STATEWIDE – The next time you receive your property tax bill, expect a friendly little message from your town officials explaining all the glorious money they are saving you. The governor has signed a bill that allows municipal officials to provide a laundry list of all the shared services they have engaged in with surrounding towns to cut down your bill, NJ 101.5 reports. This little PR opportunity every quarter is designed to hopefully incentivize local officials to pursue new revenue sources. It’s also a bit of threat, as some astute taxpayers may ultimately wonder why the shared services message every quarter seems, well, a little light.
TRENTON – Is New Jersey’s government flush with cash? It’s safe to assume not, but the Pew Charitable Trust believes the state’s coffers have finally recovered from the Great Recession, which officially ended in June 2009. The state had collected the most cash ever in 2007, but then it all fell to pieces, dropping 18%. Finally, the state has clawed back, while five other states are still taking in less tax revenue than they did before the collapse. (Suckers.) New Jersey still has $130 billion or so in unfunded liabilities for retired public employee health care benefits, but let’s ignore that for the moment.
STATEWIDE – There are up to 4.4 million New Jerseyans who have jobs these days, and the latest federal stats offer some glaring stats. For one, most of our workers are bringing in less than $30,000 annually, working in manual labor, food service and retail. And we are learning the least-known occupations, like forester, tool grinders, shoe repairperson, and museum technicians, all pay considerably more than the $11-$14 an hour that most New Jerseyans earn. Trends show that most New Jerseyans really can not afford to live here, although the smart move is to be a registered nurse, of which 80,000 of us earn more than $82,000 a year with that steady, reliable, never-ending work.
BRIEFING BREATHER: Transgender people are now no longer classified as mentally ill by the World Health Organization.
ATLANTIC CITY – As many MAGA lovers flock to Wildwood tomorrow to gush at the Trump rally, there are many who will remain in the Atlantic City area and quietly seethe. These workers have long memories, justifiably, and are still furious that the would-be President refused to pay many of the bills for the construction of the Trump Taj Mahal in 1990. Some local companies went deep into debt for years, others went out of business. Trump got his casino, which later failed, while the self-proclaimed “King of Debt” owed $70 million to 253 contractors who hired thousands of workers to build the casino mogul’s dream palace, USA Today reports. Contractors were given pennies on the dollar, with Trump explaining away that people were allegedly cheating him. Of course, no one will be talking tomorrow about Trump’s disastrous effect on South Jersey; the facts never get in the way of the Trump story.
TRENTON – Anywhere else, a City Hall crackdown on nepotism and workplace romances might well be considered refreshing reforms by all. Not here. Those measures are the latest salvos Councilwoman Robin Vaughn and a contentious council faction fired at Mayor Reed Gusciora. One of the mayor’s allies, Councilman Jerell Blakeley, is criticizing Vaughn’s ban on fraternization as too intrusive. Blakeley also tells the Trentonian that Vaughn’s anti-nepotism ban is too broad: “Trenton is a small city. Nearly everyone is related.” Her ordinance forbids any city official’s “spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, in-laws, cousins, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, foster children, domestic partners and cohabitants” from ever getting a city job. The mayor is now threatening to counter.
TRENTON – A panel of experts appointed by state lawmakers has devised 100 suggestions to help smooth prisoners’ transition from incarceration to the community. Clearly, there’s plenty of work to do before that punch list is whittled down to a manageable number. Members of a state Senate committee start the job today, when they will hear details of eight bills that propose improvements to addiction treatment for those behind bars, Medicaid in New Jersey’s jails and prisons, services for those leaving prison, among others. NJ Spotlight has the tally of what’s proposed.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
HEALDSBURG, CA – Expect the 2020 vintage of Rodney Strong wine to taste a bit, well, fishy, after a massive tank of Cabernet Sauvignon sprang a leak last week and poured into the Reiman Creek, spilling out into the Russian River in Sonoma County. It looks like 97,000 gallons of wine gushed, about 20-25 percent of the tank’s contents, KGO-TV reports. It seems to have been a mechanical failure, prompting the winery to hire contractors to pump the wine out of the river. So, the wine is saved; just ignore the algae.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It’s the birthday of college basketball, as the University of Chicago beat Chicago YMCA 19-11 on this day in 1894.
WORD OF THE DAY
Sublimate – [SUB-lə-mayt] – verb
Definition: To divert the expression of (an instinctual desire or impulse) from its unacceptable form to one that is considered more socially or culturally acceptable
Example: I’ll be attending the Trump rally in Wildwood, showing a ferocious, yet sublimated, appearance.
WIT OF THE DAY
“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
― William Shakespeare
“Is there any place that's more fun to be than a Trump rally? Is there any place?”
- Donald J. Trump
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun