Archive: June, 2012
Boring topic? Maybe. Still an important topic.
Every day, on every level of government, gadfly citizens and newspaper reporters are trying to understand what's happening with your tax dollars. Often, all they find out is how opaque New Jersey is.
Gov. Christie released remarkably positive job growth numbers at a morning press conference, and in doing so he got ahead of what promises to be a day of political squabbling over his proposed tax cut.
The state added more than 17,000 jobs in May, according to federal figures that Christie released today, accounting for a quarter of all job growth nationwide for the month. It is the single biggest month-to-month job gain in seven years.
The report also said that the unemployment in New Jersey ticked up from 9.1 percent to 9.2 percent, which the administration attributed to more people looking for work.
In case you missed it, a good-humored yet combative governor found himself in front of a super-friendly audience in Haddonfield yesterday. Here's my story in today's paper:
Gov. Christie, who has doubled the frequency of his town hall meetings as the days ticktock down to the deadline for signing the state budget, brought his fabled road show to the heart of Camden County on Tuesday.
The Republican governor is now crisscrossing the state for these events twice a week, as opposed to once a week earlier in the year, and except for fielding softball questions from the audience about issues related to small business, autism, and solar power, Christie hammered away at one theme in Haddonfield's Central Middle School gym Tuesday: Taxes need to be cut, and Assembly Democrats will be to blame if that doesn't happen.
In case you missed it, yesterday I checked in with the Rutgers-Rowan merger story and looked at the politcs behind it:
TRENTON — A major bill drops in the Legislature's lap after months of discussion and speculation. The Democratic Senate leader is on board. The Democratic Assembly leader appears hesitant.
Outside the Statehouse, there are protests. Inside, unannounced tweaks to the bill. Looming overhead is the $30 billion state budget.
Gov. Christie placed second in a vice presidential straw poll today -- behind Florida Sen. Marco Rubio -- at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference in Chicago.
Christie garnered 14 percent of the vote behind Rubio's 30 percent.
This story is also in Thursday's paper, here.
PISCATAWAY, NJ -- A subdued, sparsely-attended town hall meeting with Gov. Christie this morning in this Middlesex County town brought one noteworthy bit: Several anti-Christie electronic traffic signs, set up by town workers at the behest of the Democratic mayor, in apparent violation of state regulation.
If you paused long enough as the words scrolled through, the signs read:
Perhaps you are more focused on the bill that would totally revamp the state's higher education system and Rutgers University, which we wrote about today, here.
But moving faster through the Legislature is another bill aimed squarely at Gov. Christie's political travels. It requires that legislative leaders be notified every time the governor leaves the state so they're aware that the lieutenant governor is running the show. The bill passed a legislative committee yesterday, and was lampooned by the Star-Ledger editorial board today as partisan gamesmanship.
The two-page bill, S-1321, requires that every time Christie takes his wife to a dinner and a show in New York City, as he sometimes does, or catches a game at Citizens Bank Park, as he now may be more apt to do since the Mets are better than the Phillies, he must let Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Shiela Oliver know one day ahead of time.
In case you missed it, today I looked at Gov. Christie's message of bipartisanship, and how that could be affected by the two consecutive defeats of his Supreme Court nominees at the hands of Senate Democrats:
TRENTON - When Gov. Christie put out a parody video with Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker last month, the Republican governor described it as a quintessentially bipartisan effort - "emblematic of the way I've tried to govern."
"Look at Washington, D.C.," he said at a public town hall the day the video became a YouTube sensation. "They can't get a thing done down there, and everybody's at fault, everybody's to blame. People have to start reaching across the aisle, and start working with each other."