Trenton 1936 Washington, D.C. 2020 Deja Vu: Greed Wins as Labor Loses Leverage

By Bob Hennelly | August 9, 2020

Insider NJ

 

The week closed out with the U.S. Congress still locked in dysfunction over how best to address the rapid socio-economic deterioration of our national circumstance.

As our Federal government’s paralysis continues, our state government borrowed almost $10 billion to tide it over.

In one of our neighboring states, the Governor resisted calls to close his multi-billion-dollar budget gap by raising taxes on the wealthy for fear they would opt to flee to another state.

Even leading Democrats like Gov. Cuomo, who would describe himself as a progressive, are concerned about the care, feeding and preservation of his wealthiest denizens, worries that higher taxes for them during this existential crisis would prompt them to quickly leave the Empire State

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With latest executive orders, Trump gets approval from his golf club crowd

BEDMINSTER, N.J. — As White House negotiators and Democrats tried — and failed — to reach a deal that could help the millions of Americans who are unemployed and facing evictions, the man who calls himself a master dealmaker was missing in Washington.

President Donald Trump had retreated at the end of last week to his private club here in New Jersey, where he watched his political troubles mount: His poll numbers against Joe Biden were sliding, and White House negotiators failed to force Democrats to cave and reach a deal that would address the pressing concerns of a nation ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic and exhausted by the economic side effects.

Frustrated by the gridlock and his own grim political news, Trump did what has become routine for the president when he faces political impasse: He ordered his aides to draw up executive actions to sign and asked his team to assemble the press, in an attempt to put a Trumpian spin on the failures back in Washington.

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N.J. has 1 of the worst maternal mortality rates. COVID-19 has made things worse. | Opinion

Posted Aug 09, 2020

By Tammy Murphy and Lisa Asare

New Jersey is ranked 47th in the nation, and for mothers and babies of color, the situation is even more dire. When the global pandemic hit, pregnant women became particularly vulnerable to stress, anxiety, and fear, say First Lady Tammy Murphy and Lisa Asare, the assistant commissioner of Family Health Services in the Department of Health.

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Earlier this year, through the Office of the First Lady’s Nurture NJ initiative, we announced the development of a strategic plan to improve birth outcomes and achieve equity in maternal and infant health. This initiative is of urgent and grave concern, as the United States is ranked 55th in maternal deaths in the world. Worse, New Jersey is ranked 47th in the nation, and for mothers and babies of color, the situation is even more dire.

In fact, a Black woman in New Jersey are nearly five times more likely than a white woman to die from pregnancy -related complications, and a Black baby is three times more likely than a white baby to die before his or her first birthday.

To end this shameful and deadly reality, we set the bold goal of reducing maternal mortality by 50% over five years and eliminating racial disparities in birth outcomes. Since that announcement, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed extraordinary new hurdles in our path — but we have not been deterred.

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Christie slams Murphy for N.J. nursing home deaths

Posted Aug 08, 2020

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recently slammed current Gov. Phil Murphy’s handling of the coronavirus and blamed his successor for nursing home deaths around the state.

“Nearly 16,000 people have died in New Jersey now,” Christie said Friday on Fox News Radio’s “Guy Benson Show.” “Nearly 55% of those deaths happened in the nursing homes, who were ordered by Gov. Phil Murphy to take COVID patients.”

“It was outrageous, it was a mistake with monumental, monumental results,” he said.

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After days without power, New Jerseyans welcome southern utility crews with open arms

Posted Aug 07, 2020

The usual neighborly chatter on Harvard Street in Montclair had a distinctly Southern ring to it Friday, as utility crews who had driven there from Georgia, Alabama and Texas worked to restore power in a state some had never been to before, for customers they said were unusually appreciative of what they do.

“People been real nice, real friendly,” said Keith Jones, a 53-year-old lineman for the Georgia-based utility support company UTec Construction, one of more than a dozen power workers on the block that morning, three days after Tropical Storm Isaias blew through.

Jones, who was on his first visit to New Jersey, said UTec crews had set out on the road even before Tropical Storm Isaias hit in anticipation of outages in Florida, but then yo-yoed back up north to New Jersey after it was clear that’s where they were needed most.

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Last-ditch coronavirus aid talks collapse; no help for jobless now

Posted Aug 07, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — A last-ditch effort by Democrats to revive Capitol Hill talks on vital COVID-19 rescue money collapsed in disappointment Friday, making it increasingly likely that Washington gridlock will mean more hardship for millions of people who are losing enhanced jobless benefits and further damage for an economy pummeled by the still-raging coronavirus.

“It was a disappointing meeting,” declared top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer, saying the White House had rejected an offer by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to curb Democratic demands by about $1 trillion. He urged the White House to “negotiate with Democrats and meet us in the middle. Don’t say it’s your way or no way.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, “Unfortunately we did not make any progress today.” Republicans said Pelosi was relying on budget maneuvers to curb costs and contended she has overplayed her hand.

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Testa and Company go for Broke on Murphy’s Borrowing Plan

By Fred Snowflack | August 6, 2020

Insider NJ

 

Republican state Sen. Mike Testa was on a roll, condemning Phil Murphy’s nearly $10 billion borrowing plan for skirting voter approval, improperly treating borrowed funds as real revenue and not precisely saying how the money would be spent.

But then he was stopped by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.

“In February, one could not foresee the consequences of the COVID 19 pandemic,” Rabner said during Wednesday’s New Jersey Supreme Court hearing via Zoom.

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Landlords Fear Coronavirus Relief for Renters Will Hurt Them

JON HURDLE | AUGUST 7, 2020

NJ  Spotlight

File photo: Boston, June 27, 2020, protesters rally for protection from evictions. Massachusetts’ tenant eviction moratorium is slated to expire in mid-August.

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New Jersey’s landlords say they are already seeing sharply lower rental income because of an executive order that prevents evictions and foreclosures during the coronavirus pandemic, and they fear more financial damage if a bill to extend those protections becomes law.

Representatives of large and small landlords attacked a bill, A-4034/S-2340, as a one-sided attempt to give renters and mortgage borrowers an extended time to pay without the threat of eviction if they have lost their jobs because of the public health crisis. They said the measure gives too little weight to the concerns of landlords, who are bearing many of the financial costs.

The bill’s sponsors say the measure is essential to prevent a wave of homelessness at a time when the state’s unemployment has surged to some 16% of the workforce, or about five times what it was before the pandemic shut down many businesses.

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New Jersey Schools Reopen: Pressure Mounts for Delayed Start

JOHN MOONEY | AUGUST 7, 2020

NJ Spotlight

Coronavirus and schools

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A month out from Labor Day, pressure is mounting for a remote-only opening for New Jersey public schools.

The state’s principals and supervisors association on Thursday made a public appeal, including an NJ Spotlight op-ed, for Gov. Phil Murphy to call for virtual-only instruction to start the year.

“Beginning the school year with statewide remote learning recognizes the critical fact that we simply cannot safeguard our students, our staff and our communities from this highly contagious and lethal virus without the necessary tools to do so,” wrote Patricia Wright, executive director of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association.

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Trump’s cuts in funding for National Guard deployment may cost N.J. $3.5M

Posted Aug 06, 2020

President Donald Trump has decided to stop paying the full cost of deploying New Jersey National Guard troops to help fight the coronavirus, a move that could add $3.5 million to the cash-strapped state’s pandemic bill.

The president said he would continue to allow federal funds to be spent on National Guard troops through the end of the year, but require most states, including New Jersey, to shoulder 25% of the cost after Aug. 21, his original date for ending the deployment.

The White House decision adds another cost to a state already planning to borrow to pay its bills as the coronavirus-caused recession sapped tax collections, and seeking billions of dollars in additional federal aid to make up the loss in revenues.

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