Bridgegate Overshadows NJ’s Budget [AUDIO]
If it is approved as proposed, Gov. Chris Christie's Fiscal Year 2015 state budget would be the biggest spending plan in New Jersey history, yet the $34.5 billion proposal is not the focus at the State House.
Instead, the ongoing Bridgegate scandal seems to have pushed every other issue to the back burner.
"Bridgegate just hangs over everything right now, so even if the Democrats or Christie wanted to make something out of the budget, they couldn't," said Monmouth University poll director Patrick Murray. "The governor didn't want a big budget battle regardless of whether Bridgegate happened or not, and the Democrats didn't want to shake things up either."
There's another factor at play, according to Murray: The budget plan has no wiggle room. Murray said if a cut is made in one area, in order to fund something else, it is going to upset somebody.
"I think one of the things that happened because of Bridegate is the governor pulled some potentially controversial things out of what would have been his planned budget," Murray said. "The distraction is about his political future, but even without this distraction I don't think we would have seen much with the budget."
On Tuesday, the state Senate Budget Committee is scheduled to get the latest revenue figures from the top budget analyst with the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services, and the state treasurer.