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TRENTON - It is unclear the size of Gov. Phil Murphy's mansion; we haven't been invited over for a BBQ (just yet.) But the typical New Jersey home is considerably smaller than what the governor may be accustomed. Perhaps that's behind Murphy's ludicrous decision to still allow up to 25 people to congregate in a home, as the virus cases tick upward in New Jersey. There is no way, at all, that social distancing can occur in your standard living room, of an estimated 216 square feet, if 25 people are permitted to jam in there for a party, sleepover or whatever. That number, actually, is less than his previous mandate, in which he allowed indoor gatherings of up to 25% of the size or a room or 100 people, whichever is smaller. Murphy now says "25 people, period."  Call us the killjoy, but people need to go the heck outside. And, if not in August, when? Get serious, in today's NJ Spotlight.

STATEWIDE – With everyone working from home these days – rather than trekking into NYC – a state senator is raising an interesting question: Can New Jersey tax these workers who typically pay their taxes on income to the Empire State?  Of course, that question is being raised by a Sussex County lawmaker – Sen. Steven Oroho – who won’t lose many votes up there for suggesting New Jersey slap income taxes on formerly New York-bound workers. Oroho says hundreds of millions of dollars are slipping through the state’s fingers, as all this tax to New York is now rightfully due to New Jersey, as people sit home in their bunny slippers and Zoom away.  “We’re not just talking about nickels and dimes,” the senator said.  With the state now forced to borrow upwards of $9.9 billion to stay afloat, there should absolutely be no problem with New Jersey taking back all those New York taxes, right?

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TRENTON – For New Jersey’s Republicans, the governor’s plan to borrow upwards of $9.9 billion to bail out the state is completely reckless. So reckless, in fact, that the GOP is now before the state Supreme Court, demanding that the good judges shoot down Murphy’s crazy borrowing plan.  If that happens, boy, what a win for Republicans, as they can tout themselves as principled, fiscally conservative caretakers of your tax dollar. But Charlie Stile of the Record offers a solid, logical follow-up question: What happens if the judges actually agree with the GOP? What then? If the state can’t borrow from Wall Street, what will happen to New Jersey’s empty coffers, already echoing in the expanse of nothingness? We can’t exactly print our own cash – although “MurphyMoney” has a nice ring. No one seems to have a Plan B if the state can’t borrow, other than some good, old-fashioned “bullet biting” and “belt tightening.” That doesn’t exactly sound like a solution. Rather than just chuck bombs from the cheap seats, Republicans need to either offer something workable or, respectfully, keep mum.

HAMILTON – The mayor fit right in with laborers, going undercover with public works crews to collect trash, pull weeds and remove trees along East State Street. Mayor Jeff Martin left his wingtips home, donning work clothes, sunglasses, a ball cap and a mask last week to spruce up an area in the Bromley section where 20 row houses were ravaged by fire in 2015. The Trentonian says hizzoner made “no fanfare” about his work. He did not issue a press release, pose for photo-ops or find a ribbon to cut. “We don’t tell the press everything we’re up to,” the mayor said, after getting outed by accident, adding he wanted “Bromley community residents to know we care.” The mayor also said there are early indications that the site of the fire may soon be revitalized. It is good for public officials to get their hands dirty, every now and then.

BRIEFING BREATHER

All of Queen Anne’s 18 children died before reaching adulthood.

HOBOKEN – It’s so darn simple: Just wear the mask. City officials – clearly frustrated – are now looking to amend an ordinance that would slap a $250 fine on anyone who doesn’t wear a mask outside, unless they are sitting at a restaurant. When you have 54,000 people somehow crammed into a mile square, not to mention visitors and daytime workers, you need to do something drastic to control this pandemic. Mayor Ravi Bhalla told HCV that Hoboken has formed an “ad hoc COVID special unit” to enforce local and state laws. Good. Perhaps Hoboken can become a model for other congested cities where residents consider themselves and others around them to be thoroughly invincible.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

MADISON, WI – Yet another overachiever to report.  An ultramarathon runner, who was working through 103 miles across the hills of Wisconsin, took a quick break at her 35th mile. Not for water or a stretch, but to be sworn in as a Wisconsin state judge. Jill Karofsky was joined for about five miles of her completely voluntary run by Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Dallet; The pair paused on the lawn of a pub to hold a quick swearing-in ceremony for Karofsky's 10-year term on the court. Karofsky – who has this thick Wisconsin accent you have to hear for yourself – then finished her personal run, in a not-to-shabby 34 hours.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

What a day.  It was this day in 1982 that N.Y. Met Joel Youngblood hits a single at Wrigley Field during the day and is promptly traded to the Expos; he then hits a single against the Phillies at night. Both pitchers were future Hall of Famers.

WORD OF THE DAY

Aficionado – [uh-fish-ee-uh-NAH-doh] – noun

Definition:  A person who likes, knows about, and appreciates a usually fervently pursued interest or activity; a devotee.

Example: Six home runs in five games? I’m fast becoming an Aaron Judge aficionado.

WIT OF THE DAY

“Apathy is as dangerous, invisible, and contagious as an asymptomatic virus carrier.” 

―Khang Kijarro Nguyen

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“OPEN THE SCHOOLS!!!”

-Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Drenching