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Who's still pushing the sales tax?

Who's Still Pushing The Sales Tax?
Presented by Health Care Association of New Jersey: Matt Friedman's must-read briefing on the Garden State's important news of the day
Jun 14, 2024 View in browser

By Matt Friedman

Presented by Health Care Association of New Jersey

Good Friday morning!

With so much going on in New Jersey politics, it’s easy to forget the state budget is due in just two weeks, though it's nowhere near done.

Speaker Coughlin told Brent Johnson this week that he’s opposed to increasing the sales tax from 6.625 to 7 percent, as it was before Chris Christie cut it. That issue still needs to be worked out, along with Gov. Murphy's proposed Corporation Business Tax hike. The governor made comments strongly suggesting he opposed the sales tax hike in January, but I’m told his office has been its main proponent in budget negotiations. One person told me that's because the governor believes it’s the only realistic way to fund budgets in the long run, including Coughlin’s “StayNJ” tax break. The Assembly and Senate have their differences, too.

This looks like another crunch-time budget. Remember last year, when legislative committees scrambled to meet deadlines to approve the budget that was signed by the governor with just a few hours to spare before midnight? Days earlier, legislative committees advanced the budget near midnight without actually having the bill in front of them, and without hearing testimony from stakeholders.

I'm afraid we might be in for a similar process. And unfortunately, the June 30 budget deadline is a Sunday. So it could very easily be a tense working weekend.

TIPS? FEEDBACK? Email me at [email protected].

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “When you’re overseas, people don’t look at you like a guitar player or can driver. You’re an American. I never thought of myself as an American. I’m from New Jersey.” — Steven Van Zandt

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Rosie Bagolie, Brad Schnure, Deborah Howlett, George Graham, Becky Steele. Sunday for Kristin Januseski, Rick Mroz, Albert Coutinho, James McGregor.

PROGRAMMING NOTE — I’m taking a couple days off, so my colleagues will handle this newsletter on Monday and Tuesday. And Jersey Playbook will not publish on the Wednesday Juneteenth holiday. See you Thursday.

WHERE’S MURPHY? In Asbury Park at 8 p.m. for The Weeklings' 60th Anniversary of The Beatles at the North 2 Shore festival.


A message from Health Care Association of New Jersey:

Trenton must stop short-changing nursing home residents and the staff who take care of them. Instead of piling on unfunded mandates, critical resources should be spent on hiring more staff and improving care. Otherwise, more than 9,000 current New Jersey nursing home residents risk losing their homes. Tell your state lawmakers: The state must invest now in the welfare of its aging senior population. It’s not a choice, it’s an obligation.


COVID-CTED — Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption trial is delayed until at least Monday after one of his two co-defendants, New Jersey real estate developer Fred Daibes, tested positive for COVID-19. The trial that began May 13 now seems certain to run past July 4, which is longer than jurors were told to expect. The trial is in its fifth week. Prosecutors still have an unknown number of witnesses they plan to call and witness testimony keeps taking longer than anticipated. “I think everybody needs to be considerably more efficient than they have been so far,” U.S. District Court Judge Sidney Stein told attorneys for both sides earlier this week. The senator’s attorneys are in the middle of cross examining the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Philip Sellinger, who the senator is accused of taking bribes from Daibes to try to pressure. — Ry Rivard 

NOT FOR SALEINGER — NJ’s top federal prosecutor, a Menendez wedding guest, testifies of soured relationship with the senator, by POLITICO’s Ry Rivard: "Before he was the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Philip Sellinger was in Sen. Bob Menendez’s inner circle. They dined together, they played golf together with their sons and their wives texted. Sellinger was one of the 70 or so guests at the senator’s pandemic-era wedding. When Joe Biden, a fellow Democrat, got to the White House after the 2020 election, Menendez made good on something he and Sellinger had talked about for years: getting Sellinger the top federal prosecutor’s job in New Jersey … Sellinger testified about a series of interactions in late 2020 and the first half of 2021 where Menendez and one of his long-time aides brought up a federal prosecution back in New Jersey against another of Menendez’s wedding guests — real estate developer Fred Daibes … After Sellinger refused to get involved in Daibes’ case, Menendez snubbed him and declined to attend a ceremony honoring Sellinger. ‘He said, ‘I’m going to pass,’ Sellinger testified. ‘The only thing worse than not having a relationship with the United States attorney is people thinking you have a relationship with the United States attorney, and you don’t.’”


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BARAKING BARRIERS — “Newark’s mayor would be N.J.’s first Black governor. Does he have a chance?” by NJ Advance Media’s Steve Strunsky: “Baraka is aspiring to be the Garden State’s first Black governor — its first governor of color — when the seat opens up at the end of fellow Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy’s second term in January 2026. New Jerseyans have already demonstrated a willingness to vote for candidates of color in statewide elections, including both its U.S. senators, Robert Menendez and Cory Booker — a former Newark mayor — and Barack Obama in his 2008 presidential bid and re-election in 2012. But Baraka faces several challenges, including a list of several well-known Democrats either running or weighing bids; steep fundraising gaps opened up by rivals who declared their candidacies long before him; traditionally low turnout among Black and brown voters likely to support him; and the absence of a Black governor or Democratic nominee in the state before him … So, does Baraka have a chance? Political observers say he does, though his odds rise or fall depending on certain variables, including the size of the field at election time and turnout among voters of color.”

I WANT TO RAISE YOU (CBT) — “Vulnerable workers need N.J. to make corporations help fund public transportation, advocates say,” by NJ Advance Media’s Larry Higgs: “The fate of Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed Corporate Transit Fee is in the hands of the state Legislature. Supporters of the proposal to have the most profitable corporations in New Jersey help fund NJ Transit’s operations and avoid a $866 million fiscal shortfall want the Legislature to act on it as part of the fiscal year 2025 state budget. Speakers at a rally outside Newark Penn Station on Thursday in support of the fee included a bus rider who said he will no longer be able to afford bus fare after a fare hike takes effect on July 1. Other included advocates, elected officials and experts. Under the proposal, corporations that report $10 million or more in profit would pay a 2.5% surcharge … ‘We are sending a message to lawmakers that this is it, the time is now ... to make sure the corporate transit fee is in the budget and it is dedicated to NJ Transit,’ said Peter Chen, New Jersey Policy Perspective’s senior policy analyst.”

FRANCIS K. O'CONNOR: PUTTING THE K IN TRANSPORTATION — “Tapped to lead NJDOT, Francis O'Connor heads for state Senate confirmation,” by The Record’s Katie Sobok and Colleen Wilson: “Gov. Phil Murphy's nominee to lead the state Department of Transportation was interviewed by the state Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday before his nomination was unanimously advance for confirmation by the full senate. Francis K. O'Connor has served as acting commissioner of the department since January and, if confirmed later this month, he would be able to drop the acting from his title. ‘The defining moment of my 40 year transportation career happened at the very start of it,’ he said before explaining that as a toll collector for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority he learned the value of customer service and how vital the state’s transportation system is. O’Connor's nomination cleared the committee with unanimous support. State Sen. Mike Testa thanked him for saving the summer in North Wildwood with the dredging project his colleague across the aisle Sen. Troy Singleton said that O’Connor is a ‘hands on” leader.’”

R.I.P. — “Dave Murray, Republican strategist who helped elect Kean and Whitman, dies at 71” 

—“Fulop wants $20 million spending cap in gubernatorial primary” 


A message from Health Care Association of New Jersey:


BACKHANDING THE BLUE — “Trial starts for ex-N.J. state trooper accused of obstructing police on Jan. 6,” by Kevin Shea for “Michael Daniele, a retired New Jersey State Police trooper, went on trial in federal court Wednesday in Washington, D.C. on charges he interfered with police officers during the Jan. 6, 2021 rioting at the U.S. Capitol. The Holmdel resident has chosen a bench trial, where the judge acts as jury, before Judge Amit P. Mehta. Daniele is charged with six crimes, including two counts of obstructing officers during a civil disorder, acting disorderly and entering a restricted Capitol building. Authorities say he pulled barricades away from police officers protecting the Capitol.”

NEW JERSEYANS ‘CELEBRATING IN THE STREETS’ IS DEFINITELY SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED 'It's a disaster': Hill Dems bemoan Hochul's congestion pricing about-face, by POLITICO’s Corbin Hiar and Emma Dumain: "Congressional Democrats on Wednesday were unsparing in their criticism of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul's decision to prevent congestion pricing in Manhattan, calling the fellow Democrat's surprise move a "disaster" and "malpractice." .. "It was as erratic and as chaotic and as arbitrary and capricious of a decision as I've ever seen in my career as an elected official," said Rep. Richie Torres (D-N.Y.), whose district spans much of the Bronx, the New York City borough north of Manhattan. "It's a disaster. It's politically, substantively a disaster. There is no good that will come of it." "Politically, it's malpractice," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez … "I don't know what the governor was thinking," said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), a former car dealer who compared New York's congestion pricing plan to Northern Virginia's toll lanes, which were initially unpopular but are now an accepted part of the region's transportation system … Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat who represents a New Jersey district abutting upper Manhattan, said his constituents were “celebrating in the streets” when the “nurses and electricians and the hardworking folks … learned they were going to save 15 bucks a day.”

—“Joe Salerno wins Democratic nomination in NJ-2” 


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GREAT EXPECTORATIONS — “Atlantic City Council votes to censure Tibbitt; motion to censure Small fails,” by The Press of Atlantic City’s John O’Connor: “Council members voted 5-2 Wednesday evening to censure at-large Councilman George Tibbitt, leading to a counterproposal to censure Mayor Marty Small Sr., followed by heated words and a 15-minute recess. Several city employees had criticized Tibbitt at a previous council meeting over comments he made on a local radio show encouraging city workers to “spit on” Small over allegations of child abuse. ‘We cannot have public officials calling for violence no matter how they feel about that person,’ council Vice President Kaleem Shabazz said before the Tibbitt vote … Second Ward Councilwoman La'Toya Dunston made the motion to censure Small, who along with his wife, city schools Superintendent La'Quetta Small, is charged with abusing his teenage daughter.”

TRYING TO GET THE MAYOR ON TRUMP’S VP LIST — “Toms River mayor threatens Facebook page over post claiming he ordered animals killed,” by The Asbury Park Press’ Jean Mikle: “A lawyer representing Mayor Daniel Rodrick has filed a "cease and desist" demand against the Jersey Coast Emergency News Facebook site, asking that several posts be immediately removed, including one about the Toms River Animal Shelter that claimed the mayor ‘ is reportedly ordering the animals be euthanized and for everyone to be quiet about it.’ … Posts on the page alleged, "with no factual basis, that Mr. Rodrick is ordering for the animals at the shelter to be euthanized, and speaking in a heartless and crude language, and theft," according to the letter sent to the administrator and [Alfred] Ciampoli on June 8 by Rodrick's lawyer, former Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato … The mayor has also never made the statement, ‘animals can f--- off and die,’ as stated on the site, according to Coronato's letter.”

VIOLATORS WILL BE FED TO LUCY — “This Jersey Shore town will start punishing parents of unruly teens,” by NJ Advance Media’s Eric Conklin: “A Jersey Shore town is going to start enforcing a municipal law that allows it to ticket the parents of unruly teens. Police in Margate City on Wednesday announced they’re immediately enforcing a local ordinance that allows officers to ticket parents or guardians who knowingly leave their children unsupervised. The city forbids unaccompanied children under the age of 17 from being in public spaces between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless they are with an adult guardian. “In these cases, the juveniles will be transported back to our station and a responsible adult will be called in to take custody of the child and a summons will be issued to the parent,” police said.”

—“[Denville] cops claim they faced retaliation for reporting misconduct, lawsuits say” 

—“A Camden waterfront landmark becomes a corporate headquarters again

—“Jackson campus for over 2,000 Orthodox Jewish girls can proceed; judge dismisses lawsuit” 

—“Here's what Teaneck, Englewood spend to police Gaza protests

—“Wyclef Jean, Fat Joe to perform at Jersey City Fourth of July celebration” 

—“Two mayoral candidates urge ‘first dibs’ regulations on new Jersey City affordable housing” 


A message from Health Care Association of New Jersey:

Trenton must stop short-changing nursing home residents.

Nursing homes require additional staff, and those staff deserve living wages.

To support more staffing hours, state payment rates need to rise.

State lawmakers and regulators need to stop piling on unfunded mandates that drain critical resources that should instead be spent on hiring more staff and improving care.

If they don’t, more than 9,000 current New Jersey nursing home residents risk losing their homes.

Tell your state lawmakers: The state must invest now in the welfare of its aging senior population.

It’s not a choice, it’s an obligation.


COPS SHOT, EXPECTED TO SURVIVE — “2 cops shot, suspect dead in NJ banquet hall confrontation involving NYPD,” by NBC 4’s Myles Miller, Tracie Strahan and Jennifer Millman: “Two police officers were shot, one NYPD, the other based in New Jersey, and a suspect killed when gunfire erupted during an ongoing investigation that led cops to a popular banquet hall in Middlesex County, according to a Senior Law Enforcement official with knowledge of the case … Authorities responded to reports of a possible active shooter at Royal Albert's Palace, a 1,000-person banquet hall at the Raritan Hotel in Woodbridge Township, around 12:30 a.m. … According to the senior law enforcement official, the NYPD had put a license plate alarm on a car in connection with a homicide out of East Harlem. Details on that case weren't immediately available, but police in New Jersey using a license plate reader got a hit on the vehicle. NYPD officers responded to the scene, along with New Jersey State Troopers and officers from police departments in Woodbridge Township and Edison. The official says the girlfriend of the suspect got into a confrontation with responding officers and ended up arrested. Her boyfriend, alerted to the chaos, allegedly came out of the building shooting. He was killed in the ensuing gunfire, according to the senior law enforcement official. An NYPD officer was shot in the foot, and a New Jersey officer was shot in the back. Both are expected to survive.”

— “NJ fisherman faced great white shark all alone off Jersey Shore, recorded encounter” 

—“Rarely-seen beaked whale washes up dead on Jersey Shore beach” 


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Who's still pushing the sales tax?