Calling Hurricane Sandy-damaged homes that have not yet been torn down an “ongoing emergency,” Gov. Chris Christie signed an executive order aimed at speeding up the process of razing unsafe properties. The order puts the New Jersey Department of…
The Editorial Board of the Monmouth and Ocean Counties paper of record actually met with local mayors! Call that progress. MMM criticised the APP editorial board last month for sitting down with Newark Mayor Cory Booker for no reason other than to boost Booker’s statewide name ID when they, until yesterday, hardly, if ever, meet with local mayors.
Middletown Mayor Tony Fiore and Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider met with the Neptune Nudniks on Wednesday, at the behest of the League of Municipalities. The mayors’ purpose was to bring attention to the State’s decades old practice of keeping the energy receipts tax that public utilities pay.
In energy receipts tax has been in existence for decades. It was originally set up in lieu of property taxes to compensate municipalities for the utility infrastructure rights of way. The tax used to be broken out on your utility bill. It was paid by the utilities directly to the municipalities.
In 2002, during the McGreevey administration, the State started collecting to tax. We all know what happens to money when to goes to the black whole of Trenton for redistribution. Much of it disappears and the intended recipients get shafted. Think Unemployment Insurance Fund and Transportation Trust Fund.
Fiore told MMM that the League sued McGreevey to get the money but the State just turned around a reduced State Aid by a commensurate amount.
Fiore, Schneider and the League now want that money back. It’s not coming, according to what State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff told the APP, “At this time we do not have the financial flexibility to make discretionary adjustment” to provide more from energy taxes.
Fiore told MMM that the energy receipts tax would have provided $4 million dollars to Middletown Township in 2011. That would have saved the Library surplus the Township relied on, prevented layoffs and cleaned up a few snow storms.
What burns Fiore is not just the $4 million that Middletown didn’t collect from the utilities. It’s the $1.5 million hit the Township continues to take in reduced State Aid from 2009 levels. “We wouldn’t be increasing property taxes 1.97% this year if our Aid was restored,” said Fiore, “give us our $1.5 million back and I can reduce taxes by 2%. The Board of Education got all of their Aid restored, yet they are still raising taxes.”
Schneider told the APP that not receiving the energy receipts tax is costing Long Branch “several million dollars.”
Governor Chris Christie’s vacation during the Blizzard of 2010 did not suppress voters’ approval of the job he is doing.
In the first independent poll since the storm, the Fairleigh Dickinson Public Mind Poll says that 53% of voters approve of Christie’s performance while 36% disapprove. FDU polled 802 registered voters by phone, land line and cell, between January 3 and January 9.
Christie’s favorable/unfavorable rating of 47%-39% is better than every elected governor’s in the last two decades.
Contrasting the FDU poll released this morning to the Quinnipiac Poll of December 21, 2010, one might conclude that the administration’s performance during the Blizzard of 2010 boosted Christie’s ratings. The December Quinnipiac poll gave Christie a 46%-44% approval rating. Quinnipiac polled 1276 voters between December 14 and 19.
Today’s poll should serve as a wake up call to much of New Jersey’s media elite who attempted to turn Christie’s family vacation during the Christmas holiday into a controversy. The controversy existed only in their minds and editorial board conference rooms. The voters and the media elites’ diminishing readership didn’t care.
In perhaps related news,Gannett announced they are laying off half of their remaining reporters at three of its Central Jersey newspapers. Maybe business would be better if the newspapers/news sites listened and reported rather than tried to advance their agenda upon a readership that views them as irrelevant.
Today is 1/11/11. Christie will delivery his first State of the State address this afternoon. New Jersey will be hit with another snow storm this afternoon.
Sorry loyal readers, I’ve been on New Jersey’s cleared roads most of today on business and haven’t had a chance to post. However I did receive several emails requesting the video of Governor Christie’s comments about New Jersey’s Mayors’ response to the storm. Several media outlets have reported that Christie deflected blame away from himself over the conditions of New Jersey’s roads a week ago. That’s not what he said.
Here without any filter except the bald guy who keeps getting in the way, here is what the Governor said: