POLITICO New Jersey Playbook: BEDMINSTER braces for TRUMP — GUADAGNO’s property tax plan — GOV DEBATES set

04/19/2017 07:15 AM EDT

By Matt Friedman (mfriedman@politico.com; @mattfriedmannj) with Rebecca Morin (rmorin@politico.com; @RebeccaMorin_)

Commuter champion Chris Christie is continuing his tour of New Jersey.

The governor is hanging out with Cory Booker at Newark Penn Station this afternoon for remarks on "federal investment to Northeast Corridor transportation infrastructure." POLITICO will be there at 12:30 pm.

WHERE'S CHRISTIE? See above

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "It's nice to be recognized. But on the other hand, if it gets to be tedious, we might start to complain." - Bedminster planning board member Nick Strakhov on President Trump's expected frequent use of Trump National Golf Club this summer

DAYS SINCE CHRISTIE HAS TAKEN QUESTIONS FROM NJ PRESS CORPS: 9

HAPPY BIRTHDAY - NJTV's Phil Alongi, communications consultant Chandra Hayslett,

WHAT TRENTON MADE

SONG OF SALOMON - "Eye doctor tied to political corruption portrayed as caring," by The AP's Terry Spencer: "The Medicare fraud trial of a prominent Florida eye doctor tied to corruption charges against New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez wound toward its conclusion Tuesday with his lawyers portraying him as an innovative physician who didn't give up on his hard-to-treat patients. Dr. Salomon Melgen is charged with 76 counts for allegedly stealing up to $105 million from Medicare between 2008 and 2013 by performing useless tests and procedures on elderly and disabled patients ... If convicted on the Medicare fraud counts, Melgen faces up to 610 years in prison. He is free on $18 million bond." Read the report

BAIL REFORM - "Lawmakers announce bill to alter newly enacted bail reform policy," by POLITICO's Katherine Landergan: "Lawmakers rolled out a proposal on Tuesday that would alter the state's new bail reform system, less than five months after the sweeping policy change was enacted. ... Under the current law, high risk defendants - such as those charged with murder or other crimes that carry a life imprisonment sentence - are likely to be detained before trial. But the new bill would rectify what proponents say is a loophole in the law, by adding unlawful gun possession to the list of offenses for which detention before trial would be likely. 'We want to be fair to everybody, but if you've proven to be a danger, that should override what the [current law] says,' said Sen. Sandra Cunningham, a sponsor of the proposal. 'With anything there comes a certain amount of tweaking.' Specifically, judges would need to consider if the defendant poses a danger, is likely not to appear in court, or may harm or intimidate a witness." Read the report

-"Bail reform plan pits lawmakers against civil liberties advocates" Read the report

OOPS SORRY ABOUT THAT - "Amount of latest Gilmore tax lien was inaccurate, IRS admits," by PoliticsOC's Gavin Rozzi: "The Internal Revenue Service has admitted in public documents filed with the Ocean County Clerk's Office that it made a mistake with the amount of the latest tax lien filed against Gilmore & Monahan, the law firm of Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore. The new lien was recorded on April 5th, 2017, according to Ocean County Clerk's Office records and reflects an amount of $287,056.41 in federal payroll taxes that remain unpaid. The previous inaccurate lien from March was in the amount of $2,870,556.41" Read the report

NO FRILLS - "Trenton's only hotel drops brand name, seeking new affiliation," by Kevin Shea for NJ.com: "The downtown hotel has a new name, and is in negotiations for a newer one in the future. Last week, the hotel started booking rooms under the name Lafayette Park Hotel and Suites. Gone is the brand name Wyndham Garden Trenton. Manager Mashkoor Ahmad said Wyndham - which owns and operates several hotel chains across the country - was not working out, they did not like the booking system and severed the relationship. 'We have a lot of support in the city and Wyndham is not a strong brand for the city,' he said." Read the report

- "AFP looking beyond Christie for NJ pension reform" Read the report

-"Schools funding fight: Prieto swings back at Sweeney" Read the report

-"As Pols Dawdle Over School Funding, Here Are The Numbers At Stake" Read the report

-"Despite job growth, NJ still shy of employment level prior to great recession" Read the report

-"Christie touts new south Jersey veterans health care program" Read the report

2017

DEBATE DATES - On May 9, Republicans Kim Guadagno and Jack Ciattarelli will debate at Stockton University at 6:30 pm, followed by Democrats Phil Murphy, John Wisniewski, Jim Johnson and Ray Lesniak at 8 pm. On May 11 at 8 pm, the Democrats will debate again at NJTV studios in Newark, followed by a second GOP debate on May 18 at 8 pm.

ALL SHE NEEDS TO GET IT DONE IS A HIGH RANKING POSITION IN NJ GOVT - "Kim Guadagno vows to slash some N.J. property taxes, possibly by as much as $3,000," by NJ Advance Media's Brent Johnson: "Lt . Gov. Kim Guadagno, the early Republican front-runner for governor, told NJ Advance Media on Tuesday she would slash New Jersey's notoriously high property taxes by up to $3,000 for homeowners who pay more than 5 percent of their household income on school taxes. Guadagno said her proposal -- which she plans to officially roll out Wednesday morning -- would cut property taxes by $1.5 billion across New Jersey and aims to benefit those 'who need property tax relief the most,' such as younger residents, middle-class families, and senior citizens. 'It's the kind of plan all sides can support,' Guadagno said in an interview. 'It's directed at millennials living in their parents' house house because they can't afford their own and working families struggling to avoid foreclosure, where $3,000 would make all the difference in the world." Read the report

BOAT CHECKS - "A solution for massive sick time payouts? Maybe next year, with a new governor," by POLITICO's Matt Friedman: "The issue has infuriated New Jersey taxpayers for years: Public employees in many towns and agencies retire with sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation for hundreds of days of unused sick and vacation time or, as Gov. Chris Christie calls the payments, 'boat checks.' ... In the state with the highest property taxes in the nation, there's wide, bipartisan consensus that something needs to be done. Yet, Christie and the Democrat-controlled state Legislature have never managed to forge a compromise. But there may be hope come 2018, when a new governor takes office. All six candidates for governor polled by POLITICO New Jersey - Democrats Phil Murphy, John Wisniewski, Jim Johnson and Ray Lesniak, and Republicans Kim Guadgano and Jack Ciattarelli - said they either would or likely would accept a compromise that would limit the amount of future payouts, though some were more specific than others." Read the report

-"Guadagno opposes Christie on Horizon plan," by POLITICO's Matt Friedman: "Add another proposal by Gov. Chris Christie that his second-in-command opposes: Making the state's largest health insurer pay hundreds of millions toward the governor's anti-drug addiction program. Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who is running for the Republican nomination to succeed Christie as governor, told reporters on Tuesday morning that she opposes the governor's plan, which would tap into Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey's capital reserve fund." Read the report

NOBODY PUTS VINNY IN A CORNER - "Fulop backs Prieto for another tour of duty as speaker: 'Vinny doesn't get pushed around'" by InsiderNJ's Max Pizarro: Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop told InsiderNJ that he would like to see Prieto return for another term as speaker. 'Of course,' Fulop said. 'I'd love to see him back. I think from my standpoint and many in Hudson and many in the state, Vinny Prieto has been a champion for working families. He's stood his ground on issues that are important. He doesn't get pushed around, and people may not like that about him but I appreciate that. He's got that fighting spirit and where appropriate he pushes back on powers that be and that's a good thing. So I'd love to see him back. I don't know how that will play out but I support him." Read the report

-"Guadagno: No chance Republicans win control of the Legislature this year' Read the report

-Tom Kean Jr.: ""I disagree with the Lieutenant Governor's statement. We have a stellar slate of candidates up and down the state, with a solid message, who are building strong campaigns. We have great confidence in our chances this November."

-"Murphy pitches state bank to skeptical bankers" Read the report.

-"Hudson Dems trial balloon Prosecutor Suarez for state AG at gun possession reform presser" Read the report

-"Sizing up the field of gubernatorial candidates | Albright" Read the column

-"Jim Johnson releases tax plan" Read the report

-"Financial transparency almost unknown among NJ gubernatorial hopefuls" Read the report

THE TRUMP ERA

"Goodbye, Mar-a-Lago, hello, Bedminster<" by POLITICO's Darren Samuelsohn and Kenneth P. Vogel: "President Donald Trump's repeated weekend jaunts away from Washington have caused nonstop headaches for his South Florida neighbors this winter. But once his exclusive seaside retreat at Mar-a-Lago closes for the season, Trump is expected to shift his weekend plans north, to his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey - and bring with him all the chaos that comes with being a preferred presidential destination." Read the report

RODNEY FRELINGHUYSEN AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS - "Breakfast with Rep. Frelinghuysen changed to members-only event," by NJ Advance Media's Justin Zaremba: "A breakfast dialogue between paying constituents and U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11 Dist.) is now only open to members of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. Initially, the Morris County Chamber of Commerce breakfast on May 12 was open to both members and non-members -- for $55 and $75, respectively -- but the chamber has canceled reservations for non-members. Paul Boudreau, president of the Morris County chamber, said there was so much interest from members, the chamber decided to close the event to non-members. 'If we take a lot of space for non-members, then we're not going to have space for our members,' he said." Read the report

STOCKTON SYNDROME - "Trump hostage-taking, and Jersey GOP's complicity," by The Star-Ledger's Tom Moran: "When a bank robber takes a customer hostage, he gains leverage for one reason only: Everyone knows he doesn't give a damn if the innocent customer lives or dies. President Trump is now embracing that same tactic. He is threatening to withhold subsidies for 7 million low-income Americans who have gained insurance on the Obamacare marketplace. It gives him leverage against Democrats, he says, because they don't want him to pull the trigger. 'Obamacare is dead next month if it doesn't get that money,' Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday ... Which raises an obvious question: Will the five Republicans who represent New Jersey stand up and object? Four of the five voted against the repeal. But they all waffled until the last minute, and yielded only after a tidal wave of voters protested at their offices, and flooded them with phone calls and e-mails. This time, their fingerprints won't be as visible." Read the report

HE WENT AT JARED - "Who elected Jared Kushner president? The only thing he can hold is a grudge," by The Star-Ledger's Paul Mulshine: "If I had wanted a liberal Democrat from the New York area running the country, I would have voted for Hillary Clinton. As for Kushner, he seems to be eminently qualified to redesign shopping malls in New Jersey, as I wrote recently in a column on his proposed remake of the Monmouth Mall. But when it comes to remaking the world, he is hampered both by inexperience and also by serious character flaws." Read the report

IMMIGRATION - "New Jersey man avoids deportation; case drew clergy support," by the Associated Press: "A New Jersey grandfather facing potential deportation for being in the United States illegally has been given a reprieve. Customs officials in Newark have approved a one-year stay of removal for Catalino Guerrero, a resident of Union City whose case drew support from numerous clergy leaders and New Jersey's two Democratic U.S. senators who oppose recent immigration actions under President Donald Trump.Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the head of the Newark archdiocese, the state's largest, led a rally last month on the day Guerrero met with customs officials. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, who were informed of the decision last week, praised the move. Booker said Trump's policies "callously target" people like Guerrero." Read the report

AND YET LEADERS WANT TO END THE PROPERTY TAX WRITE OFF - "Gottheimer talks economy in speech to business owners," by The Record's Mark Krulish: "Rep. Josh Gottheimer targeted 'moocher' states and New Jersey's difficult business climate in a Tax Day speech to business leaders. The first-term Democrat, who represents the 5th Congressional District, said New Jersey's tax dollars are sent to the federal government and distributed to other states in a way that creates a 'raw deal' for the Garden State. Legislation he plans to introduce this month will address that shortfall, he said." Read the report

MACARTHURCARE - "MacArthur says his AHCA amendment is 'moving forward' and in 'final stages,'" by POLITICO's Katie Jennings: "Republican U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur said Tuesday he has continued to hold discussions with Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan during the Congressional recess regarding a proposed amendment to the American Health Care Act. The amendment, he said, is 'moving forward' and is in the 'final stages' of a review by Senate staffers to ensure it complies with the Senate's strict budget rules. He said he was expecting an update Tuesday afternoon. 'I'm told it's possible if we get this done that we could potentially have a vote next week,' he told reporters after a veterans health care event in Pemberton." Read the report

LOCAL

ALEXANDER THE INMATE - "Ex-Passaic mayor Alex Blanco gets 27 months in prison," by The Record's Richard Cowen and Kaitlyn Kanzler: "The former mayor of Passaic, Alex D. Blanco, was sentenced Tuesday to just over 27 months in prison with three years of supervised relief for soliciting $110,000 in bribes from two developers hired by the city to build affordable housing on Paulison Avenue. The former mayor must also make $110,000 in restitution to the two developers involved in the case. Blanco stood before Judge William Martini, himself a Passaic native, whose uncle, Nicholas, had served as the city's mayor from 1943 to 1947. In sentencing Blanco, Martini closed another sad chapter in the story of a decaying city while slamming the door on a man who owned the distinction of being America's first mayor of Dominican descent." Read the report

THERE'S NO REASON TO BE SKEPTICAL OF THIS - "Atlantic City former Revel may open June 15, owner Glenn Straub says," by The Press of Atlantic City's John DeRosier: "Glenn Straub said Tuesday he plans on reopening a portion of the former Revel Casino, now known as TEN, on June 15. If that sounds familiar, it is. Last year, Straub claimed he would reopen the property on June 15, 2016, despite lacking both state and local permits for the facility." Read the report

- "New A.C. master plan puts real life Monopoly Board in play," by Philly News' Amy S. Rosenberg: "A state agency that controls all of Atlantic City's prime real estate has approved a new master plan that officials insist will finally loosen up land regulations that have helped to stall development. Much of the land in the state-controlled Tourism District - the city's real life Monopoly Board - will be put back in play with relaxed zoning restrictions, said Lance Landgraf, the head of planning for the state's Casino Reinvestment Development Authority." Read the report

-"Newark condo owners prevail - for now - against affordable housing development" Read the column

-"How a Hudson County jail officer got her job back after judge OK'd her firing" Read the report

-"I was fired for taking days off to get chemo, teacher claims in suit" Read the report

-"Glen Rock settles with gay cop who alleged harassment" Read the report

-"Keyport asked to use ACLU 'model' immigration rules." Read the report

-""Hackensack Council slates to appear at private forum" Read the report

-"'Hackensack police sergeant claims city didn't protect her" Read the report

-"Mercer County's plan to send inmates to Hudson is 'dead,' freeholders say" Read the report

ODDS AND ENDS

SECTOR 7G - "NRC: Oyster Creek 'failed to follow procedures'," by The Asbury Park Press' Amanda Oglesby: "The Oyster Creek nuclear power plant will come under the increased scrutiny of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for what the oversight panel called "deficient maintenance work" on a safety valve. The commission announced last week that it would increase oversight at Oyster Creek Generating Station because of a 'white' inspection finding, or one of 'ow to moderate safety significance.' The commission's safety findings are color-coded into four categories - green, white, yellow and red - in escalating safety significance." Read the report

-"Environmental group asks court to block work on Pinelands pipeline until appeals are heard" Read the report

- "Ex-cop on trial in fatal crash quotes Bible to reporters, on Instagram" Read the report

-"Outrage Over Company Backing Out of Superfund Cleanup Through Bankruptcy" Read the report

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