Bill Pascrell

Governor Phil Murphy and members of New Jersey’s Congressional delegation are seeking the Trump administration's support for completing the multi-billion billion Gateway tunnel between the Garden State and Manhattan.

Gateway Development Authority trustee Jerry Zaro says a new tunnel is needed because the existing two train tunnels under the Hudson River need repairs.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Toys R Us employees are getting ready to move on from their jobs, all stores are expected to close by June 30th. 33-year employee Cheryl Claude of South River, New Jersey has never worked anywhere else.

“I spent every holiday, leaving my kids home for the holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, everything to be at work and give my one-hundred percent to get nothing is incredible.”

Other Toys R Us workers like Shkeanah Best are left with concerns.

Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation to help New Jersey taxpayers get around federal tax code changes that limit deductions for state and local taxes.

The new law allows towns to create charitable funds that pay for local services and lets residents get credits for up to 90 percent of their donations to reduce their property tax bill.

Murphy says New Jersey joins 33 other states that have allowed credits in exchange for charitable contributions without interference from the Internal Revenue Service.

Ang Santos / WBGO

A 17-month investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board points to the train engineer’s undiagnosed sleep apnea as the probable cause of the crash.  US Senator Cory Booker says future incidents can be avoided if personnel are screened and treated for the disorder.

“And those people that work hard, and commute daily should be able to rest, they should be able to sleep on that train with confidence that we are doing everything necessary to keep them safe.”

Republicans in the New Jersey Congressional delegation were divided when the House of Representatives voted to pass legislation to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program.

The legislation would increase flood insurance premiums for many property owners to fund a program stressed by frequent storms.  It would also make it easier for private companies to get in the flood insurance market.

Congressman Bill Pascrell voted against the bill, saying it does not apply the lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey Republican Congressmen Rodney Frelinghuysen and Tom MacArthur are the only two yet to publically oppose the tax overhaul.  Governor-elect Phil Murphy is asking them to vote no.

“I plead with our republican brothers who represent the five districts that they do to look at what the facts are in their districts.  They are overwhelmingly compelling in terms of the devastation this bill would wreak upon the middle class and seniors in their districts.”

Ang Santos / WBGO

The republican led tax code overhaul would eliminate state and local income and property tax deductions.  Congressman Leonard Lance believes his party’s plan puts Garden State taxpayers at a financial disadvantage.

“We have average property tax bills in this state of $8,400 dollars.  In the district I serve it’s higher than that.  In the country as a whole it’s $2,400 dollars,” Lance said.

Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell says it would cost the average New Jersey resident about $3,500 a year.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey state and federal elected officials were at a Jewish Community Center in Tenafly to condemn the recent string of antisemitic acts across the country.

Governor Chris Christie says New Jersey law enforcement is aggressively perusing a recent spike in bias crimes.

“We now have $10,000 rewards available for any leads that lead us to the violation of bias crimes.  And anyone in this state who commits that type of crime will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and sent to prison,” Christie said.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Democrats in New Jersey’s congressional delegation staged a rally in Newark against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

The republican majority congress in both houses are already beginning the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, days before the inauguration of Donald Trump.  The president-elect ran on the platform of repealing and replacing Obamacare.  Democrats in Congress find that troubling.

“They don’t have a plan, we know that,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, a point that was made by each speaker at the rally.