Murphy says if he doesn’t get a N.J. millionaires tax, he may not sign state budget

Updated May 23, 2019

Gov. Phil Murphy all but said Thursday he won’t sign another state budget unless it includes a tax hike on those who earn more than $1 million a year in New Jersey.

Murphy declared he’s done “stumbling” from one budget agreement to another each year as he put his foot down for a tax increase on the state’s top earners to help pump more money into education, transportation public-worker pensions and property taxes.

If he sticks to his position, the Democratic governor sets the stage for a state government shutdown if the top leaders of the Democratic-controlled state Legislature continue to oppose the millionaires tax by the July 1 budget deadline.

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NJ Spotlight

Gov. Phil Murphy makes the case for expanding tuition-free community college.


Gov. Phil Murphy hit the road yesterday to pitch his plan to expand a tuition-free community college p

rogram that won wide praise from education officials after it was launched last year, but has also drawn serious skepticism from some lawmakers.

At an event held in Mount Laurel on the campus of Rowan College at Burlington County, the governor made the case for a more than doubling of the program’s state funding — to help make it a yearlong offering for students at all 19 community colleges in the state.

Detailing her own personal experience with the program was 24-year-old Erin Finter, a RCBC student from Medford who said the state funding allowed her to remain enrolled in classes.

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Video of New Jersey Teenager’s Violent Arrest Prompts Protests


Lying on the pavement of a parking lot, Cyprian Luke’s face reddened as an officer’s hand clamped his throat.

“Put your hands behind your back!” the officer shouted, then punched Mr. Luke twice in the temple.

By the time Mr. Luke, 19, was dragged to a police cruiser, his mouth and face were bloody and raw.

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Camden companies that got tax credits worth millions must divulge who they’re hiring, what they’re giving back to the community, NAACP leader says

Posted May 22, 2019

By Star-Ledger Guest Columnist

By Kevin Barfield

The state's Economic Development Authority gave Holtec International $260 million in tax breaks in 2014 to move to Camden. Holtec's CEO recently said the company is losing millions and called Camden workers lazy. The NAACP has since asked for the company's employment data. On Tuesday, the NAACP said they still had not received the documents.


As the fight over New Jersey’s lucrative corporate tax incentives rages on in Trenton, local advocates here in Camden are forced to ask how they have benefited our communities.

The short answer: We have our doubts.

When former Gov. Chris Christie joined with legislative Democrats to pass the Economic Opportunity Act in 2013, political leaders like George Norcross promised that the law would herald a new day for Camden by driving growth and new opportunities in our impoverished city.

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Newark Police Officer Is Charged in Shooting Death of Fleeing Driver

A grand jury indicted a Newark police officer on Tuesday on charges that he repeatedly shot at a fleeing vehicle during a chase, killing the driver and wounding a passenger.

According to the Essex County prosecutor, the 26-year-old officer fired at the fleeing vehicle at three separate locations during the Jan. 28 pursuit, after the driver, Gregory C. Griffin, 46, sped off from a traffic stop.

The indictment comes three months after both the Essex County prosecutor and the Newark public safety director said they had “serious concerns” about the conduct of the officer, Jovanny Crespo, during the chase and suspended him without pay.

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MAGA: Making Asbestos Great Again? | Editorial

Posted May 20, 2019

Asbestos, which most people falsely assume has already been banned, still causes thousands of deaths a year. A study last year found nearly 40,000 Americans die annually from diseases related to its exposure – more than gun violence or traffic accidents.

Government regulators seemed poised to ban it for good. Then President Trump got elected. Our safety now rests in the delicate hands of a man who’s called routine vaccinations dangerous, and heavily restricted asbestos “100 percent safe.” Rest easy, kids.

In fact, asbestos is one of the leading causes of lung cancer in America. But don’t tell that to the federal agency whose mission it is to protect our health, which Trump has stocked with powerful industry insiders.

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Baraka Stumps for Land Bank Bill in Trenton

Mayor Ras Baraka testifies in Trenton

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka today called a proposed bill that would create a data system of city-owned property up for sale a "key tool" to help municipalities burdened with vacant and abandoned properties.

Baraka testified at a state Assembly Appropriations Committee in Trenton to show support for the municipal land bank bill. The legislation allows a municipality to designate a nonprofit or redevelopment entity to act as a land bank to the city. 

“In the City of Newark alone we have over 1,000 vacant and abandoned properties,” Baraka said. “While these properties have been abandoned for years, the consequences are unbearable for the residents that live around them." 

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When social justice is torpedoed by political dysfunction: Murphy, Sweeney, and marijuana laws | Editorial

Posted May 19, 2019

The legalization of recreational marijuana should have been a two-inch putt. It came with everything Trenton could love, including political pragmatism, public approbation, economic incentive, and moral imperatives.

Now it’s political dust, because two powerful Democrats decided it was more important to snarl at each other like a pair of over-caffeinated Rottweilers.

So for at least two years, when the voters will presumably take the legalization matter out of their hands via ballot measure, we are left with this:

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‘Bring it on!’ Murphy task force lawyer scoffs at Democratic power broker’s lawsuit threat.

Updated May 17, 2019

Those being targeted in an ongoing investigation of New Jersey’s controversial tax incentive programs insist that Gov. Phil Murphy’s task force behind the inquiry is itself illegal, and have threatened legal action against the state.

Task force attorneys, meanwhile, aren’t worried about any potential lawsuit.

“Bring it on,” declared Jim Walden, a New York-based attorney who serves as special counsel to the task force which has sparked all-out war between Murphy and South Jersey power broker George Norcross, whose business interests appear to have become a central focus of the high-profile investigation.

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Twisted Sister’s anthem used to drown out top N.J. Democrat as he pitches plan on cutting pensions and health benefits

Posted May 16, 2019

They booed. They shouted. They blew whistles at him. They even tried to drown him out with a 1980s hair-metal anthem.

Dozens of angry — very angry — public workers berated New Jersey’s most powerful state lawmaker Thursday night, just hours after he unveiled a controversial package of bills that would scale back government employee pensions and benefits to reduce costs to the state and local governments.

It all started with the audience — packed with public-worker union members — booing as Sweeney took the stage.

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