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Katz on Christie Christie Pivots
In basketball, the pivot is an essential move that can allow a player with the ball to trick a defender and score points . . .
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The hundreds of thousands of passengers who ride NJ Transit buses and trains every day will likely see their first across-the-board fare hikes in five years as the public transportation agency prepares to address an $80 million budget gap. The move comes despite a proposed boost in state funding and a plan to reduce spending by $40 million through service cuts and adjustments. Read more
NJ Spotlight Daily News

March 4, 2015

Christie Pivots
Matt Katz | Katz on Christie
In basketball, the pivot is an essential move that can allow a player with the ball to trick a defender and score points . . .
NJ Transit’s Plan to Close $80M Budget Gap: Increase Fares and Cut Back Service
Meir Rinde | Transportation
Riders will most likely beef, but higher fares should prove steadier source of income than budget diversions that have been used since 2010
NJ Senate Will Fight Christie in Court to Block Lowball Settlement with Exxon Mobil
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment, Politics
Sweeney contends that administration’s proposed $250 million deal works out to three cents on the dollar
What’s Wrong With This Picture? Property Taxes Rise, While Rebates Dwindle
John Reitmeyer | Budget, Politics
The Homestead program, which cuts taxes for seniors, the disabled, and low-income families, is at second-lowest funding level of past decade
Prognosis Bleak for Many in NJ if Supreme Court Rejects Health Insurance Tax Credits
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Losing subsidies under Affordable Care Act could prove disastrous for residents with health problems who might lose insurance
Opinion: Kean's Port Authority Proposal Looks Like a Win-Win for GOP, Dems
Carl Golden | Opinion
The Senate minority leader's plan seems to have something for everyone, including avoidance of a potential loss of face for Christie and Sweeney
PSE&G Energy-Efficiency Plan Could Cut Electricity, Gas Prices for Customers
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Utility and state have reached tentative settlement that will enable consumers and businesses to use less power, reduce air pollution
Profile: Veteran of State Government Steers Joint Rowan-Rutgers Board
Tara Nurin | Profiles
Kris Kolluri wants to improve conditions and offer more opportunities for students, faculty -- and Camden community
NJ Public Employees Ready to Hit Gov. Christie with New Pension-Funding Suit
John Reitmeyer | Budget, Politics
Unions want Christie back in court to explain why he plans to skimp on billions of dollars in committed payments in coming fiscal year
Nearly Quarter-Million NJ Students Take PARCC Exams on Day Two of Testing
John Mooney | Education
Can you pass 11th-grade language arts test? Try answering a sample question from the exam
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March 3, 2015

Four Former NJ Governors Move to Block Pinelands Panel Nomination
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Two Democrats and two Republicans draft letter to state Senate asking legislators to oppose confirmation of Robert Barr
Three Newark-Area Hospitals May Switch to Offering Only Outpatient Services
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Two others would still be full-fledged facilities, with one becoming state-of-the-art regional medical center, if state adopts recommendations
Christie Pushes Ahead With Business-Tax Cuts, Racking Up $600M in Lost Revenue
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Next year’s budget calls for $660M more in business-tax breaks, despite depleted transportation fund and court-ordered pension payments
Explainer: Why Property Taxes Are So High . . . and Reform Efforts Fall Short
Colleen O'Dea | Explainer
Abundance of local governments and school districts, state mandates, and relatively little state funding are among biggest factors
Fine Print: Can Kean's Proposed Bill Bring Real Reform to Port Authority?
Meir Rinde | Politics, Transportation
Bill incorporates best of legislation vetoed by Christie and Cuomo, as well as suggestions from their Special Panel on the Port Authority
Despite Raucous Run-Up, Day One of PARCC Testing Was Mostly Uneventful
John Mooney | Education
Sharpen those pencils: NJ Spotlight continues its PARCC testing with several samples from the math test for third-graders
PSE&G Seeks to Spend $1.6B Bringing Natural-Gas Mains into 21st Century
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Utility's parent, PSEG, details plans to invest $13B over next five years at annual investor conference
Opinion: A Quirk in Language That Could Cost Thousands Their Health Coverage
Joel Cantor | Opinion
The Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell could destabilize the insurance marketplace not just in New Jersey but across the country
Agenda: State Board of Education Takes Up Teacher Preparation and Support
John Mooney | Education
Other topics to be tackled include criteria for linking student performance to teacher evaluations

March 2, 2015

Administration Reportedly Settles $8.9B Exxon Lawsuit in a Hurry -- For Only $250M
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Critics claim that by settling natural-resources damages suit in current fiscal year, money can be diverted to closing budget gap
Should the State Offload Teacher Retirement Benefits Onto Local School Districts?
John Reitmeyer | Budget, Education
That’s one of the suggestions of Christie’s expert commission, but the big question is what happens to property taxes
The List: 10 Movers and Shakers Who Influence Energy Policy In New Jersey
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment, The List
Energy policy in New Jersey is a moving target, constantly being refined and reworked by individuals and agencies
Christie Refuses to Release Credit Card Records with Breakdown of Travel Costs
Mark Lagerkvist/New Jersey Watchdog | Politics
Governor’s office balks at releasing almost $800,000 in AmEx bills for state police security detail, citing security concerns
Helping New Jerseyans Get a Handle on How to Prevent, Manage Diabetes
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Bill would fund education programs in the state, which has nation's third-highest rate of obese kids at future risk for disease
PARCC Tests in Language Arts, Math Start Today for Students in New Jersey
John Mooney | Education
Can you make the grade? Try a sample question from the 5th-grade language arts exam
Op-Ed: Why Some Parents in NJ Are Refusing High-Stakes Standardized Tests
Julie Borst | Opinion
Stopping kids from taking the exams doesn't just express a parent’s anxieties for kids, it also demonstrates concerns about the school system

February 27, 2015

Interactive Map: State-Aid Landscape Basically Unchanged, Frozen and Flat
Colleen O'Dea | Budget, Maps, Map of the Week
Funding to municipalities virtually unchanged for fifth straight year under Christie budget
After Linking Clinic-Funding Vetoes to Cost, Christie Now Claims ‘Pro-Life’ Motives
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Following switch in rhetoric in front of conservative audience, governor draws fire from state Sen. Loretta Weinberg on women’s health and family planning
Cami Anderson Gets Another Year at Newark Helm -- Plus a Performance Bonus
John Mooney | Education
State senator assails 'terrible decision' while student leader vows more protests aimed at ousting superintendent
Another Budget Adjustment -- State Tax Collection Forecast off by $60M
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Administration’s overestimate brings midyear spending reductions to $343M -- and there’s still a $1.6B budget bullet out there
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