TRENTON - So much for shining light on the state's "dark money." Gov. Phil Murphy rejected a bill that would have forced political action organizations to disclose where their money comes from, so that everyone would actually know who is fueling New Jersey politics. (Remember this all started when the Murphy-aligned 501(c)4 New Direction New Jersey famously reneged on its pledge to disclose donors.) Murphy claims the bill "fall short" of bringing greater transparency to the political process. Meanwhile, Democrats in the state Legislature slammed such a comment as a gross misrepresentation, saying they have been spending months working on this bill that's now heading back into the shadows. The chasm between the Democratic governor and the Democratic legislature continues to widen.
TRENTON - Despite the soggy ground, New Jersey could do with some rain - at least the kind that winds up in the state's rainy-day fund. Treasury officials have announced that surging "April surprise" tax returns have put $250 million in the fund, which has seen nothing but drought for more than the past decade. The rainy-day fund can only be used in case of recession or other emergency. But some top Dems want the money to help to middle class, which - as we all know - have been drowning for some time. NJ Spotlight reports.
DOWN THE SHORE - Beach houses could become a great investment again, as lawmakers are giving a second look at the sales and occupancy taxes that homeowners are forced to charge on their short-term tenants. The tax prompted some potential vacationers to opt for other trips because of the rising costs. State officials initiated this soul-crushing tax back in October, hoping to extract cash from online marketplaces like Airbnb. But the law also hit rentals that owners directly book, which many considered a bit unfair to themselves, their tenants and the tourism industry. NJ 101.5 reports the law would lift the tax requirement on homeowners, who often use social media, classifieds and word-of-mouth to find their summer rentals. It looks like this revised bill won't be in place for this summer, but hopefully it's on its way.
NEWARK - With all the spilled food on our highways, perhaps it is time for entrepreneurs to introduce roadway diners. For the second time in two days, State Police were responding to spills. The latest occurred early yesterday, when a tractor trailer overturned on the New Jersey Turnpike just north of the Newark airport, dropping a load of butter - with not one bagel in site. It took four hours for crews to wipe away all the butter, allowing traffic to slip-slide along beginning at 5 a.m. This came just a day after a load of sweet potatoes hit the pavement at Route 78 in Readington, courtesy of an overturned truck. (Editor's Note: If you can somehow get the butter closer to the sweet potatoes, it could be quite delicious.)
TRENTON - One day, there will be legal weed in New Jersey. But that day won't be tomorrow, next month or even the rest of this year. State lawmakers are now kicking the controversial issue to voters, but Senate President Steve Sweeney doesn't expect that ballot question to appear at the polls this November, Politicoreports. "We'll never do it this year," he said. So, there. If the referendum is posed next November - coinciding with a Presidential election - there will be heavy turnout, which should ensure legalized marijuana sails through. And if the current President is re-elected, we will all desperately need it, until around, say, 2024.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
A DIVE BAR NEAR YOU - Publicity stunt? Yes. Newsworthy? Uh, sure. So, let's tell the story of econo-beer company Natural Light and its nationwide search for a paid summer intern to drink some lousy beer, hang at various summer events and post brilliant social media content about his (or her) exploits. The company is looking for the official "Natty Light Summer Intern," with such duties as serving as brand ambassador (while drinking lousy beer), creating viral content (while drinking lousy beer), conducting product research (while drinking other companies' decent beers) and keeping Natural Light honchoes updated on all of his (or her) uproarious beer-drinking escapades. Job requirements are: "Be outgoing, but not annoying, there is a fine line." Consider your future, here.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was one year ago today that NJ Transit officials confronted ticked-off commuters during a "We Are Listening" tour at the Hoboken terminal. This up-close-and-personal meeting with cranky customers took place during the evening commute, as transit officials addressed maddening delays, breakdowns, overcrowding and cancellations.
WORD OF THE DAY
Slumgullion - [slum-GUL-yən] - noun
Definition: A meat stew
Example: How weird - Mom didn't ask for a second helping of my award-winning slumgullion.
WIT OF THE DAY
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun