TRENTON – Our millionaires may want to guzzle one, final New Year’s martini, with word Gov. Phil Murphy is hell bent on raising their taxes in 2020. Murphy is still saying that a millionaire’s tax makes plenty of sense, creating a “rainy day reality,” fighting opioids and helping ensure the NJ Transit trains magically show up. “This is asking the wealthiest among us to pay a little bit more, to level the playing field,” he says. “People ask me all the time, you gotta problem with millionaires? I've got no problem with millionaires. In fact, I want more of them in New Jersey.” Murphy notes recent polls show more than 70% of New Jerseyans support a millionaire’s tax. Of course. Why not have someone else pick up the check? It’s the Jersey way.
TRENTON – Who knew the State House was filled with so many art aficionados? Our state Legislature – which we thought only cared about the fine art of politics – has passed a bill that would allow municipalities to levy a special property tax to fund local cultural and arts programs if — and only if — local voters give them the go-ahead. Critics of the measure are fuming about yet another potential new tax on New Jerseyans. NJ Spotlight reports that the fate of the bill rests with Gov. Phil Murphy, on whose desk it lies awaiting his painterly signature.
PATERSON – Fifteen people (so far) have made the very same New Year’s resolution: Win City Council seats this May. While the rest of us were getting worn out on holiday hubbub, six incumbents and nine challengers were busy collecting signatures on nominating petitions. The Paterson Times reports Councilman Michael Jackson, a frequent critic of Mayor Andre Sayegh, is perhaps the most vulnerable incumbent, facing three new challengers. And, 20-year incumbent Councilman Bill McKoy will, for a third time, face his Third Ward nemesis Alex Mendez, a former councilman. Voters, once again, will be asked: Can any of these civic-minded people make a tangible difference in a city with so much untapped potential?
BRIEFING BREATHER: Your brain generates enough electricity to power a lightbulb.
ATLANTIC CITY – Not too long ago, it looked as if New Jersey’s gaming resort was doomed to bankruptcy, gobbled up by debt, insurmountable out-of-state competition and online gambling that gave tourists no logical reason to climb into their cars and drive a couple of hours to play slots. But after a state takeover and a stronger economy, now everything is showing up aces. Moody’s Investor Services, which is apolitical and always gives it to you straight, upgraded the city’s credit rating by two notches at the start of the year. That’s now six notches higher than the awful Caa3 rating that was in place just 13 months ago, showing Atlantic City is finally on a long-sought winning streak.
DOWN THE SHORE – This isn’t how any normal mom teaches kids to respect the law, but this is no ordinary mom. TV’s shameless Jersey Shore alum, Nicole Polizzi, posted a weekend Instagram video using her kids to re-create her 2010 drunken, disorderly arrest in Seaside Heights. Pint-size Polizzi’s video shows her 7-year-old son slapping makeshift handcuffs on his 5-year-old sister. (Ha Ha; drunken arrests are sooo funny.) Although Snooki vows to never again appear on “Jersey Shore Family Vacation,” the Asbury Park Press says she’s apparently reminiscing her glory days, recently posting multiple retweets and videos of her arrest and her frolics down the shore.
ON THE ROAD – It’s official: it’s too expensive to leave the house in New Jersey. Besides dealing with miles of traffic wherever you attempt to go, the cost of road travel is going up even more. The Port Authority has increased your tolls yet again, beginning yesterday. Now, with your EZPass, it will cost $13.75 during rush hour for the honor of accessing the George Washington Bridge, the Lincoln Tunnel, the Holland Tunnel, the Outerbridge Crossing, the Goethals Bridge and the Bayonne Bridge. Want to pay cash? Oh, boy. The Port Authority will now smack you around for $16. Your best bet: Hide with your Netflix account, just $12.99 a month.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
WAUSAU, WI. – Snowball fights are a blast. And, so is the mayor of this small Wisconsin city that CBS News claimed has made throwing snowballs illegal. Not so! To fight that fake news, Mayor Robert Mielke let local cops pelt him with snowballs at a downtown park, all caught on a comical video that’s gone viral. Meanwhile, the police chief explains that a poorly-worded ordinance, written back in 1962, lumps snowballs with throwing bottles, rocks and bricks. But, the chief says: “A fun snowball fight is a fun snowball fight ... not something we enforce.” The mayor is now updating that outdated measure to make sure there isn't a snowball’s chance in hell that anyone gets busted.
ST. GEORGE, UT – Happy birthday to one McDonald’s hamburger, now celebrating its 20th year in existence. It was first purchased in 1999 by a local guy interested in a science experience related to enzymes and deterioration. Of no surprise, the burger was forgotten for a few years and was then unearthed from a dusty old coat pocket in 2013. Since that point, it has been aging quietly in a Big Mac box, unsurprisingly maintaining the same shape and feel from 1999, but now with the tantalizing aroma of cardboard.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 1979 that the Village People’s “YMCA” sold more than 150,000 copies in the United Kingdom, an instant Number 1 hit.
WORD OF THE DAY
Permutation – [per-myoo-TAY-shən] – noun
Definition: An ordered arrangement of a set of objects
Example: “I performed many permutations of my sock collection over the winter break.”
WIT OF THE DAY
“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”
― Dwight D. Eisenhower
“The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way...and without hesitation!”
- Donald J. Trump
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun