Good Wednesday morning!
Threats of moving by stock exchanges be damned, Democrats are showing they’re still serious about pushing the financial transaction tax on electronic stock trades.
The Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee has a hearing on the bill — but no vote — scheduled for Monday.
Senate Democrats have so far racked up a $30,000 bill with a Washington law firm that has expertise in the field. And they’re on the cusp of refining the bill, which as currently written would set a quarter-cent tax on trades. The changes, I’m told, would reduce that to a tenth of a cent and make the bill expire after a period of time, probably two years. Read more about it here.
The exchanges have threatened to move operations to other states, notably Illinois and Texas. Democrats don’t seem perturbed by the warning. That may be because there aren’t that many jobs at risk at these giant server farms. And some believe the exchanges want to leave anyway for various reasons.
There was a time not long ago that all a business had to do was threaten to leave New Jersey and the state government would throw big tax breaks at it, no matter how serious the ultimatum. Now New Jersey Democrats are perfectly willing to play a game of financial chicken.
WHERE’S MURPHY? — In Atlantic City for 10:30 AM Stockton University groundbreaking ceremony followed by a noon “economic relief roundtable” with union leaders and Democratic congressional candidate Amy Kennedy.
CORONAVIRUS TRACKER — 993 newly-diagnosed cases for a total of 215,085. Seven more deaths for a total of 14,394 (not counting 1,788 presumed deaths).
HAPPY BIRTHDAY — DHS’ Sarah Adelman, Murphy press aide Michael Zhadanovsky
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I feel like I have been forced into a place of deceiving poor people … It’s an awful feeling. I was asked to collect names, I knew there may not be money for everybody, but I never in a million years dreamt that everyone, minus two people, would be denied.” — Rev. Seth Kaper Dale who, after getting financial help for hundreds of undocumented help in the first round of funding from the Pandemic Relief Fund, secured almost none in the second round.
BUSINESS LEADERS EAGER TO GET BACK TO FALSELY THREATENING TO MOVE — Sources: Murphy, legislative leaders restart talks over tax incentive programs, by POLITICO’s Katherine Landergan: Top New Jersey lawmakers and Murphy administration officials have restarted talks over renewing the state’s tax incentive programs that expired more than a year ago, according to two sources with knowledge of the talks. The sources said the two sides are hopeful a deal can be reached in the coming months. While there’s been fierce discord between Senate President Steve Sweeney and Gov. Phil Murphy, the two men, along with Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, have been collaborating well during the pandemic, and successfully negotiated a budget that fulfilled Murphy’s long-sought wish for a millionaire’s tax while also providing rebates of up to $500 to hundreds of thousands of families across New Jersey. The process of awarding tax subsidies to corporations has become one of the most divisive political issues during Murphy’s tenure, at least among Democrats.
MICROPENNIES — Assembly hearing on financial transaction tax set for Monday as Democrats refine proposal, by POLITICO’s Matt Friedman: An Assembly committee plans to discuss a major and controversial bill next week that would impose a tax on electronic stock trades processed in New Jersey, potentially generating billions of dollars in revenue for the state. Monday’s hearing by the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee comes as several stock exchanges have threatened to move their data centers in North and Central Jersey out of state if the Legislature and governor move forward with the tax. The bill, which Assembly Democratic spokesperson Kevin McArdle said the committee will discuss but not vote on, is expected to be heavily amended before any vote, and will likely include changing the tax rate on transactions and making the tax temporary. The original bill, NJ A4402 (20R), which Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex) introduced in July, would impose a quarter-cent tax on every financial transaction processed in New Jersey.
BEARLY LEGAL — “62 bears killed on 1st day of N.J. bear hunt; opponents plan new lawsuit,” by NJ Advance Media’s Michael Sol Warren: “New Jersey’s controversial bear hunt opened 30 minutes before sunrise on Monday, with hunters heading into the woods on a dreary October day as the remnants of Hurricane Delta drenched the Garden State. Those hunters killed 62 black bears, down from the 108 bears were killed on the first day of bear season last year … While hunters spent the day in forests and fields, animal rights activists went online to voice their displeasure. Raymond Lesniak, the former Democratic state senator from Union County, used a Zoom press conference to announce that a coalition of animal rights activists plans to sue the state over the statutory makeup of the state fish and game council.”
11.1 MASTROS — Another $100M in CARES Act funds going to businesses, food banks, renters, by POLITICO’s Katherine Landergan: Gov. Phil Murphy, along with top state and federal lawmakers from New Jersey on Tuesday announced the release of another $100 million in CARES Act funding to support restaurants, small businesses, food banks and others. Roughly $70 million of the $100 million will be distributed to restaurants, micro-businesses and other small businesses through the state Economic Development Authority’s Emergency Assistance Grant Program. Another $10 million will go toward purchasing personal protective equipment for small businesses; $15 million will go to support renters through the Department of Community Affairs; and $5 million will help support food banks and other related efforts.
AND WHEN TRUMP USES THE WHITE HOUSE AS A CAMPAIGN PROP… — “Murphy denies GOP claims of politically motivated aid announcements,” by New Jersey Globe’s Nikita Biyrukov: “Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday denied Republican accusations charging federal aid announcements made alongside Democratic congressmen facing competitive races over the past week were meant to give them a leg up over their GOP challengers. ‘This is about good government,’ Murphy said … On Friday, Murphy appeared alongside Reps. Andy Kim (D-Marlton) and Donald Norcross (D-Camden) to announce $70 million in federal aid money to local and county governments. Though Norcross’s re-election is considered a lock, Kim, a first-term Democrat, faces a competitive challenge from former Hill International CEO David Richter. He made a similar appearance Tuesday, during which he announced $100 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act moneys mean to help local residents and businesses impacted by the pandemic.”
—“Murphy now allowing indoor sports practice, competitions”
—“When will N.J. ease indoor dining limits? Restaurants should take new indoor sports order as a good sign, Murphy says”
—“Bramnick proposes constitutional amendment for in-person voting”
“New bill would make warehouses like Amazon culpable for COVID outbreaks”
—“How secure are N.J. election drop boxes and who’s collecting your ballot?”
—“At least 4 MVC offices across New Jersey closed following employees testing positive for COVID-19”
—New bill would make electric motorcycles eligible for $5K rebates
BEDLAMINSTER — Murphy: No Covid outbreaks linked to Trump’s Bedminster fundraiser, by POLITICO’s Sam Sutton: New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy said Tuesday that state and local health officers have not identified any outbreaks of coronavirus linked to attendance at a fundraiser earlier this month at President Donald Trump’s golf club in Bedminster. “We’re not aware of any outbreaks and the federal response was extremely disappointing,” Murphy told reporters after an unrelated press conference … Trump hosted the $2,800 per-ticket fundraiser at his golf club on Oct. 1, just hours before announcing he had tested positive for coronavirus.
IN SPARTA, ELECTION LOSERS ARE KICKED DOWN A GIANT HOLE — “Sparta GOP councilwoman endorses Sherrill re-election,” by New Jersey Globe’s David Wildstein: “A Republican councilwoman from Sparta has endorsed Democratic Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) for re-election in New Jersey’s 11th district. ‘I’ve worked with Congresswoman Sherrill and I’ve seen her dedication to improving the lives of her constituents, regardless of their party affiliation,’ said Molly Whilesmith, a former Sparta mayor. ‘She has shown up time and again, whether in the aftermath of storms that hit Sussex or to hear from our residents and students in Sparta. No matter what, Congresswoman Sherrill rises above partisanship to serve the 11th and I’m proud to support her. Local officials in Sparta, a township with a 33%-20% Republican voter registration edge, are elected in non-partisan municipal elections.”
—“Trump’s management of pandemic looms over 11th district race”
ESSEX COUNTY — “In New Jersey’s most segregated county, racism and coronavirus made a ‘vicious circle’,” by USA Today’s Deborah Barfield Berry and Kameel Stanley: “At the height of the first wave of the pandemic, Essex County was among the top 10 in the country for its death rate from the novel coronavirus. It still hovers in the top 15 months later. Much of that has been driven by cases in Newark and other predominantly Black and brown communities in the county, including East Orange, where Robinson calls home. Housing segregation made Essex County ripe for the virus’s spread, dozens of public health experts, community activists, researchers and housing advocates said. They point to decades of housing policies – some unspoken, some written – that banned white property owners from selling homes to Black buyers. Those practices also excluded Black residents from the midcentury homeownership and wealth-building boom, and they kept communities of color concentrated in often poor and neglected neighborhoods. Today, Essex County is home to some of the most segregated and impoverished communities in the U.S., where some residents jam together in cramped apartments, multi-generational homes and housing projects.”
FOOT SMELLING STILL PERMITTED — “Trick-or-treating and other Halloween activities banned in some N.J. towns,” by NJ Advance Media’s Jeff Goldman: “Plainfield, Bound Brook and Glen Ridge are the among places in New Jersey where officials have banned Halloween trick-or-treating due to coronavirus fears … Gov. Phil Murphy said last month that ‘Halloween is on,’ but that precautions should be followed. Candy should be distributed in a way that kids can access it without having to touch multiple pieces, Murphy said last week. Dozens of other towns have limited trick-or-treating hours, while others have said they discourage it but have not outright prohibited it. A handful of towns are not blocking off main streets where large groups traditionally congregate to dissuade the masses.”
HERE I AM. ROCK YOU LIKE A… TAYFUN — “Freeholders’ Last Stand: Invisible if trying to be credible,” by InsiderNJ’s Fred Snowflack: “It’s not easy running for freeholder. No matter what you call them – they’ll soon be called commissioners – many people don’t know what county government does. Proving that, the first question at a Monday night Morris County freeholder debate was very simple – what does a freeholder do? That’s not a joke. ‘We fix the roads, we fix the buildings … we help people in all walks of life’ replied Tayfun Selen, an incumbent Republican freeholder from Chatham Township. Selen, who was appointed to the seat to fill a vacancy nine months ago, is running countywide for the first time. His Democratic challenger is Cary Amaro of Randolph. The obscure nation of county government – stuck as it is between the more visible state and municipal levels – is a problem for all challengers. But for Dems in Morris County, winning a seat has been more than a challenge; it’s been near impossible. Morris County has been around for a long time, and the record is clear – there has been only one Democratic freeholder. Democrats have been making inroads in Morris; just look at the last congressional election. They’re also winning more municipal seats, but freeholder has up to now been an impossible hurdle for them.”
THE ELITE REWARDS PROGRAM — “‘Elite’ Hudson County Sheriff’s SWAT Unit spent just over $262k on overtime in 2019,” by Hudson County View’s John Heinis: “The Hudson County Sheriff’s SWAT Unit spent just over $262,000 on overtime in 2019, a figure that Sheriff Frank Schillari says is necessary for an ‘elite’ group that is mandated by the state. The overtime records from last year, obtained through an Open Public Records Act request, shows that 24 sheriff’s officers received overtime for training and/or deployments for a total amount of $262,096.09.”
—“Pandemic, future costs a topic of Morris Freeholder candidates forum”
—“2020 freeholder race in Democratic-controlled Bergen County is a sleepy one”
JACKSON — “Jackson school board election highlighted by first Orthodox Jewish candidate, write-in campaigns,” by The Asbury Park Press’ Mike Davis: “Tzvi Herman, a 31-year-old appliance store owner, is the only formal candidate for a one-year, unexpired term on the Jackson school board, replacing former board member Vicki Grasso, who resigned last year. Three other candidates, including two incumbents, are running for election to two full, three-year terms. But it’s Herman’s race that has sparked interest. If elected, Herman would be the first Orthodox Jew elected to the school board or any office in Jackson. He also is the first candidate from the town’s booming Orthodox Jewish community to seek office. A victory would also be a signpost in a town where anti-Semitism has been in the spotlight … Herman’s candidacy — and the lack of any competitors on the ballot — has caused a stir on social media, where residents have argued that he’s not qualified to serve because his children attend private religious schools.”
SAYWHAT?VILLE — “Sayreville coach sues after firing for sexting with player’s mom,” by The Courier News’ Nick Muscavage: “A former youth soccer official and his wife have filed a lawsuit against the Sayreville Democratic Organization, public officials, residents and other soccer officials alleging he was removed as a coach after texted images from a consensual sexual relationship were discovered by several borough council members. At the heart of the lawsuit is a consensual relationship that the soccer official had with a mother of a youth soccer player at the urging of his wife, who had been diagnosed with a serious form of cancer they believed to be terminal, according to court documents.
— “Toms River student’s Trump flag got him kicked out of class. Now his mom wants an apology”
—“Baraka: It’s not enough to just believe that Black and brown lives matter”
—“These changes could be coming to NJ classrooms as students take racial justice fight to schools”
—Opinion: “New Jersey’s local elections should be rescheduled to be more representative”
—“Jobs, housing, police worries dominate Asbury Park council race”
—“I was harassed for being Jewish, [Avalon] public works employee claims in suit”
—“Disgraced ex-judge John F. Russo drops lawsuit against his former bosses”
—“Knapp reflects on eight years as Morris prosecutor: Mostly, ‘we got it right’”
—“Before NJ gets to vote, these towns already said ‘NO’ to legal marijuana”
—“Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and wife Jaclyn welcome baby girl Stasha”
MORE TEARS — Johnson & Johnson pauses dosing of its coronavirus vaccine, by POLITICO’s David Lim: Johnson & Johnson announced late Monday it is temporarily pausing recruitment and dosing of its coronavirus vaccine in clinical trials due to an “unexplained illness in a study participant.” The independent drug safety monitoring board for J&J’s phase 3 ENSEMBLE trial is reviewing the unexpected event. The company did not disclose more information about the affected individual.
NEW JERSEY DRIVE — “Study ranks New Jersey as third-safest state to drive in the country. Seriously,” by The Record’s Anthony Zurita: “Despite a reputation of having lead-footed drivers, New Jersey ranked the third-safest place to drive in the country, according to national study. Citing comparatively lower rates of speeding and alcohol-related deaths, the Garden State was deemed the 48th most dangerous state to drive by Reviews.com. The survey compiled 2018 data and analyses from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that was recently released. New Jersey had .73 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles, the survey said, with a total of 564 fatalities. The state was also 41st in speeding-related deaths and 45th in deaths related to drunk driving, according to the study.”
—“Monmouth University confronts COVID-19 ‘super-spreader’ event”
—“Bruce Springsteen trending on Twitter thanks to new rocking #springsteen emoji”