Murphy won’t rule out a state government shutdown as he pitches millionaires tax rejected by top Democrats

Updated Jun 18, 2019

Even as lawmakers prepare to send him a state budget that doesn’t include it, Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday continued to beat the drum for his proposal to increase income taxes on New Jersey’s millionaires.

And with less than two weeks left before the budget deadline, Murphy wouldn’t rule out a state government shutdown to put pressure on his fellow Democrats who lead the state Legislature.

“All options remain on the table," the governor said during a news conference outside his office in Trenton.

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Bill Gates just chose 10 cities to invest in and one of them is in N.J.

Posted Jun 18, 2019

Newark’s newest initiative to provide free legal help for low-income tenants facing evictions is getting a major boost from three of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world.

Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ballmer Group announced Tuesday they were investing $12 million in 10 cities -- including Newark -- to promote economic mobility. Newark, the only city picked in New Jersey, will focus on affordable housing and reducing evictions.

“We’re honored to be part of this, they are highly selective,” said Natasha Rogers, Newark’s Chief Operating Officer and Interim Deputy Mayor.

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GOV SIGNS DARK-MONEY BILL, EXPECTS LAWMAKERS TO ROLL BACK PROBLEM PARTS

COLLEEN O'DEA | JUNE 18, 2019

NJ Spotlight

 

Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law on Monday requirements that dark-money groups report who is bankrolling them, as he promised to do last week to avoid facing an embarrassing veto override. But he also said he expects lawmakers to quickly roll back much of the new law, as he says they promised.

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Middlesex), a prime sponsor of S-150, has started that rollback, saying he introduced a “cleanup” bill Monday to address Murphy’s concerns over the impact the new law would have on some nonprofit advocacy groups. At the same time, one of those groups — ACLU-NJ — announced it is preparing “legal action” if a legislative remedy is not passed.

Murphy chose to sign the bill on an otherwise busy day that included the introduction and passage out of an Assembly committee of the Legislature’s version of the budget and the release of the first report by the governor’s task force investigating the state’s economic development incentives. His office did not put out a press release announcing that he signed the bill until 6:15 p.m., after normal business hours.

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Moments after judge rules, a state task force releases stunning report taking aim at political power broker

Posted Jun 17, 2019

In a stunning report issued just minutes after a state Superior Court judge refused to block its release, a special governor’s task force concluded the state’s economic development program was hijacked to favor special interests when giving out billions of dollars in tax incentives.

At the same time, the highly critical report found that the New Jersey Economic Development Authority “did not have adequate procedures in place” to vet applications, including misstatements that would have led to the rejection of some applications or “a significant reduction in the amount of certain awards.”

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Jail run by Democrats is even too cruel for ICE | Editorial

Updated Jun 17, 2019

Here’s how bad things have gotten at a local jail in Essex County, New Jersey:

Even the federal agency that oversees U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under President Trump believes it’s acting inhumanely.

This lockup, run by Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, has been making big money warehousing immigrants for the feds – tens of millions of dollars annually, to offset local property taxes.

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N.J. Democrats scrap Murphy’s millionaires tax in budget, setting up showdown and possible shutdown

Posted Jun 16, 2019

State Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (left) and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (right) applaud as Gov. Phil Murphy (center) speaks at the Statehouse in Trenton earlier this year.

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Democratic lawmakers will introduce their own state budget Monday that ditches Gov. Phil Murphy’s long-sought proposal to raise tax increases on millionaires in New Jersey, setting up a showdown with the progressive Democratic governor in the coming days, NJ Advance Media has learned.

In their budget, the lawmakers have also scrapped Murphy’s plans to significantly raise permit fees and enact new taxes on guns and ammunition sold in the Garden State, according to two sources familiar with the budget proposal.

Their proposal also does not include Murphy’s call for a $150-per-head penalty paid by New Jersey businesses that don’t provide health insurance and whose employees are therefore enrolled in Medicaid, the sources said.

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CHARGE THAT TAXPAYER FUNDS TO DEFUNCT CHARTER SCHOOLS CAN’T BE TRACED

CARLY SITRIN | JUNE 17, 2019

NJ Spotlight

 

Dozens of charter schools in New Jersey have closed over the past few years with millions of dollars of federal taxpayer money unaccounted for, a report alleges.

The report, titled “Asleep at the Wheel”from the Network for Public Education, the advocacy group co-founded by education policy expert and charter school critic Diane Ravitch, found that of the 100 charter schools in the state that were awarded grants by the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) between 2006-2014, at least 42 have since closed — or never opened in the first place. And what happened to the total of $8,226,311 awarded them in federal taxpayer dollars is largely unknown.

“We were never able to get a great answer on what happened to that money,” Darcie Cimarusti, who contributed research for the report, said. “We spent a lot of time going back and forth with U.S. Department of Education and they wouldn’t give us a straight answer.”

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Victims of sexual abuse by the Catholic church can begin submitting claims for compensation

Posted Jun 15, 2019

The New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program will begin accepting claims related to the sexual abuse of minors by diocesan priests and deacons for all five of New Jersey’s Catholic dioceses, starting this weekend.

The program, known as IVCP, will be led by Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros, who have designed and administered similar programs for the Catholic dioceses in New York and Pennsylvania. They’ve also administered compensation programs for the victims of the Penn State sexual abuse claims, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Boston Marathon bombing.

Church leaders said Feinberg and Biros will review the case of each alleged victim, then offer victims a settlement. They will determine the amount offered and it will be paid by the dioceses. Church officials will have no authority to challenge the decisions or the amounts awarded as determined by Feinberg and Biros.

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Trump said he would welcome Russian help for his re-election campaign. Booker just called that ‘dangerous and destructive.'

Posted Jun 13, 2019

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s welcoming of assistance from Russia or China for his 2020 re-election campaign was “dangerous and destructive.”

So says U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, who hopes to wrest the job from Trumpnext November.

Booker was responding to Trump’s comments to ABC News that he would listen if a foreign adversary of the U.S. had damaging information about his 2020 opponent.

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LAWMAKERS VOTE TO EXTEND TAX INCENTIVE PROGRAMS; MURPHY SIGNALS HE’LL VETO

JOHN REITMEYER | JUNE 14, 2019

NJ Spotlight

 

Lawmakers are defiantly moving ahead with their plan to temporarily extend the state’s main economic-development tax-incentive programs without making any changes, despite Gov. Phil Murphy’s call for significant reform.

Two separate Assembly committees approved legislation yesterday that would keep the controversial programs in place through the end of January, as lawmakers rush to take action before current state law prohibits new incentive applications from being accepted after June 30.

A Senate panel scheduled to follow suit on Monday would move the proposed extension closer to final approval. But a spokesman for the governor said later yesterday that the current bill is likely to be met with a veto if all it does is keep in place programs that have drawn close scrutiny in recent months, including from the Office of the State Comptroller and a special investigative panel set up by Murphy.

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