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

A land-use policy organization says towns need to make some changes so millennials don't continue to leave New Jersey.

Tim Evans with New Jersey Future says the 22-to-34-year-old age group wants to live where work, stores, affordable housing, and recreational opportunities are all within walking distance.

Mugwort
Dr. Leonard Bielory

Many are enjoying this spate of summer-like weather, but it's been tough on allergy sufferers. 

Dr. Leonard Bielory is an allergy specialist who tracks the pollen count in New Jersey. He says a combination of environmental conditions is causing problems for people with allergies.

"I call it the witches' brew. The high humidity, high temperature, with several different pollens, ragweed, grass, and mugwort which is flourishing right now."

Bielory says medication can provide some relief.

Murphy Has New TV Ad

Sep 26, 2017

Six weeks before New Jersey voters select a new governor, Democratic nominee Phil Murphy is releasing his first television ad for the general election.

Even though polls show Murphy with a big lead over his Republican opponent, he begins the ad by calling attention to her.

"The Christie playbook failed New Jersey. Now, Kim Guadagno wants another try."

Seton Hall public affairs professor Matthew Hale believes Murphy has identified Guadagno's weak spot as Chris Christie's unpopularity.

Despite some setbacks, New Jersey Transit officials say they have every expectation they’ll meet the federal deadline for getting Positive Train Control on its rail system by the end of next year. 

The collision avoidance system slows or stops a train if the operator doesn’t comply with signals or the speed limit.

The Gateway Project to construct two rail tunnels under the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York could take until 2030 to complete. But it might not begin if federal funding is not forthcoming.

New Jersey state Senator Bob Gordon says the two states have agreed to put up 50 percent of the construction costs, but there's no clear commitment from the federal government for the other half.

City and county officials in New Jersey are asking the state Legislature to keep in place rules that limit how high salary increases can go when police and firefighter contracts are settled in arbitration. That limit - currently at two percent - expires at the end of this year.

Hunterdon County Freeholder John King says the cap has proven to be a valuable tool.

Governor Christie has pardoned a Greenwood Lake, New York woman who was convicted of two felonies in New Jersey.

Gail Naples grew up in Cresskill, New Jersey.

After taking prescribed painkillers, she says she became addicted to heroin.

“It became difficult to keep a job and my need for the drug increased as my disease progressed. I had no income so I turned to stealing. That supported my habit but I was arrested a number of times. I wound up with two felonies.”

The New Jersey Society of CPAs says reducing property taxes should be the top priority for the state's next governor.

The certified public accountants who were surveyed also want the state to focus on improving infrastructure, increasing the use of shared services by municipalities and school districts, auditing state agencies for overspending, and converting pubic pensions to 401k plans.

Ralph Thomas is the society's CEO. He believes the CPA's have a good read on what residents are worried about.

 

Even many Donald Trump supporters are taking a more moderate view about unauthorized immigration. That's the finding of a new Monmouth University poll.

Poll director Patrick Murray says support for severe policy measures of deportation or a border wall has declined since the harsh rhetoric of the presidential campaign. Republicans are mainly responsible for that shift.

The Jersey Shore is still feeling some effects from Hurricane Jose.

Jon Miller is a coastal research professor at Stevens Institute of Technology.  While the storm stayed far out at sea, he says it churned up the waters along the New Jersey coast, and it’s still too dangerous

to take a dip in the ocean.

The top Republican in New Jersey's Assembly worries his party will have less of an influence on state government policy if Democrats maintain control of the legislature and win the election for governor.

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick worries what might happen if Democrats hold the reins in both the legislative and executive branch.

Governor Chris Christie

Governor Chris Christie is detailing his plan to shift $200 million from New Jersey's budget for new initiatives to combat the opioid crisis.

Christie says 25 programs will be implemented or expanded.

A $40 million pilot program will reward treatment providers whose clients stay in treatment, are employed, and have stable housing that helps with their recovery.

New Jersey's gas tax won't be going up again this year.

The law that raised the tax 23-cents-a-gallon last November requires the state to determine annually whether it's generating enough money for transportation projects.

The state treasurer says the tax rate won't need adjustment this year.

Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience Store, and Automotive Association, is concerned that might change in the future.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy has unveiled a proposal to enhance job training and workforce development in New Jersey.

Murphy says no one should be shut out of today's competitive economy because they cannot afford to learn.

"I'm committed to making community college tuition free for all New Jerseyans. That won't happen overnight but if we grow our economy and prudently manage our finances we will get there sooner rather than later."

Murphy said that would be phased in over three to four years and might cost about $200 million a year.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says a public-private partnership will help combat an opioid epidemic that's killing thousands of people across the country.

Christie says leaders of 17 pharmaceutical companies and government agencies intend to work together to fast-track development of new non-opioid medications for pain.

Dr. Francis Collins is director of the National Institutes of Health. He's excited about the effort but says it'll be difficult.

If you want to get an early start on pumpkin purchases for Halloween, New Jersey farmers say you'll have a lot to choose from.

Jim Giamarese grows about 25 acres of pumpkins on his farm in East Brunswick. He says a lot of rain this summer caused bigger than usual pumpkins.

Even if Democratic Senator U.S. Bob Menendez of New Jersey is acquitted of federal corruption charges, a Quinnipiac University poll finds he could have a tough time winning reelection.

Pollster Maurice Carroll says 49 percent of New Jersey voters surveyed disapprove of the way Menendez is handling his job and only 20 percent believe he deserves to be reelected.

“He’s got a lot to overcome, but assuming that the trial comes out on his side, he’s got a year to work on it, and I wouldn’t rule the guy out because he is one tough cookie.”

Advocates are urging New Jersey officials to do more to encourage the use of electric vehicles.

Pamela Frank is CEO of the ChargeEVC coalition. She says the costs of electric vehicles are too high for many consumers and creating a $300 million fund to provide rebates would make them more affordable.

"Giving a $5,000 cash rebate at the point of sale and having that rebate decline by $500 for each $100 million bloc allocated would give us 67,000 new cars on the road with a plug in three years."

A non-profit group is urging New Jersey's next governor to put more emphasis on transportation.

Fund for New Jersey says last year's 23-cent gas-tax increase won't provide enough money for all the state' transportation needs.

The group recommends policymakers consider leasing toll roads to private operators and charging tolls on interstate highways to generate more money for transportation projects.

Martin Robins is director emeritus of the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers.

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to prevent the public from being inconvenienced if the state doesn't enact a budget on time.

Legislation introduced by Senator Jeff Van Drew calls for motor vehicle agencies, state parks and beaches to remain open for up to ten days if a budget isn't complete by the end of June deadline.

He wants to prevent a recurrence of the public outcry this summer because a deadlock in enacting a new budget forced state beaches and parks to close for three days.

Republican New Jersey gubernatorial nominee Kim Guadagno says the goal of her ethics reform plan is to restore the public's faith in state government.

Guadagno believes the most important part of her plan is term limits for elected state officials.

“I think that people need to spend two terms at most serving their state. No one should rely on a state elected position for their job. I don’t think that leads to good government.  I think that in fact leads to bad government. They forget who they serve.”

A New Jersey lawmaker is urging continuation of a temporary moratorium on fracking in the Delaware River watershed.

Senator Kip Bateman says the drilling process that uses high-pressure liquid to extract natural gas has benefits but allowing it in the Delaware River Basin could endanger water quality.

After hurricanes caused price spikes, the price of gasoline is starting to move lower again.

Refinery shutdowns because of Hurricane Harvey and a rush to fill up the tank in advance of Hurricane Irma caused gas prices nationally to soar to an average of $2.78 a gallon.

Tom Kloza, the global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey, predicts prices will slip into the two-sixties this month.

After returning from Texas where they helped with the recovery from Hurricane Harvey, members of New Jersey Task Force 1 are heading to Florida because of Hurricane Irma.

Laura Connolly with the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management says the specially trained search and rescue crews will assist where needed in Florida.

A New Jersey pilot program will allow Ocean County residents who believe they improperly received Medicaid benefits to withdraw from the program without fear of criminal prosecution.

State comptroller Phil Degnan says the recent arrests of 26 Lakewood residents for public assistance fraud got him thinking about what kind of program to offer.

The drinking water at nearly 400 schools in New Jersey contains lead and advocates say the state must do more to address the problem.

The state is reimbursing school districts for the costs of the water testing.

Environment New Jersey director Doug O'Malley says that's a good start, but he believes remediating lead contamination from old pipes and fixtures should be a state priority.

A new ordinance bans large tents and canopies on the beaches during the summer season at a popular Jersey Shore destination.

The restrictions in Monmouth County's Belmar take effect next year. Mayor Matt Doherty says the big tents won't be allowed between Memorial Day and Labor Day because of complaints that they take up too much space and could endanger public safety.

The Atlantic County Democratic Committee has tapped former freeholder Colin Bell to fill the seat in the New Jersey Senate left vacant by last month's death of Senator Jim Whelan.

Bell was unopposed when he won the Democratic nomination in the 2nd District Senate race in the spring. He isn't sure that becoming a incumbent Senator for a couple of months will give him an edge over Republican candidate Chris Brown who's now a state Assemblyman.

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to prohibit the Turnpike Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority from adding a fee when seeking payment from motorists without an E-Z pass account who go through cashless toll plazas.

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano says drivers who don't have an E-Z Pass account should not be punished with a fine.

"I'm ok with individuals getting a notice for the amount of the toll, but I'm not in favor for them to then also be charged in addition an administrative fee up to $50."

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie leaves office in January and says the opioid crisis will be his primary focus until then.

He says he’s ready to work with the legislature to do anything in the lame duck session that makes sense.

He’d like lawmakers to send him a bill that would eliminate accumulated sick time payouts for public employees.

“It’s a disgrace that we have billions of dollars being paid to people for not having been sick. It’s a disgrace. It’s an outrage to the taxpayers. I’ve been saying it for eight years.”

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