OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY
TRENTON - Politico reports that Senate President Stephen Sweeney is pushing a plan today to slap a 3 percent surcharge on all corporations earning more than $1 million in net income. That would be a boon to the state treasury to the tune of $657 million each year. That happens to be around the same amount as would be raised by the proposed millionaire's tax, which Gov. Phil Murphy is pushing and Sweeney is opposing. All should hear directly from Sweeney on his grand plan before rendering an opinion, although such a move would seem to send successful businesses scurrying elsewhere.
TRENTON - It has been fascinating to watch lawmakers come up with ideas to skirt the law, as Trenton politicians want to work around the new federal cap on state and local tax deductions. It's so brazen that a bipartisan group of state lawmakers have been formed, announcing a new scam to benefit state taxpayers. It really is "back to the future," as lawmakers suggest New Jersey return to a system predating 1993, when certain businesses paid the state the income taxes owed by their owners and partners, Politico reports. Such taxes, under the Trump law, are still magically deductible. Lawmakers think they found the IRS-proof solution, as the state would merely be reverting to a tax system that had been in place for decades. Never mess with New Jersey ingenuity when it comes to passing the check.
STATEWIDE - As of 6 a.m. this morning, there were still 41,000 JCP&L customers without power, following Friday's walloping whammy of a nor'easter. The burning question: Will the utility be able to turn on the electricity before the next huge storm, expected to bear down tomorrow night with up to a foot of snow? JCP&L now has 3,000 workers on the ground, working feverishly, we are told. But with another storm on the way bringing wet, heavy snow, coupled with weakened trees and shaky power, now is the time to find those Yankee Candles you received over the holidays and vowed to quickly regift.
ON THE ROAD - The now-famous story of the drunk who generated a $1,600 Uber bill has a new chapter. Kenny Bachman of Gloucester - who partied in West Virginia last month, punched in his home address for the Uber driver, passed out in the back and then went on a six-hour drive back to New Jersey - now wants us all to pay the bill. Bachman told NJ 101.5 that he has launched a GoFundMe page to raise the money for the tab. Bachman recounted the fuzzy night, in which he spent $200 in a West Virginia bar (which is a ton of booze for a West Virginia bar) and called an Uber to drive him four blocks to a buddy's house. So you can imagine his shock when he awoke just as the Uber driver crossed into New Jersey. So far, in four days of fundraising, his GoFundMe page has generated $165 - perhaps from an Uber driver suddenly flush with cash.
NEWTON - There's yet another elected official in New Jersey blindly sharing the dumb stuff he reads on social media. In this week's episode, the Newton mayor has shared the ridiculous claim of gun control "crisis actors" in the wake of the Parkland, Fla. school shooting, claiming students were paid for publicly raising concerns about gun violence in schools. The Newton Town Council rightfully admonished Mayor Wayne Levante, censuring him for his actions and asking the conspiracy theorist to resign from the top job, according to NJ.com. Mayor Levante - seeking re-election on May 8 - responded with a defiant "Hell No," apparently unwilling to admit that spreading crazy, debunked and wildly insensitive conspiracy theories as an elected official has consequences.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
BRIGHTON, UK - The organizers of the "Big Cheese Festival" had one job: Bring cheese. And now these organizers are dealing with an angry social media backlash, after Saturday's event ran out of product. Organizers had promised "a plethora of the finest international cheesemakers and mongers showcasing their amazing cheeses." But apparently the rain prompted many cheese vendors to skip the event. Plenty of scathing social media reviews: "Absolutely dreadful!" "A rip off!" "Someone just charged me 20 pounds to walk over muddy grass!" "Hardly any stalls of cheese!" "Lots of hungry people!" "Rubbish!" "There should be refunds!" Organizers are now offering a 50 percent discount to next year's festival, a pretty cheesy offer.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 1981 that marked the end of the golden age of broadcast journalism, as Walter Cronkite signs off for the last time as anchor of the CBS Evening News - never having to lower himself to feed a 24-hour news channel.
WORD OF THE DAY
Scarify - [SKAIR-uh-fye] - verb
Definition: To break up, loosen or rough the surface
Example: It has been another winter of potholes in New Jersey, where trucks have scarified every major road.
WEATHER IN A WORD