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NJ Budget: A Long Day’s Journey Into Night Expected

The State Senate has already passed the Democrat-sponsored $31.741 billion State Budget bill. The Assembly is scheduled to vote on the measure today as well. Heading into the Assembly vote, Democrats have exactly the 41 votes needed for passage, but one of the ‘yes’ votes isn‘t in Trenton yet.

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Flickr User Irina Patrascu

Assemblyman Gary Schaer, who will vote in favor of the budget bill, is on his way back from Connecticut where he attended the funeral of his father-in-law. A vote could still be a long way away because the Assembly Budget Committee is nowhere near wrapping up its hearing on the Rutgers-Rowan university merger. That panel must finish up before members can head to the Assembly chamber to even begin debating the budget bill.

In another twist, a spokesman for the Senate Democrats says State Senate President Steve Sweeney wants to adjourn for the day by 6pm. Because the millionaires’ tax increase bill is a revenue raiser, it must first pass the Assembly before the Senate can even consider. If the Assembly doesn’t pass the bill by 6pm, the Senate is expected to come back Thursday to vote on it.

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick is advising legislators, lobbyists and journalists to, “get your sleeping bags.”

The Assembly Budget panel has just recessed its hearing on the Rutgers-Rowan University merger and the full house is expected to begin voting on bills soon. The Democrat-sponsored budget bill will be among the first considered according to an Assembly Democrat spokesman.

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