STATEWIDE – When the media mentions “tax policy,” most readers quickly turn to a story about a kitten lost in the basement. But the fact that we are in a higher tax bracket than our 400 or so billionaires should earn some fleeting attention. The Star-Ledger notes that our mega-wealthy were paying a 70 percent income tax rate in the 1970s. Every since, rates have steadily chipped away on income tax, estate tax, corporate tax, and investment taxes. Even Warren Buffet is appalled and a bit embarrassed, noting his taxes equaled just 17.4% of his income because of all these gaping loopholes that 99.9% of us would never get. Here’s the key takeaway: In 2018, for the first time ever, the highest economic class had a lower tax rate than any other economic group — at a pathetic 23 percent. OK, now back to that lost kitten.

RUNNEMEDE – Rarely is there big news from church bingo night, other than Myra’s renowned bundt cake. But now the Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting about two players who apparently taped a called number onto their card to claim a big $200 win. The full force of the local police descended on Saint Maria Goretti Church Hall last Thursday for this investigation, after shrewd volunteers noticed some tampering.  The Camden residents were both charged with improper behavior under a borough ordinance, the first time in more than 20 years that any players at Saint Maria Goretti Church were busted. It should all make for an interesting municipal court hearing. Myra will be there.

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STATEWIDE – A school lockdown or police intervention is certainly terrifying in a school community. But many don’t really think about students with developmental disabilities. They may be in a wheelchair or on the Autism spectrum, particularly sensitive to noise and shouted commands. New Jersey’s vast array of rules and regulations for our public schools state that emergency planning should include all students. But, NJ Spotlight reports, it rarely does. A recent report from the NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities offers common-sense solutions, like reaching out to the families of students with disabilities to ensure they’re part of the planning or making certain that all students participate in emergency drills — without exception. Assemblywoman Mila Jasey asked a simple, revealing question, “A child in a wheelchair, what’s the plan?” She vows to sponsor a bill to eliminate the glaring omissions.

ORTLEY BEACH – This fish tale is a real whopper. A rare 300-pound sunfish ended up trapped under the dock at a home on Barnegat Bay, causing the homeowner to jump into the water to rescue it. Mark Napolitano tells CBS News after he pulled the large fish out from his jet ski storage area last week, “we had a blast … it just kept coming back. I lifted it up and actually had eye contact with it.” Sunfish, known as a “mola mola,” are among the Atlantic Ocean’s biggest bony fish and on a federal extinction watch-list. So, Napolitano says, this really was “a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me."

SEASIDE HEIGHTS – This Jersey Shore resort grabbed the brass ring, securing a $750,000 state grant to make sure its historic merry-go-round remains a childhood memory-maker for another century. The borough obtained ownership of the 1910 boardwalk carousel from owners of Casino Pier a few years ago, and it was just awarded a nice matching grant from the New Jersey Historic Trust. The mayor tells the Asbury Park Press it may cost up to $4.5 million to give the carousel a real facelift and build a new pavilion that will also house a local history museum. Borough officials note their application for a $1.5 million state Green Acres grant would be enormously helpful.



BRICK – Birthday cards from across the country are flooding a local rehab center for George Campbell who turns 102 today. Staff at Willow Springs Rehab & Healthcare posted a Facebook appeal asking well-wishers to help the Perth Amboy native celebrate his big day. A World War II Navy veteran, Campbell was a sheet metal worker whose handiwork can be found at more than 100 New Jersey diners. He laid sheet metal in the original World Trade Center and retired at 88 after being a caretaker for West Orange’s Thomas Edison Museum. He tells NJ.com the key to longevity is to “be calm and have good genes,” noting his mother lived to 104.

IN THE MEDIA

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. – They need a refresher course on the First Amendment here, as a local man is suing his hometown newspaper for defamation, after it accurately reported that his ancestors owned hundreds of slaves. The 76-year-old man, whose name we will not print because we also don’t want to be sued, claimed the C-Ville Weekly caused him “emotional distress” and “humiliation.” The newspaper did make some questionable implications, somehow concluding that his opposition to the removal of Confederate flags is linked to racism. The paper writes he “comes from a First Family of Virginia that was one of the largest slave-owning dynasties in Virginia.” It goes on to quote a University of Virginia professor, Jalane Schmidt, who claimed the man’s family antagonized black people for generations. Almost exactly two months after the story came out, the man took his revenge. He sued all three — the paper, the reporter and the professor — for defamation, demanding more than $1 million in damages.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

ST. LOUIS – Well, this could get dangerous.  A local bar known as “Open Concept” is now charging its patrons by the hour, rather than the drink. For as low as $10 an hour, you can throw back as much booze as you can stomach. So much for the lingering drink and the terrific conversation, as this is all about consumption, and more consumption, as you watch the clock. “At our bar we don't sell drinks, we sell time,” the website states, adding that you can only get food on “Taco Tuesday” and for “Bottomless Brunch.” That makes sense. Why do anything that could slow down all your reckless drinking as you hear tick, tick, tick? Let’s just pray these bartenders are super slow. Also note that Happy Hour is today from 4-8 p.m., when the hourly rate drops even further, to $8, as the city celebrates the Cardinals’ playoff win.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1976 that Giants Stadium opens, creating an impossible wind tunnel for quarterbacks.

WORD OF THE DAY

Denegation – [den-ə-GAY-shən] - noun

Definition: Denial

Example: Am I in denegation when I say the Giants are headed to the playoffs?

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“You know, it really doesn't matter what the media write, as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

- Donald J. Trump

WIT OF THE DAY

“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”

― Lord Byron

WEATHER IN A WORD

Gusty

THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun