New Jersey Governor Promises No State (or Beach) Shutdown

By Nick Corasaniti

THE NEW YORK TIMES

June 27, 2019

A budget showdown between Gov. Philip D. Murphy and legislative leaders threatened a state shutdown that would have closed Island Beach State Park.

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In New Jersey, a nasty fight among top Democratic elected leaders threatened to ruin escapes to the Jersey Shore.

A new state budget is due by midnight Sunday. Without one the state would shut down, closing, among many other things, Island State Beach Park, a 10-mile stretch of sand along the Atlantic Ocean that’s a popular destination in the summer.

But on Thursday, Gov. Philip D. Murphy, who has been quarreling with fellow Democrats in the Legislature, announced that the state would meet its deadline and avoid a shutdown.

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New Jersey dug its own hole, former legislator says. Now, it’s time to climb out.

Posted Jun 27, 2019

By Gordon MacInnes

 

Twenty-five years ago, New Jersey was just one of eight states that enjoyed Wall Street’s highest AAA credit rating. How times have changed!

Today, only Illinois suffers from a lower rating. But for some reason, New Jersey’s political leadership seems anxious to claim the title as the nation’s Least Responsibly-Financed State Government.

How could any state’s leaders act willfully to increase its unfunded liabilities, and thereby increase the bill to taxpayers by hundreds of millions of dollars? It’s easy! Few citizens understand the complexities of public finance, but all voters notice increased taxes, be they local property taxes or state income, sales and gasoline taxes.

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Why the Democratic Takeover in New Jersey Is More Civil War Than Progressive Revolution

By Nick Corasaniti

THE NEW YORK TIMES

June 26, 2019

Gov. Philip D. Murphy has been engaged in a battle with Democratic legislative leaders that has stalled many of his signature proposals, including the legalization of marijuana.

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On paper, Democrats in New Jersey have rarely commanded so much power: They control the governor’s office and both chambers of the Legislature, and a liberal surge last November nearly wiped congressional Republicans off the map. Just one G.O.P. lawmaker remains in the state’s 14-member delegation.

Yet the state finds itself in crisis, paralyzed by an intraparty war between the governor and other top Democrats, and a legislative session that has yielded relatively modest results in a state that is tilting more liberal.

The governor, Philip D. Murphy, and Democratic legislative leaders have had testy relations since the start of Mr. Murphy’s tenure two years ago, fueled in part by clashes in personalities and management styles. Their differences have made it difficult to forge agreements, and now a fight over the governor’s push to tax the wealthy, among other issues, could shut down the state. Rancor over the state budget erupted into all-out war on Wednesday, with accusations of duplicity and tantrums.

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LAWMAKERS WANT EMERGENCY FUNDS FOR STRUGGLING HOSPITAL

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Tolls From New Jersey Into New York May Increase (Again)

By Patrick McGeehan

THE NEW YORK TIMES

June 25, 2019

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is planning to raise tolls on its bridges and tunnels by at least $1, including on the George Washington Bridge. 

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Drivers bound for New York City already pay some of the highest bridge and tunnel tolls in the country. After next year they will also have to pay a congestion fee to enter the busiest parts of Manhattan.

But even before that fee goes into effect, the cost of traveling into and around New York may go up as part of a plan by the agency that operates the main airports in the region and the bridges and tunnels that connect New York and New Jersey.

Those new or increased charges would come ahead of — and possibly in addition to — New York’s congestion pricing plan.

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Top Dems want to force Murphy to close 2 prisons, send more inmates to halfway houses.

Posted Jun 25, 2019

The state budget lawmakers sent to Gov. Phil Murphy would pressure his administration to reshape New Jersey’s prison system, calling for the closure of two of the state’s 13 prisons and cutting the corrections department budget by more than $40 million.

Language inserted by state legislators would also seek to divert an additional 1,000 prisoners into halfway houses, a nearly 40 percent increase.

The budget proposal comes amid tension between the first-term Democratic governor and legislative leaders from his own party. Murphy has refused to say exactly what he’ll do about the budget lawmakers sent him, which he must act on by Sunday to avoid a government shutdown.

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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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