Local and county governments are once again calling for more financial help to counter rising health insurance and pension costs. The New Jersey Association of Counties and the New Jersey League of Municipalities are again calling on Gov. Phil Murphy to use federal COVID-19 relief funds to offset rising health care costs. In addition to a 24% increase in the premium for participation in the state health care program, local authorities are also facing a double-digit increase in the rate of pension contributions. Officials warn that those higher costs could lead to higher property taxes, cuts in services or layoffs. Meanwhile, Republican members of the state Senate Budget Committee are asking for a hearing on why health insurance premiums are increasing so much.

Putting food on the table may become even more expensive, and this is again due to the consequences of the Russian war in Ukraine. World wheat and corn prices rose on Monday after Russia pulled out of an agreement that allowed Ukraine to export grain. Ukraine is one of the world’s leading producers of grain. Meanwhile, diesel prices are rising due to supply shortages. The rising prices for both fuel and food remind us how difficult it is to curb inflation.

The Eatontown native has come up with a new business. Called Mojo, it’s like a stock market where people invest in athletes. A few weeks ago, Vinny Bharara launched the Mojo sports betting app in New Jersey. For example, after Jets tight end Tyler Conklin had a good performance on Sunday, his stock was trading 10% higher early Monday.

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