U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez accused the Trump Administration of using the IRS to attack state efforts to work around the new tax laws limiting state and local tax deductions. (See brief) Mayor Roque lends support to longtime Sacco adversaryMayor Felix Roque lent his support to Larry Wainstein during a speech at a Wainstein event at a local restaurant recently. Wainstein is a perennial adversary of Mayor Nicholas Sacco who has challenged the mayor in past elections.While media outlets characterized the speech as an endorsement for North Bergen’s 2019 municipal election, Roque stopped short of confirming that.“The word ‘endorsing’ is a very precise, targeted word,” Roque said. “I would say that he’s a phenomenal person.”He said that as far as any endorsements, “When the time comes, it’s something I have to consider.”Roque has been in office for seven years, and Sacco for 27. The two have been on the same side in the past. So why is Roque suddenly supporting Sacco’s longtime adversary?Local mayors recently became divided over who should be the next Hudson County executive. Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Union City Mayor and State Sen. Brian Stack announced they would not support current County Executive Tom DeGise’s 2019 reelection efforts. Roque has joined them in seeking a new candidate, as has Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla.Roque has said that “there’s a need for change,” calling Stack, Fulop and Bhalla a “new generation trying to make a difference.”But Sacco is in DeGise’s camp. Some say the fight is over county jobs.Roque said he gave kind words to Wainstein because of his philanthropic efforts in North Bergen. Roque also said that Wainstein has recently helped West New York residents with bill and rent payments.On the other hand, three West New York commissioners have announced support for DeGise, an apparent split from Roque. In fact, next month, those commissioners will participate in a fundraiser to be hosted by Rep. Albio Sires for an anti-Roque ticket.One of those commissioners is Cosmo Cirillo, who has close ties to Sacco, and is a rumored Roque opponent for next year. ×U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez accused the Trump Administration of using the IRS to attack state efforts to work around the new tax laws limiting state and local tax deductions. (See brief) But despite his commissioners breaking rank with him, Roque had no lack of confidence in himself.“They can try every which way,” he said. “Right now, I’m invincible. Sitting on the horse like I am, not only do I have the money and people, I have the support of my community.”He added that he invites their competition, “but I’m still going to win.”Asked whether his words complimenting Wainstein were political retaliation against DeGise sympathizers, Mayor Roque shot that down. “I don’t have any problems with Sacco,” Roque said.In a statement, North Bergen town spokesman Phil Swibinski said, “Mayor Roque should be more concerned with West New York, where in the last few months he has lost control of local government, with a majority of the Board of Commissioners breaking away from him, and [with] his own chances of re-election, which appear to be getting slimmer by the day.”Menendez rips into IRS ‘attack on New Jersey taxpayers’U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez reacted to Wednesday’s announcement by the Internal Revenue Service that it intends to issue new rules about property taxes. Menendez said the rules would unfairly target statewide efforts to protect New Jersey taxpayers from being double-taxed by the Trump Administration’s plan limiting state and local tax deductions.Republican federal tax law, passed last year, is expected to hurt New Jersey taxpayers who pay more than $10,000 in state and local property taxes. Estimates indicate that more than onein10 New Jersey households will see an increase in their federal income taxes.To mitigate the federal tax law, earlier this month, the senator – a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee that sets national tax policy and the leader in the U.S. Senate in the fight to preserve the state and local tax deduction – joined Gov. Phil Murphy as he signed state legislation that allows municipalities to establish charitable funds where taxpayers can donate in return for a property tax credit.The state legislation, S-1893, allows taxpayers to donate to a charitable fund established by their municipality, county, or school district. In return for their donation, the taxpayer receives a credit on their property tax bill of up to 90 percent of the donation.Taxpayers would then be able to claim their donation as a charitable deduction on their federal income tax return.The IRS has said it will try to limit these strategies, without giving any details.“Despite these state efforts to circumvent the new statutory limitation on state and local tax deductions, taxpayers should be mindful that federal law controls the proper characterization of payments for federal income tax purposes,” the IRS wrote in its notice.Menendez reacted angrily. “The concept of incentivizing charitable contributions with state tax benefits, including credits, has long been found by the IRS to be acceptable,”the senator said. “The only reasonable conclusion to draw is that the Trump Administration will stop at nothing to hurt New Jersey, and will always put petty partisan politics ahead of the people he has been sworn to serve.”Menendez added, “As appalling as it was for President Trump and Congressional Republicans to use tax reform as a way to exact political revenge against so-called blue states by limiting the state and local tax deduction, it is absolutely unacceptable to use the IRS as a political weapon to target New Jerseyans. I will not stand for it, and will use every tool at my disposal to protect the taxpayers of New Jersey.”Hudson County CASA is seeking volunteersLearn how to become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer and help foster children find safe and permanent homes. The next information session will be held at the Hudson County Courthouse, 595 Newark Ave. Rm. 901 on Tuesday, June 5 at 6:30 p.m.Hudson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a non-profit organization committed to advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children. CASA works through trained community volunteers to ensure that needed services and assistance are made available to children while helping to move them toward safe and permanent homes. Hudson County CASA volunteers are everyday people who make a direct impact in foster children’s lives. They are trusted, dedicated adults who seek to improve children’s well-being. CASA volunteers get to know their assigned child and his or her circumstances and provide valuable information to the court. Judges rely on the volunteers’ recommendations to make the best decisions about the children’s futures.For further information, visit www.hudsoncountycasa.org. Uber Express POOL launches in New JerseyUber announces last week that its new shared rides product Express POOL launched May 17 in Hudson County, Newark, Elizabeth, and parts of Essex and Bergen counties.In Express POOL, where riders wait a few minutes before their trips begin, and then walk a short distance to a nearby spot for pick up and dropoff. Walking and waiting help make more optimal matches and provide better, straighter, faster routes with fewer detours.New Jersey residents will see Express POOL next to POOL in the app. Once requested, the app spends the next few minutes selecting the most compatible co-riders and a driver nearby, and the best spot for pickup within a few blocks of your location.