the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Fort Lee NJ, A former top official of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for his role in a scheme to punish the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, by misusing Port Authority resources to cause traffic problems in the borough, Attorney for the United States Mark Coyne announced.
William E. Baroni Jr., 47, formerly the deputy executive director of the Port Authority, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court.
Continue reading Door Closes on “Bridgegate”
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Old Bridge NJ, tone deaf Middlesex County Republican organization invited former Governors Tom Kean , Chris Christie and Christine Todd Whitman to headline the Forsgate Country Club fund raiser event. The planned participation of former Governor Christine Todd Whitman, who recently expressed her hope that Republicans would lose Congress, and that president Trump should resign had drawn strong criticism from many party leaders and activists.
Continue reading Rogers and Rullo declare victory as former Governor Whitman is Dropped from Middlesex County Fundraiser
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Trenton NJ, late afternoon meetings gave some hope that a budget deal would be reached , the Democratic controlled legislature will now move forward with its own budget.
Talks with the Governor appear to have collapsed for the moment.
“The Governor’s doing a press conference alone, that should tell you something,” a statehouse source said and at the press conference Governor Phil Murphy to blame the Christie Administration, saying ,”Unfortunately the legislature seems intent on keeping the legacy of Chris Christie intact in Trenton,”
Speaker Craig Coughlin went back to his caucus to report the news were he told his members he’s going forward with the alternative budget pushed by state Democrats .
For their part Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick and Assemblyman Tony Bucco said , “Our caucus is united,We won’t vote for a tax increase. [They] can call it anything they want.
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, Transgender students at New Jersey’s public schools were given new layers of protection under a bill that Gov. Chris Christie signed into law Friday.
The legislation know as (S3067/A4652), takes effect immediately and requires the state education commissioner to draft specific guidelines to help schools like Ridgewood address “the needs” of transgender students and establish policies that “ensure a supportive and nondiscriminatory environment” for those students.
Transgender students are now able to use bathrooms or locker rooms that coincide with their “gender identity”.
Schools will be mandated to provide “reasonable alternative arrangements if needed to ensure a student’s safety and comfort.”
Schools will also be required to make sure transgender students are addressed by the name and pronoun they prefer, regardless of whether a legal name change has occurred.
file photo by ArtChick
by Elise Young
April 17, 2017, 4:39 PM EDT
Power loss follows two derailments, taxing regional railroads
Despite governor’s comment, cause of weekend incident unclear
Governor Chris Christie blamed Amtrak for a holiday-weekend travel meltdown on New Jersey’s commuter train line, though the federal passenger railroad said it was the state’s fault this time.
As many as 1,200 New Jersey Transit passengers were stranded on April 14 in a tunnel beneath the Hudson River aboard a train that had lost power. A statement emailed by Christie’s office on Monday attributed the incident to Amtrak, which owns the tracks, calling it an example of the railroad’s “failure to adequately maintain its facilities.’’
The investigation so far, though, was “inconclusive’’ about a cause, according to Steve Santoro, New Jersey Transit’s executive director, who spoke to reporters in Hoboken on Monday. Santoro was there to show lawmakers damage caused by a fatal New Jersey Transit crash in September.
Mike Tolbert, an Amtrak spokesman, said its infrastructure wasn’t at fault and “the preliminary cause appears to be a NJ Transit mechanical problem involving the train’s pantograph,” or power collector.
By Salvador Rizzo • 04/10/17 4:50pm
Gov. Chris Christie. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Gov. Chris Christie’s administration is holding meetings with New Jersey public-worker unions on a plan to merge the state lottery with the ailing pension system, and legislation could be introduced early next month, Christie said Monday.
The merger would be complex, since it would involve converting the nearly $1 billion a year state lottery into an asset of the $71 billion pension system.
And the effect would be dramatic. By Christie’s estimates, in one fell swoop, the retirement system would go from a funded ratio of 49 percent to a much healthier 65 percent, providing more stability for the nearly 800,000 workers and retirees who are beneficiaries.
By Sergio Bichao March 27, 2017 7:39 PM
Gov. Chris Christie told the mayors of the state’s two largest cities to “have at it” by declaring themselves “sanctuary” cities after the Trump administration once again threatened to cut federal funding.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday said such cities — which refuse to use municipal resources to enforce federal immigration laws — risk losing grants that already have been awarded.
“People should just comply with the law,” Christie said Monday during his monthly appearance on New Jersey 101.5’s “Ask The Governor.”
After Trump signed an executive order in January that would defund cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities, Christie advised municipalities to take Trump at his word.
Christie also has vowed to veto any measure that would use state dollars to reimburse sanctuary cities for lost federal funds.
On Monday he called Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka by name.
“If they engage in voluntary conduct — which means sanctuary city is not mandated by the state; it’s voluntary conduct — then they think it’s important enough for their taxpayers to pick up the tab. Their call.
“Mayor Fulop, Mayor Baraka — have at it.”
Read More: Christie dares NJ sanctuary cities to risk losing federal funds | http://nj1015.com/christie-dares-nj-sanctuary-cities-to-risk-losing-federal-funds/?trackback=tsmclip
“We’re actually now over-performing the rest of the country, and I would suggest to you that the reason that there is that lag is because New Jersey is still a very expensive place to work and do business, and if the legislature had been willing to do other tax cuts and other measures that I put and recommended on property taxes and income taxes, perhaps we’d be in even better shape and it would’ve happened even faster. But, we’re certainly better off than we were from 2001 to 2009, when there was zero net private-sector job growth during a time” Governor Chris Christie
By KATHERINE LANDERGAN
03/13/17 03:08 PM EDT
Gov. Chris Christie on Monday heralded the state’s fiscal health as new figures showed New Jersey last year experienced the largest spike in private sector job growth since 2000.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the state gained 60,800 private sector jobs last year, meaning New Jersey recovered all of the jobs it lost during the recession, and then added another 65,000 jobs.
“This didn’t happen by accident,” Christie, a Republican, said at a press conference in Englewood Cliffs. “The tax cuts we put in place, holding the line on other taxes, the 2 percent property tax cap — all of these things are bearing fruit.”
Christie also said the state has shown strong gains in construction, the tourism industry, and the number of new businesses filings, and has seen a decline in foreclosures.
“It’s great news for the state and we should stop the drumbeat that somehow New Jersey is underperforming from a jobs perspective,” he said.
The incumbent could not be much less popular, and so New Jersey Republicans could go way outside the lines for an “outsider.”
It would be an understatement, and not at all a comment on the New Jersey governor’s girth, to say that Chris Christie casts a large shadow over this year’s election to select his successor. For eight years he has dominated his state’s politics, first as a successful bipartisan “problem-solver” with a knack for making his opponents look bad, and then a scandal-plagued punching bag and early lame duck. Until just over a year ago, his ambitions for higher office obscured his steadily declining status back home, aside from the “Bridgegate” scandal that dogged his presidential campaign. But then his close association with Donald Trump defined his national profile, and when Trump surprisingly won, it was widely assumed Christie was headed to Washington in some capacity.
Now, after being passed over for the attorney general gig he supposedly craved, leading him to turn down less exalted posts, Christie looks likely to stick out the last year of his governorship. But he may have thoroughly worn out his welcome in New Jersey. His job approval ratio fell to an abysmal 17/78 in a Quinnipiac survey at the end of January. His own lieutenant governor and the most likely Republican to succeed him, Kim Guadagno, has been trying desperately to distance herself from her former mentor and political sponsor. Another competitive GOP candidate for governor, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, hasn’t had to do that because he’s long fought Christie, and even called for his resignation for spending too much time outside the state.
Christie’s successor will face budget challenges
Published March 04, 2017
TRENTON, N.J. – Republican Chris Christie’s final budget as New Jersey governor has not yet passed through the Democrat-controlled Legislature, but already fiscal woes that could result in program cutbacks or higher taxes are on the horizon for whoever who succeeds him.
Christie unveiled a $35.5 billion 2018 spending blueprint on Tuesday without proposing tax increases or slashes to programs, but tax cuts enacted under his watch, a ballooning pension payment and mandated education spending will saddle his successor with challenging budget decisions.
Christie can’t run for re-election because of term limits. None of the leading Democratic and Republican candidates running to succeed him has unveiled his or her own prospective budget. While they’ve already begun to signal how they might approach the looming problems, it’s difficult to tell exactly how they would balance the budget.
A closer look at the issue:
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
Topping the list of issues is an estimated $1.1 billion hole from the reduction of the sales tax and phase-out of the estate tax that Christie and lawmakers agreed to last year as part of a deal on funding transportation.
Next year’s budget will also confront the prospect of a roughly $1.5 billion increase in the pension payment, if the current schedule is adhered to. And then there’s the school-spending formula approved by the Supreme Court that Christie failed to fund over seven years to the tune of about $1 billion a year.
There’s also significant uncertainty surrounding what could happen to federal aid the state gets, including more than $4 billion a year from the expansion of Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act. President Donald Trump and Republican-led Congress promise to repeal and replace the law.