Phil Gregory

Statehouse Reporter

Phil has been the Statehouse Reporter in Trenton for both WBGO and WHYY in Philadelphia since 2009.

He’s a long-time reporter in the tri-state area. For 10 years he worked at Bloomberg Radio in New York City where he anchored coverage of several major events including the 9/11 attacks and the 2003 blackout. He also covered business and market news as a reporter from the New York Stock Exchange.

Phil is a native of the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania and started his broadcast career at WAEB in Allentown, PA where he advanced to become News Director. He was an award-winning reporter and anchor at radio stations WPTR, WFLY and WROW in Albany, NY and at WOBM in Toms River, NJ. Phil is a past President of the Empire State Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been a broadcast instructor at the New School of Contemporary Radio in Albany and at Monmouth University.

Outside of work he enjoys visiting historical, nature and entertainment sites.

Ways to Connect

Some New Jersey lawmakers say a Texas company’s online directions for making a gun with a 3-D printer is a recipe for disaster.

U-S Senator Bob Menendez says it’s outrageous that design files for those weapons are being made public.

“At a time in which we have seen mass murders with traditional weapons I don’t know why I would give someone the wherewithal to have a weapon that actually would be untraceable and largely undetectable.”

New Jersey's Senate unanimously passed a measure to correct an oversight in a gun law Governor Murphy signed last month.

That law limits the ammunition capacity in gun magazines to ten rounds.

But most guns used by police have 12-to-17 round magazines.

Senator Loretta Weinberg says the bill approved by the Senate clarifies that police officers can carry their service weapons with up to 17 rounds of ammo when they’re off duty.

Following several accidents involving school buses, a New Jersey Senate Committee has advanced a package of bus safety measure.

Senate Transportation Committee chairman Patrick Diegnan says one measure requires school bus drivers 70 and older to submit proof of physical and mental fitness annually. Those over 75 would have to do so every six months. He initially proposed banning drivers over 75.

New Jersey's Senate is set to vote tomorrow on a proposed constitutional amendment that would change a key part of the state's budget-making process.

The governor's power to certify state revenues would be turned over to a three-member panel.

Senate President Steve Sweeney needs three-fifths of the legislature to support the measure to get it on the November ballot.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is launching two initiatives to spur the growth of high-tech companies in the state.

Murphy says the state Economic Development Authority will award $500,000 in grants to help innovative startups pay their rent at collaborative workspaces if the workspace commits to paying half the amount of the subsidy.

“An early-stage startup could enjoy the innovative ecosystem of a collaborative workspace including flexibility, networking, idea sharing, and mentorships for up to 18 months at only half the cost.”

The top Republican in New Jersey's Assembly wants to amend the state constitution to require that voting districts don’t favor a political party by more than 10 percent.

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick says the lack of competitive districts leaves too many voters without a meaningful choice.

New Jersey will be modifying its school funding formula for the first time in ten years.

Governor Phil Murphy has signed a law that adjusts state aid to public schools over seven years by reducing assistance to districts with declining student enrollment and providing more money to those with booming populations and large numbers of high-need students.

“We are making an historic reinvestment in our public schools and in our future. By fiscal year 2025 every district will receive the appropriate level of aid under the school funding formula.”

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney says he’s hoping lawmakers will pass legislation by the end of the summer to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults.

Sweeney says he’s working with Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin on bills they can advance that would expand New Jersey’s medical marijuana program and make recreational pot use legal.

He says the medical bill will be tied to the recreational use measure and won’t move forward without it.

A non-profit organization cautions New Jersey officials not to rely on revenue from sports betting and the possible legalization of recreational pot to solve the state’s long-term budget problems.

New Jersey officials expect sports betting to bring in $13 million this fiscal year. Legalizing recreational marijuana could mean $300 million a year.

Mary Murphy with the Pew Charitable Trusts says other states that have legalized pot have seen an increase in revenues, but they are volatile.  

mosquito
NJ Department of Environmental Protection

No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in New Jersey so far this year, but it’s been detected in mosquitoes in more than half of the counties in the state.

Scott Crans is the administrator of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s office of mosquito control coordination. He says the hot, dry weather is holding down the number of mosquitoes in many parts of the state, but a continued lack of rainfall could lead to the spread of West Nile virus.

An environmental group says public health in New Jersey is at risk from air pollution.

Environment New Jersey director Doug O’Malley says air quality in New Jersey’s metropolitan areas ranks in the top ten in the nation for most elevated levels of ozone and particulate matter.

He says they had an average of 91 days of degraded air quality in 2016, and summer heat waves make ozone problems worse.

New Jersey’s recently enacted state budget includes $2.1 million to pay for legal assistance for immigrants facing deportation.

The State Treasury hasn’t decided yet how the money will be dispersed.

Chia-Chia Wang with the American Friends Service Committee hopes the funds will help immigrants in detention centers who are separated from their family and can’t afford to pay an attorney.

After the recent contentious fight over New Jersey’s new state budget, Governor Phil Murphy is now hoping to work with New Jersey legislative leaders to get approval of some of his top priorities by the end of the year.

Murphy says gradually boosting New Jersey’s $8.60 an hour minimum wage to $15 is one of things he wants lawmakers to pass.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has not decided yet whether he’ll sign a bill that would impose a 5-cent fee on plastic and paper shopping bags.

Murphy says he’s still considering the measure that would raise an estimated $23 million

for lead abatement programs.

“There was a sense because we didn’t include it in the budget that we had come out negatively on it. We didn’t include it in the budget because we felt like we had not had the time to assess it and really analyze it.”

Governor Phil Murphy says New Jersey is taking steps to phase out controversial  PARCC standardized testing.

Murphy says beginning in the upcoming school year the New Jersey Education Department will reduce the length of the tests in all grades by 25 percent.

“The Department will also ask the New Jersey State Board of Education to simplify and reduce the assessments necessary for high school graduation from six assessments to two, retaining only Algebra 1 and English Language Arts 10 as the two assessments.”

Teva Pharmaceuticals, an Israeli company that makes specialty and generic drugs,  has decided to expand its existing operations in Parsippany, New Jersey, and have its U-S headquarters there.

Governor Phil Murphy says he’s thrilled Teva is relocating its North American headquarters to New Jersey from North Wales, Pennsylvania.

The string of hot, sunny days might slow you down if you have to spend time outdoors, but it’s speeding up the growth of New Jersey crops.

New Jersey Farm Bureau President Ryke Suydam farms in Franklin Township, Somerset County. He says Jersey-grown tomatoes, sweet corn, and other crops are growing fast and furious now and there’s should be a plentiful supply.

He says the hot weather means many farmers are having to irrigate their crops.

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney says a panel of tax experts and lawmakers will make recommendations this summer to make some major changes in state government policies.

Sweeny says the group has been considering more than 50 ideas.

“One of the ideas was, and this was actually talked about under Governor Corzine, eliminate k- to-6 districts and k-to-8 districts and only have k-to-12 districts. Because that’s where the kids go to high school at the end of the day. And you would go from 600 school districts to I think 320.”

The heat wave is taking a toll.

Dr. Brad Pulver is the medical director of the emergency department at Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township. He says the hot weather is causing lots of cases of dehydration that develop into heat exhaustion and even heat stroke.

“When you go out you must wear sun block and reapply it. You have to drink lots of fluids and stay well hydrated. And pay attention to how you’re feeling and at the first hint that you’re just not perfectly well, you got to get out of that sun.”

Dr. Pulver says there are some warning signs to heed.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders battled over which taxes to raise before finally reaching a deal that resulted in enactment of a new state budget.

Political analysts say that could have an impact on their future relations.

Senate President Steve Sweeney is glad the budget battle is over.

“I’m hoping that we can now move forward on a path where we all realize that we can’t get anything done without each other and that we work together.”

Driving to your 4th of July holiday destination is more expensive that it was last year.

The average nationwide price of $2.85 for a gallon of regular gasoline is about 60 cents more than a year ago.

Tom Kloza, the global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey, says that’s because higher crude oil costs.

He doesn’t expect gas prices will go up much more this summer.

Just hours before the Saturday midnight deadline Governor Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders have reached a deal to get a new state budget enacted.

“There will be no shutdown. The parks and the beaches are open.”

Murphy says the agreement calls for an increase in the income tax rate for personal incomes of $5 million and above.

“We agree that we must ask the wealthiest New Jerseyans to pay their fair share to allow us to  ramp up our investments in school funding and property tax relief.”

No new talks are scheduled yet between New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders as the midnight deadline approaches for enacting a new state budget.

Murphy sent lawmakers a letter earlier today offering a new tax revenue proposal in efforts to reach a deal and avoid a potential government shutdown.

The Governor is increasing the income threshold to $1.75 million on his proposal to increase the income tax on millionaires and is indicating he backs a corporate business tax surcharge that would be an average 2% increase.

Democratic legislative leaders plan to meet with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy again on Friday in an effort to reach a deal to get a new state budget enacted by the midnight Saturday deadline.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin did not indicate how much progress was made at a more than two hour negotiating session with the Governor on Thursday.

“All I can say is we had a good meeting and we’re looking forward to getting back at it.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is reviewing a new proposal from Democratic legislative leaders hoping to end the impasse over enacting a new state budget.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says lawmakers are offering to extend a corporate business tax surcharge from two years to four, expand the sales tax to untaxed short-term rental properties, and increase the realty transfer tax on the sale of property worth more than a million dollars.

New Jersey's Senate is expected to vote Friday on allowing towns to use digital parking meters that alert enforcement officers about any violation so they can ticket the offending vehicle.

Brian Cassidy with Municipal Parking Services says the system is intended to change consumer behavior.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a measure that would constitutionally dedicate $14 million a year from the sales tax on paint to cleaning up lead hazards in homes.
 
More than $50 million dollars has been diverted for other uses since the lead abatement program fund was created in 2004.
 
Senator Ron Rice says it’s sad the money isn't going to help prevent potential health problems for kids.
 

 

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and legislative leaders still haven't struck a deal for a new state budget, but the Governor is offering to compromise to get the sustainable revenues he's insisting on.

In a letter to lawmakers, Murphy proposes a modified corporate business tax surcharge, a small hike in the marginal tax rate on personal income over a million dollars, and a gradually raising the sales tax rate back to seven percent over two years.

The latest meeting between Governor Phil Murphy and legislative leaders failed to produce a compromise on enacting a new state budget by the June 30th deadline. But there are signs of progress.

The budget lawmakers passed last week includes a two-year corporate business tax surcharge and a tax amnesty program instead of the millionaires’ tax and sales tax increase the governor wanted to provide a sustainable source of revenue.

Murphy says there’s a framework of available alternatives that could add up in some combination to a deal.

Despite Governor Phil Murphy’s vow to veto it, the New Jersey legislature has passed a state budget that includes a two-year corporate tax surcharge instead of the millionaires’ tax and sales tax increase Murphy wanted to provide a sustainable source of revenue.

Senate President Steve Sweeney it’s frustrating the budget process is at this point.

“I have never seen an administration with a lack of focus and a lack of honesty the way they’ve handled this.”

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