OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

TRENTON - In all the fluff of a political season - when all candidates promise to save the world in exchange for your precious vote - there's one issue that needs addressing: the F grade that our state finances have received from Truth in Accounting - a think tank that analyzes government financial reporting. Of no surprise, the think tank claims the state's finances have been in a free-fall over the past three years and now New Jersey is in the worst financial shape of any state. A glaring, not-so-fun fact: If you divide the amount of money needed to pay all of New Jersey's outstanding bills by the number of state residents, each taxpayer's burden is $67,200. Why such a mess? Because of promising benefits, pension and retiree healthcare benefits over the years with no clue how to pay the $180 billion or so. And plenty of accounting gimmicks to show there is money to pay for the perks.

TRENTON - And, speaking of accounting gimmicks, Gov. Chris Christie's opioid addiction campaign will cost as much as $240 million. He plans to move state money around, pulling from here and there, and finding "lapses" in the state budget to make this extra money magically appear. Politico says there are not many more details from our lame-duck governor, who vows to release more info in the coming weeks about this well-intentioned, much-needed program. But, Christie can assure us all: "This will not involve any kind of significant reduction in any program, nor will it involve the need for an increase in taxes." Um, sure. 

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STATEWIDE - For those who take high school football a wee bit too seriously, they may be crushed to learn that video replay will not be used for close calls. The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association says "no thanks" to the idea of the replay, viewable by sideline tablet. Great news, as it ensures a dose of reality that high school athletics is a learning opportunity for youth, not a professional-grade, high-tech performance that has the perceived life or death repercussions of the game at higher levels.

SUSSEX COUNTY - Assemblyman Parker Space, already slammed for posing with a Confederate flag this summer, is back in the news this morning. A live mike caught him referring to his Assembly opponent as a "bitch" three times in, like, three sentences at a drug awareness event in Sussex County. Space, a Republican, and his running mate, Hal Wirths, are challenged by Democrats Kate Matteson and Gina Trish in the heavily GOP area. Politico reports the alleged Space quote: "Kate's a bitch," Space says. "I don't know about Gina, I've never talked to her. And you can put that on the record. She is [an] elitist 1 percenter [inaudible] who's a bitch. Gina, I've never met. I can't say anything bad about her. But Kate, I can. Because I know she's a bitch."

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL - In case there is any chance Phil Murphy is running out of money for his run for governor, the cavalry will soon arrive. And riding in front, galloping at full speed, is President Obama, who has agreed to headline a fundraiser this fall for Murphy. Expect Democrats to open their checkbooks and then do whatever Obama suggests.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - She's being called "The Mad Pooper,"and local cops are actively looking to catch her in the act. The Mad Pooper is a jogger who repeatedly interrupts her runs to poop in public. Witnesses tell KKTV-TV the jogger has apologized when caught in the act, but it still leaving something behind on her runs at least once a week, over the past seven weeks, in the Colorado Springs neighborhood. One frustrated resident has posted signs, urging the jogger to stop her wild, unrestricted defecating, noting there are public restrooms for such a purpose. Local cops are stymied, calling the case "unchartered territory."

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 2012 that a "communication specialist" at the University of Nebraska predicted the future of journalism would be unmanned aerial vehicles reporting on the "news."

WORD OF THE DAY

Holus Bolus - [hoh-luss-BOH-luss - adverb

Definition: All at once

Example: With everyone shouting at President Trump holus-bolus, it's no surprise he can't hear any of it.

WEATHER IN A WORD

Clouds