The head of the Assembly Budget Committee says he's troubled by the speed at which the Christie administration is trying to restructure New Jersey colleges and universities without knowing how much it will cost.

Committee Chairman Vincent Prieto says it defies fiscal sense to move forward before costs are tallied.

The Secaucus Democrat also says the Assembly has been left out of merger discussions with the administration and has not been  invited to private talks among high-level Democrats and select members of the Rutgers Board of Governors.

Christie has called for Rutgers to absorb parts of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and for Rutgers-Camden to be merged into Rowan University.

Higher Education Commissioner Rochelle Hendricks is answering questions from the budget panel about the merger plan.  

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