Democrats to unveil ‘alternative’ spending plan for NJ
Gov. Chris Christie's budget plan is going to have some competition. Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (D-Secaucus) said the goal is for the Democrat-controlled NJ Legislature to unveil an alternative spending plan Monday and possibly pass it and send it to Christie on June 25.
"We have voting sessions on the 25th and the 29th," Prieto said. "I would rather get it done on the 25th, always earlier because nobody wants to go through a government shutdown. I was through one of those (in 2006). Nobody wins."
There will not be a shutdown this year, Prieto vowed. He would not divulge what the Democrats' budget would include, but he promised to produce a spending plan that fully funds the public employees' pension system. That would require revenue raisers and likely a millionaires' tax increase that Christie said he would veto as he has four times in the past.
"That timeline can work and it would be wonderful to finish on the 25th," said Assembly Republican Budget Officer Declan O'Scanlon (R-Red Bank). "We're hearing from my friends on the other side of the aisle (Democrats) that there's likely to be massive tax increases included in their budget. That would be unfortunate because I don't think that's a solution that's in the best interest of everyone in New Jersey"
Once the budget is passed, Christie has three options. He can sign the budget as is, conventionally veto it and send it back to the Legislature or line item veto portions of the spending plan. O'Scanlon predicted the governor would veto all tax hikes and sign the budget.
"We're going to try and put a budget forward that fully funds all of our obligations," Prieto said.
"I have vetoed four income tax increases passed by this body and make no mistake, I will veto any more income tax increases that come before me," Christie said.