, representing roughly a third of their population at the start of the pandemic. The official tally, according to the state’s Covid-19 data dashboard, remains at 143.

“Recent reports suggest that the number of Covid-19 deaths at some nursing homes, including New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park and New Jersey Veterans Home at Paramus … two long-term care facilities operated by the state, have been understated,” according to a letter sent to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy which was released by a Justice Department spokesperson Tuesday evening.

There is “cause for concern that the quality of medical care at these nursing homes has been deficient,” the letter states.

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