Although it appeared earlier last week that the Senate and Assembly were in agreement on budget matters, on Thursday, according to a source, the agreement came to an end. Since then the status seems to change at a moment’s notice. The surcharge on personal income over $1 million and Christie’s inflated tax revenue forecast are just two of the concerns. However, as of this moment Budget Chair Paul Sarlo (D-36) is set to present a review of the Senate’s budget tomorrow, and the Senate is set to vote on it early next week. Within the Senate Barbara Buono (D-18) does not support the plan and is concerned about the property tax relief proposal during a period of economic uncertainty. She does support a millionaire surcharge which has not been a part of the Senate budget. Nonetheless, it appears the Senate has the 21 votes to pass the bill.
Within the Assembly, it is less clear as to whether there are the needed 41 votes to pass a bill. Joe Cryan (D-20) has been a vocal opponent. He says, “I have problems with this budget, because it’s full of one-shot gimmicks, borrowing for transportation funding, not fully funding education, taking money from towns, false tax cut promises, and not penny one for a Rutgers plan everyone knows will cost tens of millions of dollars.” The Assembly like the Senate has a Budget Committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow.
Governor Christie has been adamant about wanting some kind of tax cut, although he has not stated what he thinks about the legislature’s plan to delay a decision on implementing its property tax relief proposal until the end of the year. He and Senate President Sweeney (D-3) have been in discussion over budget matters, with more conversations anticipated.
The bottom line: Stay tuned: Things change at a moment’s notice, but the issues will be resolved as the June 30 deadline is fast upon us. As Shakespeare might have said, the course of budget making never did run smooth. However, the final bill will more closely resemble the Senate version and will include about $140 million more than what Christie proposed.