Dems Announce Budget Deal, As 10 Assembly Dems Hold Out for Rutgers
Democrats in the Legislature will introduce a budget that calls for about $60 million less spending than Gov. Chris Christie wants, according to Senate Budget Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen).
The plan also calls for $133 million restorations of previous budget cuts, including $25 million for nursing homes and $4.9 million in legal services for the poor, according to a summary obtained by The Star-Ledger. Other additions include more money for after-school programs and medical day care.
The latest Christie budget called for $32.4 billion in spending, but Democrats plan on shaving some money from the plan, but it’s unclear where the cuts will come from.
After walking out of a closed-door hearing, Sarlo revealed the cuts and said the Senate Budget Committee should approve a spending plan this afternoon, a quick turnaround given that the public has yet to see the proposal.
Assembly Hold Outs
The plan faces an uncertain future in the Assembly, where a group of dissident Assembly Democrats are willing to support the party’s budget plan, but only if leaders put off a decision on the massive reshuffling of the state’s colleges and medical schools until after the presidential election.
The group of nine Assembly members, led by Assemblyman Joe Cryan (D-Union), is big enough that Speaker Sheila Oliver needs them to pass the Democratic-backed budget along party lines in the Assembly.
There are 48 Democrats in the 80-seat Assembly.
That means if Democrats want to pass a budget without Republican support – and perhaps some changes they would want, such as a tax cut now – they must derail a plan that the state’s most powerful Democrats have been pushing for months.
Under the sweeping reorganization plan, Rutgers University would take over most of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, while losing control of its Camden Campus, which would join with Rowan University in a hybrid merger.
The plan has faced stiff opposition, but has been pushed through the Senate by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and close ally and powerbroker George Norcross.
Despite a lack of a financial costs on the plan, the Senate is expected to pass the sweeping legislation June 21.
With the budget deadline less than two weeks away, Senate and Assembly committees were scheduled to take up a Democratic-backed spending plan today that challenges Gov. Chris Christie to earn his coveted tax cut while restoring millions for the working poor and women’s health issues.
That would set the bills for floor votes in both houses Monday.
In addition, Democrats are expected to kick off their third attempt to raise taxes on millionaires.
Competing tax cut plans have dominated budget discussions ever since Christie announced in January that he wanted cut the state’s income tax rate by 10 percent. Democrats responded with their own tax-cutting plans, which rely on an income tax credit that is calculated on the size of property tax bills.
But the tax-cutting proposals ran into financial headwinds as slumping revenue figures cast doubt on whether the state could afford it. Democrats now say any tax cut should be held off until Christie can meet his tops-in-the-nation revenue forecasts for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Christie lampooned the idea at a town hall on Tuesday.
Source: Star Ledger
blog comments powered by
Advocacy & Government Relations News Archive
NJPSA News Archive