Budget Address, State Aid and Town Hall: The Week for Gov. Chris Christie and New Jersey Finances
The top news from around New Jersey
Governor Chris Christie vowed on Tuesday to continue with what he called a “new normal” in New Jersey, calling for a reform effort that “marks the line in the sand that separates the way things used to be, and the way they are going to be.”
Christie said his budget reduces government spending 2.6 percent from last year’s $30.2 billion budget and “marks a departure from the Trenton tradition of budgeting to meet deficit projections that embrace wish-list spending by legislators and assume continuous funding increases that irresponsibly ignore actual revenue sources.”
The budget address was a prelude to Wednesday's release of state aid figures to New Jersey school districts. Every district in the state saw an aid increase—part of a $250 million boost to education aid overall.
On Thursday, Christie pushed for changes to the state pension and benefits system before a standing-room-only crowd of more than 500 at a town hall meeting in West Deptford.
“New Jersey’s moving in the right direction because we’re doing the right things,” he said.
A week before the March 1 start of New Jersey's striped bass season, Christie signed into law a bill designed to create a free registry of the state's recreational anglers—thereby averting a "pay to fish" situation. The bill brings New Jersey into compliance with federal law.
Al Raimi of Woodbridge, a lead Transportation Security Agency officer at Newark Liberty International Airport, plead guilty to stealing between $10,000 and $30,000 from unsuspecting travelers he was running through the B-3 security checkpoint at Terminal B at the airport.
According to charges filed by the U.S. Attorney's office, the 29-year-old Raimi would swipe cash from the travelers and "kick up" a portion of his ill-gotten gains to Michael Arato, his TSA supervisor, in exchange for Arato turning a blind eye to the scam.
A Connecticut-based firm announced on Thursday that it wants to buy the Hoboken University Medical Center for $77 million. The Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority is currently only negotiating the hospital sale with HUMC Holdco LLC, a company that also acquired the Bayonne Medical Center recently.
U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) on Wednesday announced that 14 New Jersey fire departments received a combined $12,457,165 in federal funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) programs.
Municipalities receiving AFG funding included Summit, Edison, Sicklerville, Forked River, Stratford, Westfield, Bayville, Mizpah, East Orange Galloway, and Rocky Hill. Jersey City, Irvington and Westampton received SAFER funding.