Christie, Buono Differ Sharply on Tax Cuts, Fiscal Challenges

Mark J. Magyar | October 30, 2013

NJSpotlight

Four years ago, Gov. Chris Christie inherited a state with a massive built-in budget deficit, a millionaire’s tax about to expire, and $2 billion in federal stimulus funding about to go away. Property taxes were rising, as was state debt. The state’s long-term unfunded liability for pension and retiree healthcare costs for teachers, police, and state and local government employees was a staggering $100 billion. The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund was broke, and a new $8 billion plan would soon be needed to pay for highway, bridge, and mass transit capital projects.

The policy choices that Christie made to address those fiscal crises, the tax and budget votes that his Democratic challenger, Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex), cast in her 18 years in the Legislature, and the sharply divergent approaches they would take to the state’s future funding challenges are the most critical differences they have laid out in their year-long campaigns:

  • While Christie rules out any tax increase and has been pushing the Legislature to implement an immediate tax cut to be funded out of future revenues, Buono questions whether the money will be there to pay for it. Instead, she favors reimposition of a millionaire’s tax to pay for property tax relief for lower- and middle-income taxpayers.

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Stephen Adubato honored by Christie, Booker and other high profile leaders in Newark

By Lisa Rose/The Star-Ledger
on October 28, 2013

Governor Chris Christie poses with Stephen Adubato during a ceremony honoring the founder of the Robert Treat Academy.

 

NEWARK — A remarkable throng of political superstars gathered on a blustery morning outside the North Ward Center in Newark to honor Stephen Adubato Sr., a Democratic power broker who helped start one of the city's most successful charter schools.

Governor Chris Christie and Senator elect Cory Booker shivered in the front row during a ceremony that culminated with the unveiling of a bronze statue of Adubato.

Democrats and Republicans alike paid tribute to the 80-year-old party boss and community leader. The heady mix of lawmakers included Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-10th Dist.), Sen. Kevin O'Toole (R-Essex), Essex County Executive, Joseph DiVincenzo and Gov. James McGreevey.

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While Adubato honored, Essex, Newark pols look at legacy, impact on mayoral race

By PolitickerNJ Staff | October 28th, 2013

By MARK J. BONAMO

 

NEWARK - Steve Adubato Sr.'s legacy is embedded deep in Brick City.  

Emerging as a Democratic leader in the 1960s, Adubato rose to political power  through coalition building and deal making at a time when the state's largest city was burning itself to the ground. 

"There were three sides - there was Amiri Baraka on one side, Tony Imperiale on the other side, and Steve Adubato standing on top of a car, saying 'Listen, there is no right or wrong,'" said Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo as he helped to unveil Adubato's statue on Oct. 28 on the grounds of the North Ward Center, remembering the charged atmosphere in Newark following the 1967 riot. "He said we should work together. He supported Ken Gibson over Hugh Addonizio [for Newark] mayor in 1970. He was the only one. I was so impressed. He stood strong. He was for real." 

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Would-be Successors to Cory Booker Offer Views on Newark’s Schools

John Mooney | October 25, 2013

NJSpotlight

The four men who seek to succeed Newark Mayor Cory Booker next year met is a sometimes raucous forum last night focusing on public education, a favorite topic of the outgoing mayor.

But they barely mentioned Booker’s name – only one uttered it at all – as the four hopefuls gave their own views of what role the mayor should play in the state-run school district that has been thrown into the national spotlight by Gov. Chris Christie’s ongoing reforms and the $100 million gift from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Facing a partisan full house at Science Park High School, the candidates were asked about their education priorities, especially regarding the state’s ongoing control of the district. The office of mayor currently has no official role in the schools but, as Booker showed, can still have considerable influence.

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Newark special council election comes amid a crowded season

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger
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on October 27, 2013

From L to R: John Sharpe James, Lynda Lloyd and Yvonne Garrett Moore are competing ion the Nov. 5 special election for an open Newark council seat. (Star-Ledger file photo)

 

NEWARK — Had enough elections, Newark?

Well, there are more to come.

Since June 2012, Newark residents have picked a new congressman and a new U.S. senator, and when they head to the polls next Tuesday, they will not only be casting their ballot for governor, but also for an at-large city council member.

Lynda Lloyd, Yvonne Garrett Moore and John Sharpe James, son of the former mayor, are vying for the open council seat vacated last year when Donald Payne Jr. was elected to Congress.

When the council seat was vacated in November 2012, it sparked a riotous public meeting after outgoing Mayor Cory Booker tried to fill the seat with an ally. That was followed by a court battle in which an Essex County judge told Booker his move was illegal.

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Quintana looks like a lock to become interim mayor of Newark

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger
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on October 25, 2013

Luis Quintana, pictured with former Newark Mayor Sharpe James in this file photo, appears to be a lock as Newark's interim mayor. (Star-Ledger file photo)

 

NEWARK — Newark City Council President Luis Quintana appears to have the votes needed to become the city's interim mayor, finishing out Cory Booker's term, which ends June 30, 2014.

In statement this week, at least six council members publicly declared their support for Quintana once Booker steps down, which is expected shortly before he is sworn in as a U.S. Senator next Thursday.

“Luis Quintana has the experience to lead the city during this period of transition,” North Ward Councilman and mayoral candidate Anibal Ramos said in a statement. “I have confidence in his ability to carry out the work that needs to be done during these next few months."

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Interview With Council Candidate John Sharpe James

Friday, 25 October 2013 20:01 Local Talk News Editor

 

Dhiren Shah: Why are you running for a seat on the Newark City Council?

John Sharpe James: Early in 2006, there was a group who decided that they wanted to take over Newark. People in the community wanted some voices they respected, with a good background, and running against people from out of town. Unfortunately, I lost in 2006. My background is military primarily. It's all wrapped up in politics and community service. In 2006, I was drafted by the people and ran against Booker team, new politicians who did not necessarily have the communities in mind or best intentions in hand.

DS: In your opinion what are the main problems of Newark today?

JSJ: Right now, crime, and we have a leaderless city hall. Concerning the Mayor's position, his mind has elsewhere sometimes, and because of that we have deterioration in every department. Sanitation is a mess, the recreation department is a mess, and funding shortages cost the police department. Not only do we have 167 police officers laid off, but we haven't had a new police class in over 7 years. It definitely has a detrimental effect on the streets. The community is not safe, and criminals feel comfortable. We don't have enough police officers walking on the street. We have 900 police officers right now from a high of 1,500. Housing prices are going down, taxes are going up. People do not have that warm feeling anymore and, we are losing hope.

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Newark mayoral candidates spar in education forum

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger 

Newark Mayoral Candidates left to right: Ras Baraka, Anibal Ramos, Jr., Darrin Sharif and Shavar Jeffries participate in an education debate at Science Park High School. (Saed Hindash/The Star-Ledger)

NEWARK — It was touted as a civil exchange of ideas over education, but it didn’t take long for Newark mayoral candidates to get into a political brawl that ranged from the budget to taxes to police.

The crowd of roughly 400 residents, parents, teachers and students made their presence known during the two-hour forum, cheering for their candidates and often booing those they did not support in the May 2014 election.

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Newark mayoral candidates to debate education issues tonight

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger 

NEWARK — They won't have any authority over the city's schools, but the four men vying to become the next mayor of Newark have a lot of ideas on education.

South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka is principal of Central High School. Shavar Jeffries and North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos are former school board members. Along with Central Ward Councilman Darrin Sharif, the four mayoral candidates will discuss their ideas on Newark's public schools during a debate that begins at 6 tonight at Science Park High School.

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Year After Hurricane Sandy, Victims Contest Christie’s Status as a Savior

The New York Times

Gov. Chris Christie comforting Bonnie Miller in Brick, N.J., as he toured the coastline last fall.

 

Hurricane Sandy turned Chris Christie into something akin to America’s governor, as the nation watched him express his state’s pain on the devastated shoreline the morning after the storm, then triumphantly cut the ribbons on reopened boardwalks on Memorial Day. “We’re stronger than the storm,” he proclaimed in television commercials that ran in other states all summer.

But in the affected parts of New Jersey, Governor Christie’s storm campaign has not sold as well. With at least 26,000 people still out of their homes a year later, he has become the focus of ire for many storm survivors who say that the recovery does not look as impressive to them as it does to the rest of the country.

Homeowners promised money from Mr. Christie’s rebuilding program say they have yet to see it; those who have been denied aid vent about the bureaucracy. Some criticize him for encouraging residents to build to new flood zone standards to speed recovery; homeowners now say they are being penalized, because anyone who started rebuilding is ineligible for a grant.

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