Good Monday morning!
With an electronic financial transaction tax proposal gaining currency with the legislature and governor, the New York Stock Exchange is sending a message to New Jersey: It takes very little effort for them to up and leave.
The Wall Street Journal broke the news Friday that the NYSE, which has made the threat before, will run one of its exchanges from a backup site in Chicago for a week to demonstrate that its threat is serious. There’s an implication, not stated, that other exchanges with their servers in New Jersey would also leave if the proposal becomes law.
This brings up some questions I’d like some help figuring out. How much do these companies contribute to New Jersey’s economy and tax revenues? How many people does the NYSE employ at its Mahwah data center?
This is a question of leverage. To gauge the threat of their departure, I’d like to know how much they contribute. There’s also a question about how moving across the country would affect high-frequency trading, where proximity to servers is important. And how much advantage New Jersey gains from having extensive internet infrastructure in North Jersey?
If you have any ideas on how to measure the economic impact of financial server farms in New Jersey, feel free to email me.
WHERE’S MURPHY? — In Trenton for a coronavirus press conference at 1:30 p.m.
CORONAVIRUS TRACKER — 306 newly-diagnosed cases for a total of 196,634. Four more deaths for a total of 14,242 (not counting 1,789 presumed deaths)
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I never saw a more perfect environment for politicians to avoid the heat.” — Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick on virtual Assembly budget hearings.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY — NJHA’s Neil Eicher
MURPHY RECITES LYRICS TO KARMA POLICE — Murphy pans NYSE’s threat to leave New Jersey if ‘micro-tax’ on stock trades is implemented, by POLITICO’s Samantha Maldonado: Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday panned the suggestion that the New York Stock Exchange might move its trading systems out of New Jersey if a proposed tax on financial transactions is approved. “This is what you get, I guess, for reaching out and trying to find common ground,” Murphy said during his regular briefing in Trenton. “The notion that we could all come together and say, ‘We don’t love this idea, but we’re prepared to give a little bit of blood to help us get through this together in one piece for the next couple of years,’ I think that’s reasonable.” Murphy said his administration has started a conversation with the operators.
DIGITAL DIVIDE — “A test for Murphy: An army of children are falling into the digital divide,” by The Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran: “‘We are ultimately engaging in the process of filtering kids towards failure,’ said Ruiz, a Democrat from Newark and chair of the Education Committee. ‘It should be our responsibility to ensure that kids have what they need to learn…I’ve been expressing frustration about this since March.’ No one, including the Department of Education, knows exactly how many kids remain without connection. The 230,000 was based on income data and surveys of parents during the pandemic, but no one considers that reliable. ‘It’s an estimate,’ says Mike Yaple, a spokesman for the department of Education. That, too, drives Ruiz to distraction. How can we solve a problem if we can’t measure it? … Sciarra wants the state to establish a database showing where kids lack access to virtual instruction, down to the school. He wants the state to coordinate purchases of hardware to gain bargaining power and ensure supply lines. He wants the state Board of Public Utilities to press for concessions from internet providers to ensure low-cost access. To Sciarra, Murphy is punting this problem to local districts in the same way President Trump punted the virus problem to states”
— “Reality TV vs. grim reality: Trump hid COVID facts while Murphy told hard truth,” by The Record’s Charles Stile: “‘I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic,‘ Trump told Woodward in one of the interviews for his new bombshell book, ‘Rage,’’ which chronicles Trump’s early handling of the pandemic. Yet on the same day back in Trenton, Gov. Phil Murphy tried the opposite approach — in public. ‘And I will tell you right now, as I sit here on March 19, these numbers will, I am certain sooner than later, go into the many thousands,’’ Murphy told reporters … It’s the difference between a president who offered false, pie-in-the-sky assurances that the virus would easily be dispatched, by the heat of summer or a dose of Lysol, and governors who offered unvarnished assessments of the virus’s toll and preached solidarity and sacrifice as the only effective way of defeating the disease.”
3-2-1 CONTRACT — New Jersey’s contact tracing numbers remain weak amid school reopenings, by POLITICO’s Sam Sutton: New Jersey’s contact tracing efforts are still languishing even though the state has doubled the number of health officials on the ground since the spring, Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday. There are roughly 1,835 contact tracers spread throughout the state, a number Murphy said can adequately respond to the state’s current Covid-19 caseload. But, he said, the hit rate for following up with new patients is still dismal.
HICKS — “Lawmakers criticize N.J. prison leader for number of coronavirus deaths behind bars,” by NJ Advance Media’s Blake Nelson: “The head of New Jersey’s prison system defended how he and his department responded to both the coronavirus pandemic and long-standing allegations of sexual abuse within the state’s women’s prison before a skeptical group of bipartisan lawmakers Thursday. The hearing, which was videotaped, before the state Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee was ostensibly to discuss proposed funding cuts to the prison system and parole board, but lawmakers used it as an opportunity to grill Hicks on issues he rarely addresses publicly … One senator questioned why he skipped hearings, most recently in May, about accusations of rampant and ongoing sexual abuse at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women.”
NOT DOING MUCH TO ADVANCE IDEA THAT THE LEFT HAS TAKEN OVER MAINSTERAM DEMOCRATIC POLITICS — “N.J. takes hardest stance so far on ‘defund the police’ movement,” by NJ Advance Media’s Josh Axelrod and Brent Johnson: “Choking back tears at a 9/11 memorial service Friday, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver took a moment to speak directly to New Jersey’s police officers, both in attendance and watching via livestream. ‘To law enforcement, I want to share a message with you: We need you, we appreciate you, and want you to know with all the noise that’s going on, we will never defund you,’ Oliver said, in a speech during the service at Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange. The small in-person crowd, which included U.S. Reps. Mikie Sherrill and Donald Payne Jr., applauded the comments. Oliver’s statement marks a rare time that an official in Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration has taken a firm public stance on the controversial issue and rallying cry of the Black Lives Matter movement. Oliver is the highest-ranking Black elected state official in New Jersey.”
FROM THE RIGHT — “Doherty says systemic racism doesn’t exist, calls Black Lives Matter ‘Marxist organization’ in 9/11 speech,” by New Jersey Globe’s Nikita Biryukov: “In a speech that began with a memorial to emergency responders who died on and after 9/11, State Sen. Michael Doherty (R-Oxford) claimed systemic racism did not exist and charged the Black Lives Matter movement was a Marxist organization. ‘These demands to defund the police are based upon allegations of systemic racism being thrown about by Marxist organizations such as Black Lives Matter, which have burned cities, burned Churches, destroyed private property and terrorized American citizens,’ Doherty said at a 9/11 commemoration ceremony in Hunterdon County. Video captured by former Hunterdon County Democratic Chairman Joey Novick shows the Warren County conservative pointing to President Barack Obama’s election to claim systemic racism does not exist … ‘The United States does not have systemic racism. It is an evil lie. We must have the courage to oppose these wicked, baseless allegations,’ he said. ‘What does system racism mean? How is systemic racism defined? Is it systemic racism when an African American, Barack Obama, is elected twice as president of the United States?’”
HEADLINE THAT DOES NOT SAY WHAT YOU THINK IT DOES OF THE DAY — “Former governor Chris Christie to keynote 2021 NRCC”: “The 31st Northeast Regional Carwash Convention (NRCC), scheduled for Oct. 4-6, 2021, is reinventing its look, feel and content, according to 2021 Show Chairman Dave DuGoff, as stated in a press release … ‘Our committee and generous sponsors think that former Governor Chris Christie will make a terrific keynote speaker,’ said DuGoff
—“Pressure builds on Murphy to drop NJ Transit’s power plant project in Meadowlands”
—States plow forward with pot, with or without Congress
—“Middlesex County Gender Rule for Political Party Committees Unconstitutional. Practice to End in NJ?”
MORE Q’S THAN A’S — “QAnon website shuts down after N.J. Man identified as operator,” by Bloomberg’s William Turton: A popular website for posts about the conspiracy group QAnon abruptly shut down after a fact-checking group identified the developer as a New Jersey man. Qmap.pub is among the largest websites promoting the QAnon conspiracy, with over 10 million visitors in July, according to web analytics firm SimilarWeb Ltd., and served as the primary archive of QAnon’s posts. The website aggregates posts by Q, the anonymous figure behind the QAnon theory, and the creator of the Qmap.pub website is known online only as ‘QAppAnon.’ The fact-checking site Logically.ai identified Jason Gelinas of New Jersey on Sept. 10 as the ‘developer and mouthpiece’ for the site.”
—Stile: “Whitman says her son was target of Trump’s strong-arm tactic in ’97”
—Why an Obama loyalist [Jeh Johnson] is speaking at Liberty University about moral leadership
—Kelly: “Why a visit by a Saudi official to NJ is now part of the 9/11 investigation”
—“Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano accused of sexually abusing man in 1980s who faced arson charge in his court”
—“‘Politics took a day off’: Family of Flight 93 attendant from N.J. joins Trump, Biden at memorial”
—“These N.J. companies got millions in federal bailout money, even with history of legal troubles”
—“Menendez intends to run again in 2024”
—Florio: “Armed men at N.J.’s Black, Latino polling places? Ex-gov. warns it has happened before”
THE BENNETTFICIARY — “On second try, former acting governor gets dover job,” by New Jersey Globe’s David Wildstein: “Former Acting Gov. John O. Bennett III was named interim Dover town administrator after a raucous virtual meeting [Thursday night]. Bennett will be paid $127,500 for a nine-month contract … Once one of New Jersey’s most powerful politicians, Bennett had served a decade in the State Assembly before winning a 1989 special election for State Senate. He served as Senate Majority Leader from 1994 to 2002. The 84-hour Bennett administration was full of hoopla and fanfare. He moved into Drumthwacket, printed letterhead, and had pens made that said “John O. Bennett III, Acting Governor” to use when he signed his name to official documents. He delivered the State of the State address to the Legislature, hosted an engagement party for his daughter at the governor’s mansion, and issued daily schedules for himself and his wife, the Acting First Lady. He even pardoned an old friend and campaign contributor.”
—“Dover appoints interim administrator against residents’ wishes”
GRASSROOTS VS. ASTROTURF — “Rally at Liberty State Park calls for passage of LSP Protection Act as dissenters try to counter,” by Hudson County View’s Daniel Ulloa: Politicians, activists, and nature lovers alike gathered at Liberty State Park yesterday afternoon to host a rally where they urged the state legislature to pass the LSP Protection Act, though there were a select few who felt this wasn’t the best course of action … [Bruce] Alston reiterated his previous position that [Sam] Pesin does not allow minority voices to participate in the process. In response, Pesin said the counter protest was more than likely paid for by Fireman.”
—Take a look at this image of the counter-protesters from a News 12 story. Does that look like an actual grassroots movement, or a hastily thrown-together “protest”? It’s definitely odd that everyone’s sign is on exactly the same poster board.
PATERSON — “Students are likely behind porn, threats during Paterson online classes, officials say,” by The Paterson Press’ Joe Malinconico: “The school district has identified between five and 10 Paterson students who officials say may have been responsible for this week’s virtual classroom disruptions, including pornographic images, threats and profanities. Superintendent Eileen Shafer said the district is in the process of confirming the students’ roles in the disruptions and may impose suspensions by Monday.”
SPIDERS LOOKING LESS ELITE — “Redeveloper backs out of secret Wire Works deal over questions about his finances, history,” by The Trentonian’s Isaac Avilucea: “John Liu, the president of Elite Spiders LLC, told The Trentonian this week that he’s no longer interested in purchasing the historic Roebling Wire Works building in the capital city for $200,000. He hoped to turn the building into a manufacturing plant to produce face masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical workers. Not wanting to ‘be the center of controversy,’ the man who is admittedly “not that experienced with redevelopment” said he was walking away from the potential deal — which was illegally discussed in secret with city legislators. His decision comes after The Trentonian raised questions about Liu’s tangled web of unpaid debts, failed redevelopment deals and allegations that his Elite Spiders LLC company flouted environmental regulations in another state … Mayor Reed Gusciora said the administration didn’t get to ‘first base’ with Liu.”
WILL CONVINCE FEWER THAN 420 VOTERS — “NJ marijuana legalization: Ocean County freeholders to just say no,” by The Asbury Park Press’ Erik Larsen and Mike Davis: “When New Jersey voters are asked this fall to decide on a state constitutional amendment that would legalize recreational marijuana and regulate its sale, the Ocean County Board of Freeholders want them to just say no. The five-member, all-Republican board is expected to approve a resolution at its next regular meeting on Wednesday that would declare its opposition to the proposed amendment.”
TO BE REPLACED BY GRANITE — “Atlantic County Freeholder Chair Frank Formica resigns from board,” by The Press of Atlantic City’s Michelle Brunetti Post: Atlantic County Freeholder Chairman Frank Formica resigned from the board Friday, effective immediately, citing concerns about work conflicts in his new job for a consulting firm.’We’ve been meeting with some good success,’ Formica, a Republican whose seat is up for re-election in 2021, said of his work with Salmon Ventures in Millville. ‘I’ve been working with clients on different issues, and it just became patently apparent there would be multiple conflicts ethically as an elected official, especially with any company that does business with Atlantic County.”
—“Debt-ridden ex-congressional candidate enters Atlantic freeholder race”
— “4 Lakewood school bus drivers weren’t wearing masks, district says”
—“Edgewater school called police after sixth-grader had Nerf gun during Zoom class”
—“Passaic County OKs hazard pay for nursing home staff that fought ‘horrors’ of COVID-19”
—“Dave and Buster’s in Wayne laying off 107 employees from Willowbrook Mall location”
—“Hundreds of supporters rally in Parsippany for President Trump’s re-election campaign”
HIRE IT AS A CAMPAIGN CONSULTANT OR IT WILL WRITE MEAN BLOG POSTS ABOUT YOU — “New Jersey’s first parasitic ‘bat tick’ found in Sussex County,” by The New Jersey Herald’s Bruce Scruton: “A big brown bat, caught in nets by biologists studying other, rarer bats in Sussex County, was carrying a parasitic tick, the first of its kind found in New Jersey. The tick was found in the summer of 2019 as biologists from the state’s Division of Fish and Wildlife were using ‘mist’ nets to capture rarer bat species to learn more about their statewide distribution and habitat use”
—“College parties are coronavirus powder kegs. Here’s how schools are trying to stop them”
—“Atlantic City casino exec must return phone with high-roller info, judge rules”
—“Nearly a year after she vanished, Dulce’s Day honors missing N.J. child”
—“Family claims mechanics’ error caused death of woman hit by propeller at Newark Airport”