TRENTON – It has been suggested for years that you bring your own bag to the store, rather than wasting more of those single-use plastic and paper bags that fill our landfills. The state Legislature wants a sweeping ban on the distribution of these bags, as well as plastic straws and polystyrene food containers, that are destroying the planet. This important measure now heads to Gov. Phil Murphy. While it is certainly a huge win for environmental groups, it is also of great relief to business owners. Different towns have adopted varying ordinances over the years and now – finally – stores will have some uniform direction to follow in the state.

TRENTON – Welcome back, Mr. Tepper? When New Jersey’s richest billionaire, David Tepper, fled for tax-friendly Florida in 2016, the state budget took a substantial hit in taxpayer revenue. Senate President Steve Sweeney says the well-known hedge fund owner is making a glorious return to New Jersey, just as the state is passing a millionaire’s tax. “He called me and told me. He said you’ve got an extra $120 million coming from me,” Sweeney said. Well, that would be terrific. Politico attempted to confirm with Tepper’s apparent Miami Beach office; no response yet. But, boy, you really gotta love living in New Jersey if it costs you $120 million a year for the privilege. Could our bagels really be that good?

BRIEFING BREATHER

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Movie trailers were originally shown after the movie, which is why they were called “trailers.”

POINT PLEASANT – Okay, this isn’t funny. Some residents in town received the wrong mail-in ballots from the Ocean County Clerk’s Office. In this era when some claim everything is “fixed” and “fake,” there is obviously no room for error when it comes to this all-important election. County officials are blaming “human error” with empty-minded workers putting ballots on the wrong envelopes. The boo-boo: 73 ballots with Long Beach Township candidates were sent to Point Pleasant, with 34 ballots already returned, NJ 101.5 reports. Of course, this is small stuff relative to a national election. But more and more stories like this will certainly chip into the “legitimacy” of this election, especially from those unnamed individuals already claiming it’s rigged.

ON THE ROAD – The Port Authority – our friends who bring you everything from bridges to tunnels to rails to airports – is also facing financial struggles during this pandemic, as many people have not been travelling, NJ.com reports. And that means the Port Authority has to take a very close look at its whopping $32 billion capital plan. While hard decisions will now be made, at least this situation forces Port Authority officials to really, really drill down on what is needed and what can be postponed. And, perhaps some projects can be “value engineered,” as the Port Authority – with a $7 billion annual budget – has become this vast spending machine, fueled by continual toll hikes. Perhaps the rubber is hitting the road.

TRENTON – New Jersey has high hopes for an economic rebound, especially as we adjust to life in this new, masked landscape. Yet the state is noting an uptick in unemployment claims, with nearly 25,000 new filings from last week. That 25% bump could be seasonal workers, perhaps, who no longer have summer tourists to serve. Hard for us to say, as we are grossly ill-informed on all issues related to macroeconomics. But the fact that there have already been 1.6 million applicants for unemployment in New Jersey during this mess, and the state is seeing an increase, is obviously not good. Here’s hoping the latest stat is a blip. 

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

SYDNEY – The moment you’ve waited for has arrived. As you have always dreamed of owning your very own fully-stocked bar cart from an airplane, Australian airline Qantas is there for you. The airline recently retired its fleet of Boeing 747 jets and is now stuck with 1,000 fully-stocked bar carts, removed before the planes were flown to California for retirement (whatever that means.) Meanwhile, those carts still have champagne, Australian wines, Tim Tam cookies, pajamas and Qantas First Class Sheridan throw pillows. You can get one for just $685, or 169,000 frequent flier miles, plus gobs of shipping costs. Yet a small price for your very own bespoke in-flight trolley.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1974 that an injured Yankees pitcher underwent a new, widely untested procedure to repair the elbow on his throwing arm and save his career, thus creating “Tommy John surgery.”

WORD OF THE DAY

Pediculous – [pih-DIK-yuh-lus} - adjective

Definition: Infested with lice

Example: It’s ridiculous when your kid’s sleeping bag is pediculous.

WIT OF THE DAY

“If you really think that the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money.” 

-Guy McPherson

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."

-Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Flip-flop