It’s Groundhog Day in New Jersey! Murphy keeps repeating himself on budget and government shutdown.

Posted Jun 24, 2019

It’s Groundhog Day in the Garden State.

With only six days left before the deadline for a state budget to be enacted in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday once again did not say publicly what he plans to do with the $38.7 billion state government spending plan that lawmakers sent him last week.

"All options are on the table,” Murphy said during an unrelated news conference at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.

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‘SPIKE’ IN SUICIDE ATTEMPTS BY NJ PRETEENS, GIRLS ESPECIALLY

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NO MATTER HOW NJ BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS GO, NOTABLE TAX BREAKS IN CARDS

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Panel probing tax incentives has ties to political boss at center of investigation, group charges

Updated Jun 23, 2019

A group of activists filed an ethics complaint Friday with the Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards in connection with the special Senate committee investigating New Jersey’s controversial economic development program — saying five of its seven members had ties to George E. Norcross III.

They said the connections, some professional and others personal, represented a conflict. Norcross is the Democratic powerbroker whose companies and related business entities received millions in state tax incentives now a focus of a separate investigation by a governor’s special task force into the incentives and the state Economic Development Authority.

The Senate committee had been scheduled to open public hearings on the tax incentives and the EDA on Monday, but the session was postponed late Friday because of the ongoing state budget negotiations.

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So will your state government shut down now that Dems have defied Murphy on the budget? Governor refuses to say.

Updated Jun 21, 2019

Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday refused to say whether he would shut down New Jersey’s government in his quest for a millionaires tax or if he would sign the state budget passed by lawmakers by the June 30 deadline.

At a Friday afternoon news conference in Trenton less than 24 hours after the Democratic-controlled state Legislature sent him a $38.7 billion budget he said is loaded with pork and based on distorted tax revenues, the Democratic governor stressed again that “everything is on the table.”

But in his opening remarks, Murphy said that “within the next nine days I will meet my constitutional responsibility to enact a balanced budget, ” — which would assure government would stay open and avoid the kind of down-to-the-wire political brawl that brought the state to the brink of a shutdown last year.

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Contraception bill ignites sharp debate over religion, insurance — and 2 men discussing women’s health

Updated Jun 20, 2019

On what was likely its last voting session until November, the state Assembly on Thursday was plowing through more than 100 bills without so much as a break.

Then it hit a buzzsaw of a debate over the cost of contraceptives. The tense debate at the Statehouse in Trenton went back and forth over reproductive rights and religious freedom. And it grew even more heated when a female lawmaker observed that she found it odd that two male lawmakers were debating women’s health.

It all stemmed from a bill, (A5508) that would require private insurers and the benefits plans for state employees and teachers to cover the cost of contraceptives. It’s a benefit already enshrined in the Affordable Care Act, but the landmark federal health care law is facing a court challenge, and the steady attacks by President Donald Trump’s administration.

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WITH VOTES TO SPARE, DEMS PASS $38.7B BUDGET, NO BOOST IN MILLIONAIRES TAX

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COMPROMISE REACHED TO EXPAND NJ’S MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAW

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Murphy threatens Democrats who refuse to send him the millionaires tax he wants

Posted Jun 19, 2019

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy issued his strongest threat yet Wednesday to New Jersey’s Democratic-controlled state Legislature: Without tax increases, I’m prepared to slash spending items you want.

In a letter to lawmakers, Murphy warned that if they continue with their current plan to send him a state budget that lacks his proposal to increase income taxes on the state’s millionaires, or if they don’t agree to raise any other taxes, then he’ll consider line-item vetoes on the Legislature’s $38.7 billion proposed budget.

“So let me be clear, if this budget contains the revenue for your added spending, I will work with you,” Murphy wrote a day before the Legislature is set to vote on their budget.

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Booker goes after Biden, saying he owes ‘immediate apology’ for praising segregationist senators

Posted Jun 19, 2019

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Cory Booker took a shot at Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden on Wednesday, saying the former vice president owes “an immediate apology for the pain” he caused by praising two segregationist senators.

Booker’s comments came after Biden cited his relationships with former U.S. Sens. James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia, two ardent segregationists, as evidence of his ability to work with lawmakers even if he didn’t agree with their positions.

“Vice President Biden’s relationships with proud segregationists are not the model for how we make America a safer and more inclusive place for black people, and for everyone,” Booker, D-N.J., said in a statement.

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