Here are the top New Jersey news stories for Wednesday:

⬛ NJ youth soccer coach charged with sex crimes

Ryan Gunsauls, of Union Beach (MCPO, Canva) Youth soccer coach arrested sexual images with minors
Ryan Gunsauls, of Union Beach (MCPO, Canva)

Ryan Gunsauls, of Union Beach, was also accused of inappropriately touching two of the children, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

Gunsauls was charged with eight counts each of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child and third-degree distributing obscene materials to a minor.

⬛ Murphy signs bills to help NJ school districts facing cuts

New Jersey Statehouse
New Jersey Statehouse (Governor's Office) (Canva)

Gov. Phil Murphy signed two bills designed to help school districts facing huge cuts due to decreases in state funding.

Is it enough?

Over 140 districts have prepared budgets that cut programs and staffing to what Toms River Regional School District Superintendent Michael Citta called "rock bottom" levels. His district is looking at cutting 368 positions and increasing class size.

⬛ Top Democrat suggests raising NJ sales tax

Sen. Paul Sarlo at a 5/2/23 budget committee meeting (NJ Legislature)
Sen. Paul Sarlo at a 5/2/23 budget committee meeting (NJ Legislature)

The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee is suggesting consumers, not business, pay more to fund New Jersey Transit.

Sen. Paul Sarlo floated the idea of raising the sales from from 6.625% to 7% as an alternative to Gov. Murphy's billion dollar tax hike on businesses.

Murphy had suggested he was open to raising the sales tax, but did not include it in his $55.9 billion budget proposal.

⬛ Monmouth County movie theater is first in area to serve alcohol


RED BANK — Your purchase of popcorn and candy can now be accompanied by beer and wine at Basie Center Cinemas.

The independent cinema on White Street is up and running with alcoholic beverage service for customers aged 21 and older.

“Basie Center Cinemas is now the only area indie movie house that can offer patrons a glass of wine, a local craft beer or a cool, canned cocktail to accompany their feature presentation,” said Izzy Sackowitz, chief operating officer of the Count Basie Center organization.

⬛ Major seafood chain closes locations in NJ

AP Photo/James A. Finley, File

Without any warning for seafood lovers, Red Lobster has closed dozens of locations across the U.S., including a few in New Jersey.

For many locations, the furniture and equipment are being auctioned off online right now.

According to the Red Lobster website and Google listings, the New Jersey locations that are now closed include Bridgewater, East Brunswick, Lawrenceville, and Ledgewood (Roxbury).

NJ teachers and educators caught in sex crime busts

Over the past several years, state lawmakers have dealt with accused child predators among ranks of teachers and educators.

The following individuals were arrested and charged in 2021 and several years earlier. Some were convicted and sentenced to prison.

Others accepted plea deals for probation and some cases were still pending.

Gallery Credit: Erin Vogt

NJ DOT's 2024 collection of humorous safety messages

The NJ DOT continued to use a series of humorous seasonal safety messages on its' over 200 electronic signs around New Jersey.

Gallery Credit: Dan Alexander

Weird things NJ taxes - and some they don't

In general, New Jersey assesses a 6.625% Sales Tax on sales of most tangible personal property, specified digital products, and certain services unless specifically exempt under New Jersey law.
However, the way the sales tax is applied in New Jersey sometimes just doesn't make sense.
New Jersey puts out an itemized list for retailers that spells out what is, and what is not, taxed. 
Perhaps because this is New Jersey, there are some bizarre and seemingly contradictory listings. 

Gallery Credit: Eric Scott


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