CRANBURY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is pushing a measure he said will save taxpayers money, but the newspaper industry says it is more about revenge.
As CSB2’s Tony Aiello reported, at issue are legal notices published in dozens of papers every day.READ MORE: Valanciunas, Hart Lead Pelicans Past Knicks
For New Jersey newspapers, it is headline news about stuff that usually ends up in the back pages – those legal notices about government meetings, foreclosures and the like that by law must be published in local papers.
Christie wants to end the publication requirement and allow legal notices to be published on websites instead.
“It’s a bill that would have a great impact on the paper business in New Jersey,” said Star-Ledger publisher Richard Vezza.
Vezza, publisher of the state’s biggest newspaper, said the measure could cost his industry millions and put 300 people out of work. He also had a theory as to why the governor is suddenly pushing it.
“Some of us in the press are speculating that it’s punishment for our coverage on Bridgegate,” Vezza said.
The Christie administration scoffed at the notion, and claimed that the measure will save governments and private individuals millions of dollars.
“I pay a lot of taxes in this state,” said Victor Sisolak of Middletown. “If it will help my individual town, I’m all for it.”READ MORE: New York Weather: CBS2’s 1/21 Friday Morning Forecast
But the newspaper industry said the average town spends less than $10,000 a year on legal notices. It also claims posting legal notices only online will impact almost 2 million New Jersey residents who seldom use the internet – such as many of the seniors who buy their papers at Crockadeli in Cranbury.
Deli owner Manny Amin said those seniors want their printed paper, and as to online, “They don’t believe in that.”
The industry will spend the next few days lobbying lawmakers, who vote on the issue on Monday.
Christie said he is not interested in a newspaper industry compromise offer to cut fees charged to governments, while raising them for private parties.
The fees are set by law and have not changed in more than 30 years.
Also Thursday, the New Jersey State Senate and Assembly approved a measure that would provide pay raises for judges, prosecutors and members of the legislature, but it would also allow the governor to profit from a book deal while still in office, WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron reported.
“This is at the exact same time that the legislature and governor just raised taxes on seven million citizens in the state of New Jersey,” state Sen. Jennifer Beck said.MORE NEWS: Armed Suspect Dies After Police-Involved Shooting In Williamsbridge Section Of Bronx
Beck said giving raises to the political elite would be unconscionable.