Essex County College reports favorable financial audit as major milestone

January 8, 2018

TAPintoNEWARK

Essex County College is reporting a favorable annual financial audit and says the report is a step in the right direction to remove itself from probation instituted by the Middle States Commission.

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Newark, NJ – Essex County College is reporting a clean bill of health on its annual financial audit.

The audit, completed last month by certified public accounting and auditing firm PKF O’Connor Davies, found no material weaknesses in the college’s internal controls and found ECC to be in compliance with all federal and state sponsored programs. In addition, the college says that all material weaknesses found in the 2016 audit have been corrected.

Although the audit does not affect accreditation, the college hopes that the clean audit finding will contribute to demonstrating compliance with accreditation, according to a college spokesperson.

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Outgoing Governor Approves Array of Healthcare Programs

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New Jersey Legislature Moves Forward With Plan to Attract Amazon’s HQ2

By Alyana Alfaro • 01/05/18

Observer

Will New Jersey become Amazon’s latest hub?

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A bill that could provide billions of dollars of state tax credits to Amazon if the company decides to locate its second headquarters in New Jersey cleared two legislative committees on Friday, paving the way for a vote in both houses of the Legislature next week.

According to estimates from the New Jersey Senate, Amazon’s second headquarters could bring between 30,000 and 50,000 jobs to the state and generate $10 billion in direct and indirect economic activity. In order to woo the corporate giant, New Jersey’s bill (S3631/A5340) would make Amazon eligible for $10,000 in tax breaks annually for each full-time job created by putting the headquarters in New Jersey.

“This is an opportunity to create good paying jobs and to generate long term economic growth for New Jersey,” said Senator Ray Lesniak (D-Union), one of the Senate co-sponsors of the legislation. “We should go for it. We possess the assets that will allow Amazon to thrive with a skilled workforce, a quality transportation infrastructure, the best research universities in the country and, a strategic location. By presenting Amazon with a specific plan showcasing our strengths and offering tangible incentives, we put New Jersey in a very strong competitive position.”

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New Jersey Is Last State to Insist at Gas Stations: Don’t Touch That Pump

At 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, New Jersey became the last state in the nation where drivers are not allowed to pump their own gasoline around the clock.

That is when Oregon, the only other holdover from the full-service era of the 1970s, loosened its restrictions. Its new law allows residents of most counties with fewer than 40,000 people to fuel up their cars themselves.

That leaves Jersey, only Jersey, with its dense tangle of highways and byways, its turnpike rest stops named for state luminaries and its status as the home of the first drive-in theater, as the sole state where it is illegal everywhere to fill your own tank 24 hours a day.

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Trump and the tunnels under the Hudson: Beggars can't be choosers | Mulshine

Posted Jan 4, 2018

 

Donald Trump and Phil Murphy may be political opposites, but they have a couple things in common.

Both made a fortune in New York before going into politics. And both face a big problem when it comes to infrastructure: They want to do lots of things but they have little money.

In Trump's case, his vaunted plan to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure has run aground on the reef of reality. That's because it relied on the idea of the public-private partnership.

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Brendan Byrne, Former New Jersey Governor, Is Dead at 93

Brendan T. Byrne, the former New Jersey governor who helped lure professional teams to a new sports colossus in the Meadowlands and won passage of the state’s first income tax, a feat that prompted some pundits and pollsters to write his political obituary prematurely, died on Thursday. He was 93.

His death was announced by Gov. Chris Christie, who did not say where Mr. Byrne died or provide any other details.

A Democrat, Mr. Byrne could be a controversial governor and in many ways a contradictory man. Sometimes he spoke in a distracted monotone; other times he displayed an easy, self-deprecating wit.

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Murphy fails his first test, and unions rejoice | Editorial

Posted Jan 3, 2018

 

Phil Murphy, who takes office in 13 days, has officially downgraded his position on the arbitration cap issue from strategic silence to disheartening dodge. 

Fair or not, the legislative inaction on restoring a 2-percent limit on police and firefighter salary hikes puts this policy gorilla squarely in the lap of the governor-elect.

And if this is his first governing test, he's failing.

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Did Trump Kill the Plan for a Hudson Rail Tunnel? Its Backers Hope Not

Building a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River between New York City and New Jersey has been one of the nation’s top infrastructure priorities for several years. But transportation officials in the region entered the new year wondering if President Trump had decided to block the plan just as work was getting started.

The latest wrench thrown in the gears of the project, known as the Gateway Program, came Friday afternoon in the form of a letter that scuttled a funding agreement for the first phase of the project, which was estimated to cost about $11 billion. Amtrak and the states of New York and New Jersey had hoped that the federal government would cover half of that cost, but a Trump administration official disputed that notion, calling any such agreement “nonexistent.”

The letter, from K. Jane Williams, the acting administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, came just weeks after the governors of the two states outlined how they might pay for the other half of constructing a tunnel with two tracks to carry trains between Manhattan and New Jersey. The tunnel, which would supplement a pair built more than a century ago, is considered critical to maintaining a rail link between New York City and points to the south and west, including Washington.

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2% Cap on Annual Raises for Police, Firefighters Dies as Democrats Take No Action

Gov. Chris Christie isn’t due to leave office for another two weeks, but Democratic legislative leaders have already let one of his key property-tax reforms fall by the wayside.

By not taking action before the start of the new year, lawmakers have allowed to expire a cap on the annual raises that an arbitrator can give to police officers and professional firefighters in New Jersey to resolve contract disputes with local governments.

Christie signed the arbitration cap into law during his first term in office as part of his “toolkit” that was aimed at controlling property-tax growth. Despite the cap’s esoteric nature, some members of a special task force that was set up to study the effectiveness of the reform have maintained it has had a huge impact on keeping down property taxes, a top concern in New Jersey.

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Bhalla becomes first Sikh mayor in Hoboken and N.J.

HOBOKEN -- Ravinder S. Bhalla, an attorney and former councilman, was sworn in as Hoboken's 39th mayor Monday afternoon, pledging in his inaugural address to focus on core governmental functions, oversee infrastructure projects and rid Mile Square City of the semi-annual bar crawls that he called a "menace."

Bhalla, 43, was elected the state's first Sikh mayor in November. The historic win was mentioned frequently during today's inauguration, held in front of a crowd of about 700 in the auditorium of Hoboken High School.

In his inaugural speech, Bhalla referenced a rash of racially motivated attacks on Indian Americans in Hudson County in 1987, one of them a fatal beating of a Jersey City man in Hoboken.

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