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Another Quake Hits New Jersey: Is the East Coast on Edge?

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Tewkesbury NJ, a small 2.9 magnitude earthquake rattled New Jersey on Saturday morning, just three weeks after a more forceful 4.8 quake hit the Garden State and surrounding regions.

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New Year’s Resolution for the State of New Jersey, Let’s get More Companies to Move Here

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By Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips

It’s the time of year when many people make New Year’s resolutions. Some people might go on a diet, or start working out. New Jersey needs to do both for the sake of our economy before it is too late.

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New Jersey’s Tech Industry – Software Flourishes In The Garden State

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New Jersey is home to some of America’s best and brightest. High-tech businesses have always been able to rely on the state for a motivated and technologically educated workforce that knows how to innovate. This was true before Bill Gates ever touched a keyboard. Software and hardware development has been a part of New Jersey’s industry since the Apollo program.

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Supreme Court won’t stop plans for natural gas pipeline in New Jersey

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Washington DC, The Supreme Court dealt a blow to the anti business forces in New Jersey and other states seeking a way to oppose pipelines running through their land, siding with a pipeline company Tuesday in a dispute over New Jersey land needed for a natural gas pipeline.

The ruling says that companies building interstate pipelines, once their projects have been given the greenlight by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, can obtain the land they need even in the face of state opposition.

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Free The Grapes: NJ’s favorite alcoholic beverage is wine — but limits on shipping dampen consumer choice


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Beer, wine, or liquor — people have their top choices. New Jersey residents are no exception. In the Garden State, wine tops the list as the favorite alcoholic beverage. It’s ironic, however, that wine tops the list, as New Jersey imposes strict limits on direct-to-consumer shipment from US wineries.

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

TRENTON, N.J., May 7, 2020: The Garden State achieved record-breaking visitation in 2019, welcoming more than 116 million visitors, an increase of 4.9 percent over 2018, according to the latest report from the New Jersey Division of Travel & Tourism. Total spending by visitors to the state reached $46.4 billion, a 3.8 percent increase, and generated over $5.1 billion in state and local taxes throughout 2019.


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Like Many , Congressman Frank Pallone has Now Fled the Garden State

Frank Pallone

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood Nj, seems everybody is leaving or planning to leave New Jersey these days , why even Congressman Frank Pallone Jr  has abandon the Garden State .

According to Art Gallagher of  the blog “More MonmouthMusings ”  Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr and his wife signed mortgage documents and affidavits in 2016, and again this year, in which they represented that the home they have owned in the Glover Park section of Washington, DC since 1992 is their primary residence, according to District of Columbia property records.

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Can’t find Jersey-fresh organic blueberries? Here’s why

blue berries

Updated July 29, 2017
Posted July 29, 2017

By Amy Kuperinsky | NJ Advance Media for

What says Jersey in July more than a Garden State blueberry?

Its sweet, tart purple pop is as much a part of summer as peaches, beaches and lightning bugs.

New Jersey’s state fruit is a longtime favorite, but the market for organic blueberries is particularly ripe, strengthened by a growing number of customers who don’t mind forking over the extra money — often at least a dollar more — for fruit grown in an environment free of most synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit that compiles information on potentially harmful chemicals and pesticides in food and consumer products, maintains a list of 48 fruits and vegetables for which the group analyzes pesticide residue testing data from the USDA. Domestic blueberries were ranked as the 17th most contaminated type of produce. Imported blueberries followed close behind, at No. 20 (strawberries and spinach, at No. 1 and 2, are the worst offenders).

But ever pull up to the supermarket to find it’s clean out of organic blueberries? Or, when you do find them, do you ever notice that not many have been grown here?

The Organic Trade Association says in 2016, 13.6 percent of all fruits and vegetables bought in the U.S. were organic, with sales for all organic products in the country reaching almost $50 billion in 2016, way up from from $3.6 billion in 1997.

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The Garden State Ranks the 8th Worse Place for Retirees in the US

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February 15,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood Nj, according to Kiplinger’s exclusive 2016 analysis of state taxes 10 states impose the highest taxes on retirees. Three of them treat Social Security benefits just like Uncle Sam does—taxing as much as 85% of your benefits. Exemptions for other types of retirement income are limited or nonexistent. Property taxes are on the high side, too. And if that weren’t bad enough, some of these states are facing significant financial problems that could force them to raise taxes, cut services, or both.

New Jersey placed 8 on the list Tax-UnFriendly States for Retirees 2016

State Income Tax: 1.4% (on as much as $20,000 of taxable income) – 8.97% (on taxable income greater than $500,000)
Average State and Local Sales Tax: 6.97%
Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax: Yes/Yes

The Garden State’s tax policies create a thicket of thorns for some retirees.

Its property taxes are the highest in the U.S. The median property tax on the state’s median home value of $313,200 is $7,452.

While Social Security benefits, military pensions and some retirement income is excluded from state taxes, your other retirement income could be taxed as high as 8.97%. And New Jersey allows localities to impose their own income tax; the average local levy is 0.5%, according to the Tax Foundation.

Residents 62 or older may exclude as much as $15,000 ($20,000 if married filing jointly) of retirement income, including pensions, annuities and IRA withdrawals, if their gross income is $100,000 or less. Those amounts will gradually rise so that by 2020 joint filers can exclude up to $100,000; single filers, up to $75,000; and married filing separately, up to $50,000.

New Jersey is one of only a couple of states that impose an inheritance and an estate tax. (An estate tax is levied before the estate is distributed; an inheritance tax is paid by the beneficiaries.) In general, close relatives are excluded from the inheritance tax; others face tax rates ranging from 11% to 16% on inheritances of $500 or more. Estates valued at more than $675,000 are subject to estate taxes of up to 16%. Assets that go to a spouse or civil union partner are exempt. The threshold will rise to $2 million on Jan. 1, 2017 and the estate tax will disappear completely in 2018.

To make matters worse George Mason University’s Mercatus Center ranks New Jersey 48th in its analysis of states’ fiscal health.

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At 9.1 percent, New Jersey’s default rate is 11th in the country, particularly good news given that students tend to carry a heavy debt burden.

Students from New Jersey’s colleges and trade schools default on their federal loans at a relatively low rate overall, although the proportion of defaults exceeds the national average at four of 10 schools.

This news comes as a package of bills designed to help New Jersey students — particularly those who borrowed through the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority — deal with loan repayment problems and the high cost of college in general awaits further action in the Legislature.

Data from the website Student Loan Report put the state’s default rate at nearly 9.1 percent, the 11th lowest in the nation for borrowers who had to begin repayment in the 2013 fiscal year, the most recent year for which data is available because the U.S. Department of Education uses a three-year period to define defaults. Of nearly 90,000 students who borrowed money while at a New Jersey school, 8,153 were in default, defined as nine months of nonpayment.

The national default rate was 11.3 percent, a drop from 11.8 percent the previous year and the third year in a row of declines, from 14.7 percent in 2010. Nationally, more than 5.2 million borrowers entered repayment status in 2013 and nearly 600,000 of them have defaulted.

One reason for the state’s relatively low default rate could be that many students take out New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students loans through HESAA. According to the authority’s 2015 annual report, it distributed more than $163 million for 10,686 students in and out of state that fiscal year. According to the Institute for College Access and Success, New Jersey is one of three states — the others are Texas and Minnesota — with significant state student loan programs.