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

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.”

It’s now up to Governor Murphy to decide whether to sign a bill passed by the New Jersey legislature that would impose a five-cent fee on plastic and paper shopping bags.

Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle says the goal is to reduce the use of bags that litter the environment and end up in waterways. She says the fee is an incentive to change consumer behavior by encouraging the use of reusable bags.

Environment New Jersey director Doug O’Malley says that’s a good concept.

The budget plan New Jersey Democratic leaders hope to pass tomorrow includes some changes in funding for public schools.

Parent and Chesterfield committeewoman Andrea Katz supports the lawmakers’ plan to limit reductions in state aid to school districts that have received more than required by the school funding formula and increase aid to underfunded districts.

“They lay out a path forward for everyone, for under-aided districts and for over-aided districts. And I just really wish the Governor would support it so we all know where we’re going next year.”

A state watchdog agency says corrupt pawn shops, secondhand goods stores, and scrap yards in New Jersey are taking advantage of the opioid epidemic to maximize their profits.

State Commission of Investigation spokeswoman Kathy Riley says those operators regularly accepted metal and other merchandise from addicts who stole those items from cellphone towers and utility substations to get money for their drug habit.

A bill advancing in the New Jersey Assembly would require new school buses in the state to be equipped with lap and shoulder safety belts.

Current New Jersey law requires school buses to have lap-only belts.

Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez says including a shoulder strap would improve student safety.

New Jersey legislative leaders are pressing ahead with their own state budget plan even after Governor Phil Murphy said he’d veto it.

Murphy says the budget Democratic leaders are advancing is based on gimmicks.

“I will not sign any budget based on numbers that I do not believe are sound and sustainable. And as we have reviewed the legislature’s proposals, I do not believe theirs are.”  

Senate President Steve Sweeney says lawmakers have been open to compromise and won’t be bullied into doing what the governor wants.

 

The leader of the New Jersey Senate says a new state budget will be approved by lawmakers before the June 30thdeadline.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says legislative leaders are prepared to pass their own version of a budget plan next week.

“Our plan is we’re hoping to do a budget on Tuesday and vote on Thursday. That’s our goal. No one wants to shut the state government now. I can tell you that right now.”

Lead that gets into drinking water from old water pipes can cause serious health problems.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering legislation that would help assess the extent of that hazard.

A bill advanced by an Assembly committee would require public water systems to submit a list of lead service lines in their distribution system to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Chris Sturm with New Jersey Future says that’s an important step.

Legalized sports betting is now underway in New Jersey.

Governor Phil Murphy made the first wager at Monmouth Park in Oceanport.

“I’m betting $20 on Germany to win the World Cup and $20 on the Devils to win Lord Stanley’s Cup. Let’s go.”

Several state lawmakers then joined hundreds of sports fans in placing their wagers.

Spring Lake resident Peter Kizenko was one of them.

“I’ve been looking forward to it for years. When you win now you don’t have to worry about people disappearing to get your money. Always a good thing.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says he’s optimistic an agreement on a new state budget can be reached by the June 30th deadline even though he and lawmakers disagree on how to pay for it.

Murphy says he’s in deep discussions with legislative leaders and they’re committed to delivering a budget on time.

“I think the discussions have been constructive and they continue to be. They’re farther along on the investment side. But that doesn’t mean that the discussions on the revenue side are not constructive even though they may not be as farther along.”

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