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Eying a White House bid, New Jersey’s Chris Christie faces economic challenges at home

New Jersey Governor Christie gives news conference in Trenton

Eying a White House bid, New Jersey’s Chris Christie faces economic challenges at home

NEWARK, N.J. — As he casts his eye toward a potential presidential bid, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie must also take on some work at home. First up: a statewide address expected to touch on nagging economic issues that could complicate his political plans.

Observers expect Christie to use his fifth State of the State address on Tuesday to define his tenure as governor on his own terms, while not missing the chance to articulate his rationale for a potential run for president. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

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New Jersey ranks 48th in return on taxes

Cory Booker, Robert Menendez

New Jersey ranks 48th in return on taxes

JANUARY 2, 2015, 11:19 PM    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 2, 2015, 11:25 PM

New Jersey residents and businesses paid nearly $37 billion more in federal taxes than the government sent back to the state in 2013, the second-biggest deficit in the country, new data compiled by a non-profit group show.

Another way of looking at the numbers: For every $1 paid to the Internal Revenue Service, the state got back only 68 cents in federal largess, ranking the state 48th in the nation.

It’s a picture New Jersey has seen before. And it’s not going to change anytime soon, many analysts say.

The reason has much to do with the relative wealth of New Jerseyans, compared with their counterparts in other states, officials say; the federal tax system imposes higher rates on larger incomes, and the federal social-service network directs much of its money to programs for the poor, creating the gap.

“It’s true New Jersey pays more than it gets back per person, but if you look at states at the other end of the spectrum, such as Mississippi, which is one of the most poverty-stricken, it’s much better to be in New Jersey’s position,” said Lindsay Koshgarian, the research director for the National Priorities Project, which published the latest data.

Mississippi received $4.89 in federal spending for every $1 it paid in taxes, the highest rate of any state, The Record’s analysis of the group’s data found.

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Report: NJ at back of the pack for jobs growth


Report: NJ at back of the pack for jobs growth


A private sector employment report showing the nation has added jobs at a healthy clip since the start of the year also shows just how far behind New Jersey remains in the economic recovery.

The nation added 208,000 private sector jobs in November, taking the total added to 2.26 million this year, according to the monthly survey released Wednesday by ADP Research Institute, a division of Roseland-based payroll company ADP.

The employment increase of about 2 percent for the year so far, very close to the official government figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is the latest evidence that the recovery from the Great Recession is continuing at a good pace.

Meanwhile, New Jersey’s private sector employment has increased by slightly more than a third of that amount – just over 0.7 percent – as several key sectors have lost jobs this year, according to the state’s latest employment report, which covers the year through October. The sectors in which New Jersey’s private employment has fallen this year included construction, manufacturing and leisure and hospitality.

New Jersey lagged in particular in the “goods producing” sector, which has fallen by just over 1.1 percent so far this year, losing about 4,200 jobs, compared to a gain of 1.86 percent nationwide, according to the ADP report.

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New Jersey improves high school graduation rates


New Jersey improves high school graduation rates

DECEMBER 3, 2014, 12:16 PM    LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2014, 9:28 AM

A small arts-themed high school in Paterson and a large Bergen County magnet school had perfect graduation rates in 2014 and were the only schools in their counties to achieve that distinction in a year when graduation rates went up across North Jersey, reflecting a statewide trend, according to state data released on Wednesday.

Across New Jersey, 88.6 percent of students who entered high school in 2010 graduated last spring, up about one percentage point from the year before. Throughout the state, minorities and low-income students had larger gains than the average student, but the achievement gaps remained wide.

The largest gains were in places like Paterson, Garfield, Cliffside Park and Passaic that are lower-income, urban and home to many immigrants. Those districts have made targeted efforts to help more students graduate by creating smaller schools, using more support staff and allowing failing students to make up credit via online classes, among other methods. Graduation rates at many smaller suburban districts stayed mostly steady, with only tiny gains or dips, largely because they have had strong graduation rates for years.

In Bergen and Passaic counties, a 100 percent graduation rate was achieved at two high-performing, but very different high schools.

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Governor Chris Christie Declares State of Emergency As Winter Storm Hits New Jersey


file photo

Governor Chris Christie Declares State of Emergency As Winter Storm Hits New Jersey

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Trenton, NJ – With Winter Storm Cato expected to impede transportation and travel throughout New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie today declared a State of Emergency, authorizing the State Director of Emergency Management to activate and coordinate the preparation, response and recovery efforts for the storm with all county and municipal emergency operations and governmental agencies. Commuters are asked to use extreme caution while traveling across the state.

“Today’s storm is expected to produce travel hazards and potentially cause power outages throughout the state,” said Governor Christie. “I’ve authorized state officials to take all necessary action to prepare, and my Administration will continue monitoring conditions throughout the remainder of the storm. With higher than normal traffic volume due to the Thanksgiving holiday, I strongly encourage all New Jerseyans to drive carefully so that they and their families arrive safely at their destinations. “

Already affecting parts of the state, Winter Storm Cato is expected to continue into the evening, bringing rain, snow, mixed precipitation, and strong winds.

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Republicans perform better across New Jersey


Scott Garrett won by an even larger margin than last time

Republicans perform better across New Jersey

Geoff Mulvhill, Associated Press4:35 p.m. EST November 5, 2014

In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s election, some polls indicated that a couple of longtime New Jersey Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives may have been at risk for an upset.

In both the 2nd and 5th Districts, the Democratic challengers were running more sophisticated and expensive campaigns than hopefuls usually mount there. And in both cases, the incumbents said they were confident that they would withstand the challenges —though they dug deeper into their campaign coffers to do it.

Not only did Reps. Frank LoBiondo and Scott Garrett retain their seats, they did so by wider margins than two years ago.

That held true across the state. Republicans held onto all six New Jersey congressional seats they won in 2012 and did so by bigger victory margins as measured by percentage points.

Even in the 3rd District, where Democrats thought they had a realistic chance of gaining a seat as Republican Rep. Jon Runyan did not seek re-election, Republican Tom MacArthur not only defeated Democrat Aimee Belgard, but did so with a bigger percentage margin than Runyan had in his re-election last time.

Democrats also won six New Jersey districts. But according to preliminary data returns, they had closer margins than two years ago.

None of the vote counts are final, and two districts had enough precincts not reported by Wednesday afternoon that it was possible that the trend of improved GOP election performance would not ultimately hold everywhere in the state.

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Something stinks in New Jersey: Cory Booker and ‘Watershed-gate’


Something stinks in New Jersey: Cory Booker and ‘Watershed-gate’

By Roger Stone

Published October 29, 2014

Not long ago, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker was, according to some Democrats and media talking heads, Obama 2.0. The tall, photogenic Booker was going to be our next African-American president, we were told.

Booker bounded to the U.S. Senate in a special election after Gov. Chris Christie declined to appoint a Republican who would run for the seat, a stunning act of bad faith that conservatives should not forget in 2016.

Booker is Senator for the Facebook age. The Rhodes Scholar and Yale law grad spends more time in Washington, New York and Hollywood than in gritty Newark.

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New Jersey Rates Worst State for Business Taxes


New Jersey Rates Worst State for Business Taxes 

Ranking the Best and Worst States for Business Taxes

Annual release of the 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index

Washington, DC (Oct 28, 2014)—Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nevada rank among the best business tax climates, while companies in New Jersey, New York, and California struggle with the worst tax codes in the county, according to the newest edition of the Tax Foundation’s annual State Business Tax Climate Index.

The report’s key findings include:

The 10 most competitive states are: Wyoming (#1), South Dakota (#2), Nevada (#3), Alaska (#4), Florida (#5), Montana (#6), New Hampshire (#7), Indiana (#8), Utah (#9) and Texas (#10).
The 10 least competitive states are: New Jersey (#50), New York (#49), California (#48), Minnesota (#47), Vermont (#46), Rhode Island (#45), Ohio (#44), Wisconsin (#43), Connecticut (#42), and Iowa (#41).
The most notable ranking changes occurred in North Carolina, Nebraska, North Dakota, New York, Wisconsin, Maine, and Kansas (see state specific press releases for more details).

The report, now in its 11th edition, measures how well structured each state’s code is by analyzing over 100 tax variables in five different categories: corporate, individual income, sales, property, and unemployment insurance taxes. States are punished for overly complex, burdensome, and economically harmful tax codes, but are rewarded for transparent and neutral tax codes that do not distort business decisions. A state’s ranking can rise or fall significantly based not just on its own actions, but on the changes or reforms made by other states.

Since the last edition, many states have experienced ranking changes largely because of the fundamental reforms made in a handful of states. The most exciting change occurred in North Carolina which experienced the largest rank improvement in the study’s history, jumping from 44th to 16th place due to a fundamental overhaul of state’s tax code. Nebraska, North Dakota, New York, and Wisconsin also improved their tax codes. Conversely, Maine was the only state that saw a significant drop in rank this year due to its increased state sales tax rate.

“The federal government is gridlocked, but state policymakers on both sides of the aisle are enacting truly fundamental reforms,” said Tax Foundation Economist and Manager of State Projects Scott Drenkard.  “States are doing their part and it’s time that Washington steps up.”

The goal of the State Business Tax Climate Index is to start a conversation between taxpayers and policymakers about how their states fare against the rest of the country. This report helps answer the questions: How well is your tax code structured? How competitive is your state compared to the rest of the county? Are businesses in your state spending too much time complying with onerous tax provisions? Are you double taxing things you shouldn’t?

Full Report: 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index

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A Bell-ringer in New Jersey


A Bell-ringer in New Jersey
By George F. Will

Every 36 years, it seems, Jeff Bell disturbs New Jersey’s political order. In 1978, as a 34-year-old apostle of supply-side economics and a harbinger of the Reagan Revolution, he stunned the keepers of the conventional wisdom by defeating a four-term senator, Clifford Case, in the Republican primary. Bell, a Columbia University graduate who fought in Vietnam, lost to Bill Bradley in the 1978 general election, but in 1982 he went to Washington to help implement President Reagan’s economic policies that produced five quarters of above 7 percent growth and six years averaging 4.6 percent.

Bell, now 70, is back. He won the Republican nomination to run against Sen. Cory Booker, 45, the Democratic former mayor of Newark who last October won a special election to serve the last year of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s term.

New Jersey last voted Republican for president in 1988; in 2012, Barack Obama carried it by 18 points; it has not elected a Republican senator since 1972. Booker, who has raised more than $16 million, is a prodigy at siphoning money from Wall Street. Bell is running this year’s most penurious Senate campaign, having raised and pretty much spent about $300,000. And this is an expensive state: To reach New Jersey voters, candidates for statewide offices must buy New York and Philadelphia radio and television time, which Bell cannot do.

Yet Booker’s lead is only in the low double digits — 13 points in theRealClearPolitics average of polls. In eight Senate races (Delaware, Hawaii,New Mexico, Oregon, Illinois, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Virginia), Republicans are less competitive than Bell is. If Republican groups had given Bell the money they spent dragging Sen. Thad Cochran to re-nomination in Mississippi, Bell might be hot on Booker’s heels. He could still get there with a modest infusion of campaign contributions: Several polls have shown Booker’s support below 50 percent.

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Audrey Meyers, of The Valley Hospital the Highest Paid Non-Profit hospital CEO in New Jersey?


Audrey Meyers, of The Valley Hospital the Highest Paid Non-Profit hospital CEO in New Jersey?

From the article ; Medical millionaires: The compensation packages of hospital heads are drawing attention by Beth Fitzgerald , Among other notable 2012 paychecks for New Jersey hospital system CEOs:

Such salary figures are not limited to the heads of giant health care systems. NJBIZ found the leaders of other well-known hospitals around the state earned similar salaries in 2012.

Audrey Meyers, the CEO of The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, earned $2.18 million.

Michael Maron, the CEO of Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, was paid $1.83 million.

Barry S. Rabner, the CEO of Princeton Healthcare System, received $1.35 million.

John T. Gribbin, the CEO of CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, earned $1.2 million.

Gary S. Horan, the CEO of Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, was paid $1.19 million

Douglas Duchak, the former CEO of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, made $999,023.

The compensation comes at a time when the Affordable Care Act has the health care industry searching for ways to cut the ever-expanding cost of care.

Industry insiders will point to this idea as a reason for such salaries, saying these leaders are driving the search for such savings — and doing it at a time when some hospitals in the state are on the verge of bankruptcy and in danger of closing.

The salaries of the hospital heads are not unusual for CEOs in New Jersey. In fact, they are far below what others are earning.

The NJBIZ list of the highest-paid CEOs of public companies lists 25 making more than $7 million annually — and 45 making more than $3 million.

The difference, Berger said, is that these salaries were earned at public for-profit companies.

“I have no problem with people becoming millionaires if they’re not working for a tax-subsidized nonprofit,” he said.

Medical millionaires: The compensation packages of hospital heads are drawing attention

By Beth Fitzgerald
March 5, 2014 at 1:02 PM