Regional Briefs – February 11, 2016

$500M Redesign Proposed For Central New Jersey Mall

EATONTOWN, N.J. – New plans unveiled Wednesday call for a $500 million makeover of the Monmouth Mall into a 24/7 destination named the Monmouth Town Center, The Associated Press reported. It would have an outdoor plaza, green spaces and a streetscape. It is still years before construction can begin.

Cuomo: $15 Wage Would Help 2.3 Million NYers

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday his plan to phase in a $15-an-hour minimum wage would benefit 2.3 million workers. Business groups say a hike from the current $9 would lead to increased costs and hurt businesses surviving in a difficult economic climate.

Comptroller Sounds Cautious Note About NYC Budget

NEW YORK – Comptroller Scott Stringer on Wednesday sounded a cautious note about NYC’s booming economy while presenting his analysis of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $82 billion budget plan, The Associated Press reported. He predicted a $200 million gap, rejecting de Blasio’s reliance on taxi medallions.

Wounded NYPD Officer Released From Bronx Hospital

BRONX – An NYPD officer wounded by gunfire in the stairwell of a public housing project last week was released from the hospital on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported. Officer Diara Cruz was struck in the torso. Another cop, Patrick Espeut, who was shot in the cheek, was discharged on Friday.

NJ Lawmakers: Why Only $15M for Flood Protection?

TRENTON – New Jersey on Thursday got only $15 million out of the $300 million they requested in federal flood protection, The Associated Press reported. They wanted to build dunes; instead, the funds will go for a list of best practices. Nearby New York won $200 million.

Panel: NJ Can Save $2B by Cutting Pension Health Costs

TRENTON – A panel looking at N.J.’s pension funding crisis said Thursday the state can save $2.23 billion annually by reducing health benefits to the equivalent of Obamacare gold plans, The Associated Press reported. Failing to make changes could cost billions through 2023.