Essex board 1st in N.J. to call for $15 an hour minimum wage

By Jessica Mazzola | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on October 05, 2015

An april rally in Newark calling for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

 

NEWARK — Local government officials are getting in on the statewide debate over pay rates. The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders last week became the first freeholder board in the state to pass a resolution urging state officials to bump New Jersey's minimum wage up to $15 an hour, county officials have confirmed.

The board voted unanimously on Sept. 30 to pass the resolution, which calls on state legislators and the governor to support legislation that would up the minimum wage from its current $8.38 an hour.

"Many people (work) hard every day and still cannot afford the basic necessities in life such as food, housing, transportation, child care," Freeholder President Britnee N. Timberlake said in a statement about the vote.

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Christie slams N.J. Democrats for gun veto override attempt

By Brent Johnson | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on October 04, 2015

TRENTON — In the wake of last week's deadly mass shooting at an Oregon community college, Gov. Chris Christie repeated a call Sunday that he's made after similar incidents: Rather than passing stricter gun control laws, the U.S. needs to do "some tough things on mental health."

But this time, the Republican presidential candidate also admonished the Democrats who control New Jersey's state Senate, criticizing them for recently trying to override his veto of a mental health-related gun bill instead of considering his suggestions to strengthen it.

Christie made the comments on ABC's "This Week" four days after a shooter killed nine people and wounded nine others at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., on Thursday. The governor called the incident an "an awful tragedy."

"It's terrible," he said.

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Newark Power Broker Carl Sharif has Died

By Max Pizarro | 09/30/15

PolitickerNJ

 

Carl Sharif, the brainy, hard-nosed South Ward political power broker who helped launch Cory Booker’s career in local politics, has died.

Booker once called Mr. Sharif his “political sensei.”

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Violent crimes drop in Newark, most Essex towns, feds say

By Bill Wichert | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on September 28, 2015

NEWARK — Newark and most of the other Essex County municipalities saw decreases last year in the numbers of violent and property crimes, according to a federal report released on Monday.

The FBI's annual "Crime in the United States" report shows Newark had 3,008 violent crimes in 2014, marking a roughly 14 percent decline from the 3,516 violent crimes recorded in 2013. That decrease in Newark includes a drop in murders from 112 in 2013 to 93 in 2014.

The state's largest city also saw a reduction in the amount of property crimes from 8,965 in 2013 to 7,958 in 2014, the report shows.

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NJ CHARTERS CARRYING SUBSTANTIAL SURPLUS EVEN AS DISTRICTS MAKE CUTS

September 24, 2015

Education Law Center

edlawcenter.org

An Education Law Center analysis of the most recently available, audited school budgets shows many New Jersey charter schools carry a significant amount of surplus fund balance. Based on 2013-14 budget data, charter schools statewide have over $100 million in fund balance, with $87 million of that amount in “unrestricted” surplus funds. 

Fund balance refers to the difference between a district or charter school’s assets and liabilities, or the difference between revenues and expenditures.  Both school districts and charter schools carry fund balances in their budgets to address emergencies or other unforeseen occurrences. 

Fund balances are divided into restricted and unrestricted portions. Restricted funds are designated for specific purposes, such as maintenance, tuition or capital reserves.  Unrestricted funds can be appropriated as needed.

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NJ’s Minimum-Wage Workers Won’t Be Getting Automatic Increase This Year

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Explainer: American Dream Starting to Come True in the Meadowlands?

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100 Most Dangerous Towns In New Jersey

By September 17, 2015

patch.com

 

Your town may not have the most violent crime. But it could still have a high violent crime rate.

Using information published recently by New Jersey Monthly, Patch identified the 100 most dangerous New Jersey towns - those with the highest violent crime rates based on reported violent crimes per 1,000 residents.

The information was published in New Jersey Monthly’s ranking of 510 of the state’s 565 municipalities. New Jersey Monthly’s 2015 list, compiled by researchers at Leflein Associates, an independent research firm based in Ringwood, dropped towns with a population under 1,500 because of the lack of statistically significant data.

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Dead last: NJ debt hits $52,300 per taxpayer, study shows

By Mark Lagerkvist  /   September 17, 2015

NewJerseyWatchdog.org

 

New Jersey ranks worst in the country for state debt, according to a new nationwide study.

Each state taxpayer would need to pay $52,300 to erase New Jersey’s existing bills — including public pensions and retiree health benefits — reports Truth in Accounting, a think tank in Chicago.

Among “sinkhole states,” New Jersey was followed by Connecticut, $48,600 debt burden per taxpayer; Illinois, $45,000; Kentucky, $32,600; and Massachusetts, $27,400.

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Christie-Cuomo Endorsement Could Put Gateway Rail Tunnel Back on Track

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