Posted on

Governor Christie Orders Local Governments To Accept Prepayment Of 2018 Property Taxes


December 27,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Governor Chris Christie today signed the following Executive Order:

Executive Order No. 237 – Directs the Director of the Division of Local Government to notify municipalities to accept payments for 2018 property taxes in calendar year 2017 and require them to credit those payments as received in 2017 if the payment is postmarked on or before December 31, 2017.

“The action I took today will ensure that local governments are flexible and accommodating of their local property taxpayers as we transition to the new federal tax code for 2018,” Governor Christie said. “This executive order requires local officials to dedicate the resources and staffing to serve New Jerseyans who are planning in this way for their families and their futures.”

Posted on

Governor Says State Employees Impacted By Government Closure Should be Paid

christie at the beach
July 14,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ , Brian Murray, Press Secretary to Governor Chris Christie, issued the following statement on the Governor’s intention to reinstate pay for state workers impacted by last week’s government closure if the legislature will send him a bill:

“As the Governor suggested yesterday in his letter to Speaker Prieto, the issue of pay for involuntarily furloughed workers is first a matter for the legislature to address. There is no lawful way for the Governor to do so on his own. If the legislature were to send him a bill reinstating pay for those workers, he would promptly sign the bill.”

“The Governor believes that the fault for the government shutdown has never been with the rank and file state workers. It is now, and always has been, with Speaker Prieto. His failure to address the issue of pay for state workers in the budget he presented to the Governor and his failure to say anything definitive on this issue until after the Senate had already scheduled a vote to support state workers is just further evidence of that fact.”

Posted on

New Jersey Lawmakers Send Bill to Legalize Fireworks Sales to Governor Christie

ridgewood fireworks

June 24,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, New Jersey residents could soon be able to legally light fireworks in their backyards.  Currently, only New Jersey, Delaware and Massachusetts have a blanket ban on the sale of fireworks.

In a 35-1 vote, state senators agreed that outlawing fireworks doesn’t mean people don’t buy them. Many just travel across state lines to purchase their products, leaving thousands of dollars of tax revenue behind.

Lawmakers have sent a bill to Gov. Chris Christie’s office to legalize the sale of certain types of fireworks for people 16 and older.The bill would only allow the purchase of fireworks that are “non-exploding”, “non-aerial fireworks”, like sparklers and glow worms.

Posted on

Governor Christie Rolls Out His Last Budget


March 1,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Governor Christie unviels his final budget as governor ;

“This is the ninth time I’ve come before a joint session to address our state’s budget. Each time I’ve had specific goals in mind; guiding principles to follow. Government should get smaller. Taxes shall not be increased. Our core commitments must be met. Each time, with varying degrees of struggle, harmony and acrimony, we have reached these goals – I have stuck to those principles. Let me assure you that today will be no different.

– Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey State Budget Address, February 28, 2017

The Fiscal Year 2018 budget will be the eighth and final state budget of Governor Chris Christie’s tenure. When Governor Christie entered office in 2010, New Jersey was enduring an unprecedented fiscal crisis, with an immediate $2.2 billion mid-year fiscal deficit, as well as an unthinkably large $10.7 billion projected budget gap for Fiscal Year 2011 — more than a third of the prior year’s budget. At that time, it was uncertain whether the State would be able to meet its payroll within two months.

The staggering $13 billion two-year gap represented the culmination of years of reckless tax-and-spend policies and shortsighted budgeting practices that ignored economic realities. While state and national economies faltered, spending in Trenton under the previous administration continued unabated at unsustainable levels — increasing 58 percent from 2001 to 2008. The previous governor’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget was propped up with temporary income tax hikes, corporate surtaxes, reliance on one-time federal stimulus funds, temporary employee furloughs and other desperate gimmicks.

Today, Governor Christie is presenting his eighth consecutive balanced budget built on a foundation of fiscal restraint and responsibility. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget will fund $2 billion less in discretionary spending than was spent in Fiscal Year 2008.

The Governor’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Budget:

•       Calls for $35.5 billion in State appropriations, a 2.6 percent increase, largely due to non-discretionary costs.
•       Contains $2 billion less in discretionary spending than the Fiscal Year 2008 budget.
•       Includes the largest pension payment in New Jersey history with a $2.5 billion contribution to the State’s defined benefit funds.
o   This will bring total pension contributions by the Christie Administration to $8.8 billion.
o   That will be more than two and a half times the total contributions made by all governors combined during the 16-year period from Fiscal Year 1995 through Fiscal Year 2010.
•       Renews the Governor’s commitment to higher education in New Jersey. Overall, higher education funding is maintained at a total of $2.2 billion in Fiscal Year 2018.
•       Proposes a seventh-consecutive year of the highest amount of school aid supporting Pre-K through Grade 12 education in New Jersey history. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposes more than $13.8 billion for education, an increase of $523.2 million.
•       Provides more than $17 billion in direct and indirect property tax relief, nearly half the total budget, including $13.8 billion in school aid and $1.5 billion in municipal aid.
•       Continues more than $1 billion for direct property taxpayer relief programs:
o   423,300 seniors and citizens with disabilities will receive an average Homestead Benefit of $511, while 169,500 other homeowners earning up to $75,000 will receive an average Homestead Benefit of $397.
o   138,200 seniors and citizens with disabilities will continue receiving Property Tax Freeze benefits averaging $1,401, while 25,100 new beneficiaries will receive their first year of benefits averaging $219.

Investing In New Jersey’s Transportation Infrastructure
Today, Governor Christie proposed a $400 million supplemental appropriation in this Fiscal Year. These funds will be invested and spent quickly over the next 100 days to address bridge deficiencies and road conditions in all of New Jersey’s 21 counties. Further, these funds will be used to expedite technology enhancements and other infrastructure improvements for New Jersey Transit and will allow the New Jersey Department of Transportation to deliver the largest construction program in state history. The results will be smoother roads, safer bridges and a more technologically sound mass transit system.

In October 2016, Governor Christie signed legislation that reauthorized the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority Act. As a result of that legislation, Governor Christie’s fiscal 2018 budget provides a record $2 billion State Transportation Capital Program. The Program includes over $1.3 billion for State and local highway and bridge projects, and another $677 million for mass transportation projects.

Ensuring Access To Care While Keeping Down Costs
The NJ FamilyCare program currently provides comprehensive health care coverage to more than 1.8 million New Jersey residents at a projected $4.2 billion cost to the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. The program serves individuals eligible for both Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and represents a partnership between the State and the federal government. The NJ FamilyCare program, while having some of the highest income limits in the nation, has traditionally provided health coverage exclusively to low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities. On January 1, 2014, Governor Christie expanded the program, using 100 percent federal funding, to provide health coverage to low-income childless adults.

The proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget represents the fourth full fiscal year of the NJ FamilyCare expansion, and while a fraction of the costs associated with this eligibility group have shifted to the State budget, the expansion continues to represent a tremendous value for New Jersey. Since the Governor’s decision to expand NJ FamilyCare in 2014, an additional 487,000 uninsured New Jersey residents have gained coverage under this program. Not only did this expansion provide reliable medical coverage to many formerly uninsured residents, the infusion of federal dollars has generated meaningful savings to the State budget. Through Fiscal Year 2018, the shift of State costs to the federal government combined with the reduction in demand for Charity Care has resulted in a cumulative savings of $2 billion to the State.

Commitment To World-Class Healthcare
With the goal of ensuring a stable and accessible hospital system that provides care of the highest possible quality, the Department of Health’s budget makes significant investments in three hospital subsidy programs: Charity Care, Graduate Medical Education and Delivery System Reform Incentive Payments.

•      Charity Care. Governor Christie’s expansion of NJ FamilyCare has led to a dramatic increase in NJ FamilyCare enrollment, which continues to be funded almost entirely by the federal government. The associated decrease in uninsured residents has reduced by more than half the documented claims for uncompensated care submitted by New Jersey’s hospitals. Since the expansion took effect on January 1, 2014, 487,000 low-income residents have gained health insurance through NJ FamilyCare, a 38-percent increase in program enrollment. This fundamental shift allows for a $25 million reduction in State funding for Charity Care in Fiscal Year 2018.  The Fiscal Year 2018 budget provides $252 million in combined federal and State support to offset the costs hospital facilities incur in treating the uninsured.
•      Graduate Medical Education (GME). The Fiscal Year 2018 budget increases support to New Jersey’s teaching hospitals by $30 million, with the total amount available through the Graduate Medical Education program now totaling $218 million. This marks the third year in a row that funding for this critical program has been increased, with the total amount available now more than triple the funding provided when Governor Christie took office. This enhanced commitment to GME will help to ensure that New Jersey residents have continued access to an adequate number of well-trained doctors.
•      Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP).  Funded at $166.6 million, the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program was launched in Fiscal Year 2014 as a replacement for the Hospital Relief Subsidy Fund. The program continues to reward innovation and quality by distributing funds to hospitals based on measurable improvements in health outcomes.

Continued Emphasis On Community-Based Care And Services
Governor Christie is committed to fundamentally changing the way services and programs support individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, by moving away from a system that has historically focused on institutionalization to one that emphasizes home and community-based services and supports. To this end, resources have been refocused to provide people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with the ability to live as independently as possible with the proper supports.

The five-year Olmstead settlement agreement, signed February 2013, covered fiscal years 2013 to 2017 and required 600 placements over that time period. By the end of Fiscal Year 2018, the Department expects to have placed a total of 737 individuals, well exceeding the requirements of the Olmstead agreement due in large part to the acceleration of placements from the closure of North Jersey Developmental Center and Woodbridge Developmental Center in Fiscal Year 2015.

In addition to the Olmstead commitment to move individuals with developmental disabilities out of developmental centers, Governor Christie’s determination to provide services in the community includes funds to develop additional community placements and services that divert admissions to developmental centers. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget provides $89.7 million of new State and federal funding to create community placements and services, including Olmstead placements.

As a result of reforms initiated under the Medicaid Comprehensive Waiver, adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities that are living independently or with family are becoming eligible for substantially increased in-home support services for which the State will receive a federal match. When the Supports Program is fully implemented, it is expected to generate approximately $100 million in matching funding on previously State-only costs to create an estimated $200 million program, which will allow for the further expansion of services.

Family Services
The Fiscal Year 2018 budget continues and enhances the Christie Administration’s commitment to providing a wide array of services to children and families throughout New Jersey through Department of Children and Families (DCF) programs.

•       Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P). The Fiscal Year 2018 budget includes a total of $986.6 million in State and federal funds for the operations and services provided by this DCF Division that is responsible for investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect
•      Children’s System of Care (CSOC). This program helps more youth remain at home, in school and in their own communities, while still receiving the full scope of services they require, and provides coordinated care for more than 61,000 children and adolescents. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget includes a total of $592.5 million in State and federal funds for the operations and services provided by this Division, an increase of $24.3 million over the fiscal 2017 Appropriations Act.
•      Family Success Centers.  The Governor’s proposed budget protects funding for these centers which are community-based organizations that provide a wide array of services ranging from day care, resume writing and parenting classes to domestic violence prevention and substance use disorder services. The number of Family Success Centers in New Jersey will increase to a total of 58 in Fiscal Year 2018.

Lead Safety
Through continuing and increased appropriations, Governor Christie’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget continues to address lead concerns in New Jersey, ensuring the State remains a national leader on this issue. Governor Christie has added $10 million in additional State funding to effectuate the update in lead regulations to make New Jersey’s standards for identifying elevated blood-lead levels in children consistent with those of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Department of Community Affairs will continue working through nonprofit organizations to remediate lead-based paint hazards affecting low- and moderate-income households in New Jersey.

The Fiscal Year 2017 budget provided $10 million to reimburse school districts for costs related to lead testing between July 13, 2016, and July 13, 2017. School districts that tested their water during that time period can continue to seek reimbursement in Fiscal Year 2018 from unexpended Fiscal Year 2017 balances.

Posted on

Governor Christie: NJ Newspapers’ Hidden Revenue is Obstructing Direct Property Tax Relief

Bergen record Newspaper-vending-machine2

file photo by Boyd Loving

February 24, 2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton, NJ – A month since the New Jersey Press Association promised, but failed, to provide the public and the Legislature with the revenue totals their members receive from the publication of legal notices, the Governor’s Office today released additional revenue information from its own review that further debunks the multibillion-dollar print newspaper industry’s grossly false and misleading claims.

In an effort to lobby for media titans against overdue property tax-cutting reform bill S-2855/A-4429, which permits legal notices to be published online and has been supported by bipartisan legislators for 16 years, NJPA has claimed their member newspapers take $20 million per year from taxpayers. NJPA continues to provide no evidence to support this claim.  Meanwhile, the Governor’s Office has released ample data, such as the attached, publicizing the newspapers’ real taxpayer rake, which is well over $20 million and pushing upwards of $80 million per year.

“The billionaires and millionaires running print newspapers in New Jersey continue to provide false rhetoric that they collect only $20 million in annual tax dollars to publish legal notices that should instead be freely posted online, and have yet to fulfill their promise to release real financial information, conceding that their $20 million claims were a lie to their employees, legislators, readers and taxpayers,” Governor Christie said. “These newspaper operators are so conflicted on this issue that despite my office providing sets of data proving their claims are false, there have been no articles or editorials reflecting that reality.”

Data backing the $80 million and the Star Ledger’s $16.6 million in 2016 legal notices revenue has been public since January 24. It has been provided to and remains unpublished by the following newspapers:

The Record
NJ Advance Media
The Associated Press
NJ Spotlight
New Jersey Herald

In the face of this silence, the Governor’s Office has continued its painstaking review with the Gannett newspapers.  To date, the Office has reviewed the published 2016 legal notices for three daily newspapers and the revenue generated from just these three newspapers exceeds $20 million:

2016 Revenue Totals

•    Star-Ledger – $16,614,923.68
•    Courier Post – $2,096,997.42
•    Asbury Park Press – $1,989,089.53

Total for 3 Daily Newspapers – $20,701,010.63

With 13 daily papers and dozens of weekly papers left to tabulate, the 2016 legal notices in these three papers alone prove the NJPA’s $20 million per year claim is an outright falsehood.

Posted on

Governor Christie Signs Executive Order Declaring Opioid Drug Abuse a Public Health Crisis


January 17, 2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,  Intensifying his Administration’s commitment in the fight against substance abuse, Governor Chris Christie today signed Executive Order 219 declaring the opioid epidemic a public health crisis in New Jersey. The action requires the marshalling of all appropriate resources to combat its harmful effects on state citizens.

“We must take aggressive action to get this insidious crisis under control so I am calling together all resources of state government in order to save lives,” said Governor Christie. “The human cost of this epidemic is incalculable, impacting every part of life in New Jersey, affecting our education system, our health care system, public safety and the financial security of every person it touches.”

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, an American dies every 19 minutes from an opioid or heroin overdose. New Jersey’s drug overdose death rate increased by almost 22 percent between 2014 and 2015. There was a 30 percent increase in heroin deaths over the previous year and triple the number of deaths caused by the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Additionally, the CDC reports that in 2012, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication, enough for every adult in the United States to have a bottle of pills.

The new Executive Order creates the Governor’s Task Force on Drug Abuse Control, to be headed by Charlie McKenna, Executive Director of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority, which will be charged with developing and executing a comprehensive, coordinated strategy to combat the drug-abuse epidemic by working with all areas of state government, in addition to local, federal, and private entities, as well as the Facing Addiction Task Force.

The Drug Abuse Task Force will consist of eight members, including the Attorney General and the Commissioners of Health, Human Services, Corrections, Education, Children and Families, and Banking and Insurance.

The Task Force will review current statutes and regulations that present barriers to individuals suffering from addiction to receiving treatment from rapid opiate detox centers and make recommendations to rescind or amend any such statutes or regulations to remove those barriers.  The panel is authorized to call upon any department, office, division, or agency of this state to supply it with information, personnel, or other assistance available as the Task Force deems necessary to discharge its duties. The Task Force may consult with experts or other knowledgeable individuals in the public or private sector on any aspect of its mission.

The Executive Order also directs Attorney General Chris Porrino to take all necessary steps to limit the initial prescription of opioids for acute pain and establish standards such that additional quantities may only be prescribed after further consultation with the patient.

The Order further directs Department of Children and Families Commissioner Allison Blake to ensure residential substance abuse disease treatment facilities and similar facilities utilize their existing spaces effectively, including ensuring that 18 and 19-year-olds with substance abuse problems are able to take advantage of any vacancies in existing facilities wherever appropriate.

In addition, the Governor is directing Acting Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington to develop a new, comprehensive grade-specific curriculum to educate children about the dangers of substance abuse.

“Opioid drug abuse is one of the most challenging issues facing us not only as Americans but as New Jerseyans,” said Governor Christie.  “The crisis is pervasive – impacting our families, friends, neighbors and coworkers.  The steps I am taking today through this Executive Order recognize the severity of the crisis and pull together the efforts of all state government agencies.”

Posted on

Four Years after Super Storm Sandy Governor Christie Reviews Progress

October 30,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, On Friday, Governor Christie discussed the progress our state has made four years after Sandy as his administration continues to work with homeowners, business owners, and communities to rebuild and safeguard against future storms. He also conducted a small business tour in Seaside Heights, a community heavily impacted by Sandy.It is no doubt that so much more needs to be done and some homeowners are still struggling four years later trying to cut through the
the red tape .
The Governor outlined investments in rebuilding our infrastructure, getting families back in their homes and protecting our shores after Sandy including:
  • Nearly $2.5 billion in utility infrastructure hardening & resilience investments
  • More than $2 billion in FEMA public assistance directed towards recovery projects
  • Five large-scale NJ Transit projects designed to better safeguard critical components of our transportation grid
  • $7 million to fund Retail Fuel Station program to allow gas stations expedited access to back-up power during an energy emergency
  • Coordinated effort with Army Corps of Engineers to build 11 new coastal and flood protection projects statewide
  • More than $1.6 billion in federal housing assistance to help Sandy-impacted families
  • Majority of 7,600 homeowners participating in Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation program are back in their homes
  • Expanded Blue Aces program, allowing residents in flood-prone areas to sell homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy
  • $207 million dedicated to support economic revitalization in Sandy-affected communities through the Stronger NJ business programs.

The Christie administration is committed to finishing the job on Sandy recovery, revitalization and resilience efforts.

Posted on

Governor Christie held his latest Fairness Town Hall in New Providence and Hammered the Tax Fairness Message

October 23,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood Nj, On Tuesday, despite the Governor’s legal trouble, Governor Christie held his latest Fairness Funding Town Hall in New Providence, continuing to make the case for massive property tax relief and equal funding for every student in our state.
The Governor made it clear that its unacceptable to allow the failed, court-ordered school funding format to continue to fail inner-city students and short-change our surburban schools and taxpayers. The largest force opposed the Governor’s Fairness Funding Formula is the NJEA. They have spent millions to buy the support of Trenton Democrats to block any effort to reform school funding, making property taxpayers foot the bill for a failed formula.
The Governor’s plan to provide equal funding to every student across our state would translate into more money and property tax relief for 75% of school districts in the state. In New Providence, the Governor’s plan could translate into a $3,232 reduction in the average homeowner’s yearly property tax bill.
Posted on

Community Activist Bill Brennan has filed a lawsuit in Bergen County court against Governor Christie based upon Wildstein’s “Bridgegate ” testimony

Bill Brennan Bridgewgate

October 12,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the staff of the Ridgewood blog is made up of many long-time commuters , so we have been ,to say the least,  a bit skeptical this entire “Bridgegate ” or “Bridgeapolooza” episode. The reality is that the GWB has huge traffic jams averaging over 1-hour delays during rush hour every day.

The Port Authority is hardly and paragon of virtue it’s often been the dumping ground for on the lamb public employees from New York and New Jersey and New York and New Jersey can hardly claim the mantle of puritanicalism  both states seem more often than not to be mired in corruption.

In recent “Bridgegate” not only did former Port Authority Official, David Wildstein, told Bill Baroni’s attorney, Michael Baldassare, that Governor Christie’s staff asked him to produce a list of Port Authority employees so that Democrats could be purged, just weeks after starting his $150,000-a-year job at the Port Authority in 2010.

Wildstien also claimed under oath he told Governor Christie about the lane closing. The prosecution’s star witness claimed Gov. Chris Christie was told of the traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge in the midst of the gridlock in Fort Lee in September 2013, and that Christie laughed when he heard about it.

Community Activist Bill Brennan found a way to file a lawsuit in Bergen County court against Governor Christie based upon Wildstein’s testimony.

Brennan says ,”There’s a statute in New Jersey, the Official Misconduct statute, which says that a public servant is guilty of official misconduct for the purpose to deprive another of a benefit or obtain a benefit for himself. If he refrains from taking an action that’s clearly inherent in the nature of his office. Clearly inherent in the nature in the office of the Governor is opening those lanes when you’ve been told they’re closed.

Tomorrow morning the Governor of NJ faces charges for something we all know he did. I fear life in a country where the government harms law-abiding citizens in fits of pettiness and revenge. It scares me to know that people are being coerced by officials who brag that they can destroy the lives of anyone who refuses their demands. It terrifies me that this is all out in the open and I might be alone in an open court room standing up against tyranny. “

Posted on

Governor Christie, Senate President Sweeney and Speaker Prieto reached a tentative agreement to finance the Transportation Trust Fund


September 30,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, late Friday while all eyes were on the Hoboken Train tragedy and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Governor Christie, Senate President Sweeney and Speaker Prieto reached a tentative agreement to finance the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).A special legislative session will be called next week to ratify this agreement so it is subject to change.

The following are some of the details that have emerged :

0.23-cent gasoline tax increase…bringing total to 37.5 cent/gallon tax on gasoline

Sales tax cut: On 1/1/17, the sales tax will go from 7% to 6.875% and in 2018 to 6.625%.

Increase the Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor to 35 percent of the federal benefit amount beginning in tax year 2016

Tax Savings for Retirees: Increase the New Jersey gross income tax exclusion on pension and retirement income over four years to $100,000 for joint filers, $75,000 for individuals and $50,000 for married/filing separately

Eliminate the Estate Tax: Phase out the estate tax over the next 15 months, replacing the current $675,000 threshold with a $2 million exclusion after January 1, 2017 and eliminating the estate tax altogether as of January 1, 2018

Tax Savings for Veterans: Provide a personal exemption on state income taxes for all New Jersey veterans honorably discharged from active service in the military or the National Guard.

Posted on

Governor Christie Announces Counterfeit Fentanyl Ban and Expanded Recovery Coach Program


September 27, 2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

New Jersey Combats Opioid Abuse with New Initiatives During National Recovery Month

Trenton NJ,  Expanding his commitment in the fight against opioid addiction in the Garden State, Governor Chris Christie today announced new initiatives in recognition of National Recovery Month, including an Emergency Order to ban the manufacture, distribution, sale, and possession of seven illegal knock-offs of the highly addictive opioid “fentanyl” and an expansion of the state’s Recovery Coach Program.

“We are doubling down on our efforts to combat the epidemic of opioid addiction – a pervasive crisis in communities and neighborhoods throughout our nation. This past summer, I was joined by 45 other governors in a compact through the National Governors Association to carry on this battle, and today we continue New Jersey’s leadership role, in part, by becoming one of the first states to take on the use, sale, and distribution of illicit fentanyl analogs produced by drug trafficking networks,” said Governor Christie.

The Office of the Attorney General and its Division of Consumer Affairs is issuing an Emergency Order to ban the manufacture, distribution, sale, and possession of seven illegal knock-offs of the highly addictive opioid “fentanyl” which are being manufactured by drug dealers. Additionally, the Governor announced the expansion of the Recovery Coach Program, which connects persons who have been saved from drug overdoses to people who can help them find treatment.

These initiatives were among several unveiled by the Governor as he was joined in his outer office by cabinet members and former Governor James E. McGreevey, director of the New Jersey Reentry Corporation (NJRC), which was funded by the Christie Administration to provide addiction treatment, transitional housing, job training and employment to ex-offenders with substance use disorder.


This Emergency Order issued by Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino adds seven “fentanyl analogs” – derivatives of the regulated prescription drug – to the list of Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) in New Jersey, subjecting them to the strictest level of state control.

Used to treat acute pain, fentanyl is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine. Fentanyl knock-offs, often more potent than their legal prototype, have been sold on street corners across New Jersey, usually disguised as much less potent drugs like heroin, oxycodone, or other abused prescription drugs. The result has been deadly. Last year, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration listed New Jersey as one of five states hit hardest by a “surge” in fentanyl-related deaths. The total had reached 150 by mid-year, according to the latest available statistics.

“Those responsible for supplying the drugs that caused these deaths will no longer be able to fly under the legal radar in our state,” said Attorney General Porrino. “We are empowering our law enforcement agencies with the legal clout to arrest and fully prosecute anyone caught manufacturing, distributing, or possessing these lethal drugs.”

Knock-offs covered by the order include: Furanyl Fentanyl, 3-Methyfentanyl, 3-Methyl Butyrylfentanyl, Valeryl Fentanyl, Norfentanyl, Para-Florobutyryl-Fentanyl, and Carfentanyl. Under the order, manufacture, distribution, sale, or possession of the chemicals is now a third-degree crime. Violators are subject to a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment for a three- to five-year term. The Order will remain in effect for 270 days, or until a regulation is adopted through an administrative process to formally classifying the counterfeit drugs as Schedule I CDS.


Already demonstrating success in Camden, Essex, Monmouth, Ocean and Passaic counties, the Recovery Coach program connects people who have been saved from drug overdoses – often with the opioid reversal drug Narcan — with recovery coaches who can provide guidance and support and help them into treatment for their addiction. The Governor announced the program will be expanded into six more counties – Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Hudson, Gloucester and Middlesex.

Recovery coaches, who often are in recovery themselves, are on-site in hospital emergency rooms in the five counties where the program already operates. They tap into their own personal recovery experience to help individuals when they are most vulnerable and need support.  This initiative ensures a continuum of care for individuals recovering from an overdose reversal.


The Christie administration reached a deal this summer with Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc., to extend for another year the ability for police departments and other public first responder entities to continue purchasing the opiate antidote Naloxone at a significant discount. Under that agreement, California-based Amphastar will continue to provide a $6 rebate for each Amphastar Naloxone syringe purchased.

Naloxone – often referred to by its most commonly known trade name Narcan – is an opioid antagonist drug used to reverse overdoses of heroin and other opiate-based narcotics. More than 500 law enforcement agencies across the state, including the New Jersey State Police, are now trained and equipped to administer the drug. Statewide, there were 7,222 deployments of Naloxone by law enforcement and EMS personnel in 2015. Law enforcement and EMS have deployed Naloxone more than 6,000 times so far this year.

In 2015, New Jersey became the third state to obtain a contractual commitment from Amphastar to provide discounts on Naloxone-related purchases. Under the new agreement struck with Amphastar, the Attorney General’s Office will continue to act as administrative conduit in the rebate process.


The initiatives announced today continue Governor Christie’s extensive efforts to combat the epidemic of opioid addiction, including: mandatory, statewide drug courts; expansion of New Jersey’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to include interstate data-sharing; statewide availability of the overdose reversal drug Naloxone (Narcan); a historic infusion of funding to expand capacity for behavioral health treatment; and formation of an Interim Management Entity (IME), a telephone hotline that provides access for the uninsured and those on Medicaid to addiction treatment.

Recently, the state’s Drug Monitoring Initiative at the Regional Operations and Intelligence Center earned national recognition by the National Governors Association and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy for its groundbreaking efforts to monitor drug activity in the state. Their work there has enabled law enforcement and public health experts to better understand the supply chain, trends, implications, and threats from illicit drug activity and to notify the public of potentially lethal batches of drugs in the region as overdoses are reported.

In addition, this year marks the second anniversary of the Governor’s creation of the Facing Addiction Task Force, a 12-member team of leaders and experts from inside and outside of government to fight drug addiction through treatment and prevention.  Led by Pastor Joe A. Carter of the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, the task force has been developing strategies to destigmatize, prevent and treat the disease of addiction with a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach.

In July, Governor Christie along with 45 other governors, signed the National Governors Association’s Compact to Fight Opioid Addiction, committing to fight the epidemic. That compact urges the governors to take steps to raise awareness of opioids and addiction, reduce the inappropriate prescribing of painkillers and facilitate treatment and recovery for those already addicted.

“We have made impressive gains in this fight, and we know there is more work to be done,” added Governor Christie. “With these new initiatives and the alliance of the National Governors Association, we should be able to help more and more people break the cycle of addiction, to reclaim their lives and to improve the lives of all of us dealing with the consequences of opioid addiction in society.”

Posted on

Governor’s Official Residence in Princeton : Drumthwacket to Be Lit in Red on Monday, September 26th

Mary Pat Christie
September 26th 2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton, NJ – First Lady Mary Pat Christie today announced that Drumthwacket, the Governor’s Official Residence in Princeton, will illuminate in red the evening of Monday, September 26th to celebrate the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) Family Day – Be Involved. Stay Involved®. Family Day is a national initiative to promote simple acts of parental engagement as key ways to help prevent substance use in children and teens. This is First Lady Mary Pat Christie’s  sixth year serving as an honorary chair of CASA Family Day.

“Confronting the issue of substance abuse and addiction is a public-private partnership, which involves leadership at the state, local and national levels with organizations like CASA,” said Mrs. Christie.  “During Family Day and every day, it’s important to take time out from busy schedules to sit down to talk with and listen to your children about what’s on their mind. Being engaged in their lives keeps the lines of communication open, which is so important in fighting substance use.”

Adolescence is the critical period for the initiation of risky substance use. In fact, nine out of 10 Americans who meet the medical criteria for addiction started smoking, drinking, or using other drugs before age of 18. Research shows that children with more involved parents are less likely to smoke, drink, or use other substances.

Recognizing the importance of the issue, Mrs. Christie has addressed organizations such as Community in Crisis to discuss substance abuse prevention in the local community. During her visit, she met with parents who have suffered the loss of their children to opiate abuse.

Over the last six and half years, Governor Christie and First Lady Mary Pat Christie have put a strong emphasis on changing the conversation on substance use and addiction, including mandatory drug court, the significant expansion of the Narcan program to include training of family and friends of addicts and a recovery coach program.

Posted on

Governor Christie: School is Back in Session Put The Cell Phones Down And Pay Attention When In The Car

back to school Ridgewood
September 8,2016

the staff of the Ridegwood blog

Ridgewood NJ,  its bears repeating school is open so drive carefully !
Governor Christie:  This is always an interesting time of year. Everyone’s got to get readjusted. And in our house this morning, one of our children went back to school, the other didn’t. Which lead to enormous teasing last night, of Bridget to Patrick, because she was going to be able to sleep in for one last morning and Patrick was getting up to head to school for the first time this year. Let’s all of us be attentive to particularly the public safety issues that surround the beginning of the school year. Let us all put our cell phones down when we are in the car. That should be a rule of thumb no matter what. Law enforcement will enforce that, specifically, but especially for parents and I saw this this morning, which is why it’s on my mind, parents driving into a school lot while they’re texting. It’s unthinkable to me that with children walking around on a school campus setting, and parents driving in with their own children in the car that they would engage in distracted driving, which I think is the term of art we use now, distracted driving. It’s texting while driving, and it just shouldn’t be done. So I want everybody to pay attention, especially the public safety issues that come up when you have lots of young people who no matter how many times we tell them to look both ways before they cross or move into a street don’t always remember. We’re the responsible adults, we got to make sure we’re keeping an eye on those things. So we got to get out of summer mode, get into fall mode unfortunately, and one of those things I think is keeping our eye on what we’re doing and making sure that we’re talking to our children about the things they need to do. Not only to do well in school but to be safe in school. And we can set a good example by doing some of things that are within our control as well. So Mary Pat and I will try to make sure we do that, and we hope that all of you here and all of those listening will do that as well.
Posted on

Governor Christie Gets Back to School Signs a Series of Education Reform Legislation


September 06, 2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, As many New Jersey students head back to school today, Governor Christie visited Grover Cleveland Middle School in Caldwell to act upon seven bills focused on improving education in the state.

“Over the last six years, my administration has prided itself on engaging in education reform to make sure our schools are safer, more effective, and facilitating the success of our students,” said Governor Christie.  “Providing and ensuring a high quality education for every student in every corner of this state is a firm commitment of mine and it is why I continue to support and bolster education in the Garden State.”

For the last two months, Governor Christie has traveled the state talking about his Fairness Formula, which would change the school funding formula to provide equal funding of $6,599 per enrolled student, while continuing aid for special needs students and at the same time providing much-needed property tax relief to municipalities.

The Governor’s fiscal year 2017 budget spends more than $13.3 billion on education, an increase of $548 million from fiscal 2016, continuing a six-year commitment to providing the highest amount of school aid in New Jersey history.

The state’s high school graduation rate continues to increase.  In 2015, the rate was 89.7 percent, up from 88.6 percent in 2014, the fourth straight year that the statewide high school graduation rate increased and the third consecutive year in which it grew by at least a full percentage point.

Other education accomplishments include reforming teacher tenure rules, greatly expanding charter schools, and establishing Renaissance schools under the Urban Hope Act.

The bills the Governor acted on today include measures to enhance school security and early intervention in situations where students exhibit behavioral or learning problems, and that will ensure that substance abuse instruction for students encompasses the latest research and best practices.  Governor Christie has also signed two bills focused on higher education, to increase transparency and enable public colleges and universities to save money by engaging in cooperative purchasing agreements.  Specifically, the Governor took the following action on the following pending legislation:


S-2081/A-3790 (Ruiz, Turner/Vainieri Huttle, Wimberly) – Limits expulsions and suspensions for students in preschool through grade 2 with certain exceptions; requires early detection and prevention programs for behavioral issues in preschool through grade 2

A-2292/S-372 (Vainieri Huttle, Benson, McKnight, Gusciora, Lampitt, Wimberly/Codey, Allen) – Requires review of Core Curriculum Content Standards to ensure guidance for substance abuse instruction provided to public school students incorporates most recent evidence-based standards and practices

A-2563/S-1753 (Jasey, Singleton, Wimberly, Danielsen/Turner) – Directs institutions of higher education and proprietary degree-granting institutions to provide Higher Education Student Assistance Authority with graduation and transfer rates of State tuition aid grant recipients

A-2566/S-496 (Jasey, Wimberly/Ruiz, Turner) – Establishes Response to Intervention initiative in DOE to support and encourage school districts in implementation of Response to Intervention framework

A-2689/S-754 (Schaer, Prieto, Lagana, Lampitt, Vainieri Huttle, Eustace, S. Kean, Auth, Quijano, Wimberly/Beach, Gordon) – “Secure Schools for All Children Act”; establishes State aid program for security services, equipment, or technology to ensure safe and secure school environment for nonpublic school students

A-3405/S-1822 (Coughlin, Schaer, Jasey, Benson/Sarlo, Cunningham) – Permits certain public institutions of higher education to make purchases and contract for services as participating contracting units in cooperative pricing systems and through use of nationally-recognized and accepted cooperative purchasing agreements


S-86/A-3629 (A.R. Bucco, Sweeney/A.M. Bucco, Rible, Singleton, Caride, Moriarty, Schepisi, Wimberly) – CONDITIONAL – Establishes Class Three special law enforcement officers to provide security in public and nonpublic schools and county colleges

Posted on

Governor Christie Takes Steps to Safeguard New Jersey’s Economic Future


Vetoes Legislation That Would Impede Economic Gains and Hinder Garden State Businesses

August 30, 2016
the Staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton, NJ , Taking action to protect New Jersey’s economic future, Governor Chris Christie today vetoed Assembly Bill No. 15, which would have raised the minimum wage to $15 per hour by the year 2021. Three years ago, New Jersey residents voted to raise the minimum wage to $8.25, along with annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This bill would have made New Jersey only the third state to adopt a $15 minimum wage.

“Despite having a constitutional mandate in place, the legislature now wants to increase the minimum wage by almost 80 percent just three years later,” said Governor Christie.  “While this bill’s proposed increase surely is responsive to demands from Democrat legislators’ political patrons, it fails to consider the capacity of businesses, especially small businesses, to absorb the substantially increased labor costs it will impose, killing jobs and erasing gains of more than 275,000 private sector jobs since 2010. I cannot support a bill that undermines the positive results we have achieved in New Jersey and I am returning A-15 to the legislature with an Absolute Veto.”

Business owners would face added expenses from this substantial wage hike through increased payrolls, taxes and supply costs, leaving them with these undesirable options: laying off workers; reducing employee hours; raising prices; leaving New Jersey; or closing altogether.  Other states and cities ramping up to a $15 minimum wage – California, Seattle and Washington, D.C., for example – are already seeing those negative economic impacts, from fewer jobs to increased costs for goods and services on college campuses, in restaurants and in the manufacturing sector.

Similar outcomes in New Jersey would be a significant step backward on the road to economic recovery and an affront to all of the accomplishments of our private-sector businesses over the past six-and-a-half years.

From offering $380 million in unemployment insurance tax relief to merging the State’s economic development incentive programs through the Economic Opportunity Act, Governor Christie has fought to make New Jersey more competitive and to encourage businesses not only to move to the Garden State, but also to stay here, and to expand their operations and hire new employees.

Governor Christie continues to focus on creating better paying, middle-class jobs in innovative sectors and through small business growth while continuing to build on New Jersey’s economic momentum.