STATEWIDE – No surprise here: New Jersey continues to hand Uncle Sam much more money than it ever hopes to get back. While Republicans claimed the COVID stimulus packages sent gobs of money as part of some mystical “blue state bailout,” two studies show the big winners were states where senators tried to block federal pandemic assistance coming this way. The big winner? Kentucky, which just happens to be the home of (former) Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Residents there received $2.89 in federal spending for every $1 paid in federal taxes in fiscal year ‘19. How generous. Meanwhile, in “elite” New Jersey, our state received just 91 cents for every $1 sent to D.C. Same with New York and other Northeast blue states like Massachusetts and Connecticut. Here’s another way to look at it: Kentucky received $7,377 more per person than what he or she paid in taxes. In New Jersey, we each lost $4,877 – the highest of any state. Luckily, the next round of stimulus is coming: a great time for New Jersey to catch up.

STATEWIDE – As we all know Congress loves fairness, this is the ideal time to look at the financial effects of the Republican tax plan, which capped property tax deductions at $10,000. That directly screwed us elites, as New Jersey has some of the highest property taxes on the planet. So, in McConnell’s Kentucky, where the average property taxes are $1,257, the cap means absolutely nothing. Here? That’s another case. Incoming Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she wants to look into the effect of this draconian cap, which directly targets taxpayers in Blue states, like ours. Perhaps relief is on the way.

TRENTON – Weed:101? A South Jersey assemblyman is calling for mandatory lessons about marijuana for kiddies as young as eight years old.  Assemblyman Erik Simonsen, of Cape May, says third graders should be required to learn all about how cannabis affects the brain so perhaps they will Just. Say. No. Teens usually learn about pot in seventh grade, but the assemblyman – a teacher – says third graders should get a lesson or two, especially when a bong suddenly appears on the coffee table during this new era of legal ganja. Mom insists on calling it a “vase,” but I think we know better.

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BRIEFING BREATHER

Thomas Edison, who invented the light bulb, was afraid of the dark.

READINGTON – A huge indoor medical marijuana farm could cure what’s ailing this town’s Route 22 commercial district. A chunk of tax revenue and many people’s jobs went up in smoke when Walmart shut its 120,000-square-foot store here. Tonight, one of the nation’s largest pot producers, Chicago-based Verano Holdings, goes before a virtual planning board meeting for final approvals to convert that old, massive superstore into grow rooms and processing areas. The Courier News says Verano already has year-old state permits to harvest, store, package and process medicinal weed for sale at off-site dispensaries. When it’s up and running, this huge pot farm also promises new jobs for up to 100 people. A great way to grow business.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. – Mom and dad: pay up. That’s the word from a local man who successfully sued his parents for throwing out his expansive porn stash. A federal judge ruled that the parents had absolutely no right to throw the big, fat pile in the trash. Junior lived with his parent for 10 months after his divorce, before fleeing to the really happening community of Muncie, Indiana. The son has noted that boxes of high-quality films and magazines worth an estimated $29,000 had gone missing. Mom and dad quickly fessed up, but argued it was within their rights as landlords to ditch the collection. The judge disagreed, adding the court is not interested in an evidentiary hearing.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK. – “Bigfoot” will have a price on its head if a state lawmaker gets his way. Rep. Justin Humphrey wants to create a special hunting season for the legendary ape-like creatures with state-issued licenses for Sasquatch-hunters. Humphrey tells ABC News he doesn’t want any Bigfoot killed, just captured for a hefty $25,000 bounty. State wildlife experts call it a giant waste because, based on “science-driven research,” they’re fairly sure Bigfoot does not exist. Perhaps neither does Humphrey who says, if nothing else, he hopes to attract more hunters, increase state license revenue and maybe boost the sale of flannel shirts, chewing tobacco and beef jerky.

BAR GRAMMAR

The past, present, and future walked into a bar. It was tense.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

The last Sears catalog was printed on this day in 1993, after 97 years.

WORD OF THE DAY

Insouciance – [in-SOO-see-unss] – noun

Definition: lighthearted unconcern

Example: Don't worry; be insouciant.

WIT OF THE DAY

“I received a letter just before I left office from a man. I don’t know why he chose to write it, but I’m glad he did. He wrote that you can go to live in France, but you can’t become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Italy, but you can’t become a German, an Italian. He went through Turkey, Greece, Japan and other countries. But he said anyone, from any corner of the world, can come to live in the United States and become an American.”

-Ronald Reagan

BIDEN BLURB

“Dreamers are Americans."

-Joe Biden

WEATHER IN A WORD

Brrr