State Budget Clears Senate Committee
Along party lines, the Senate Budget Committee has approved the Democrat-sponsored $31.741 billion State Budget bill paving the way for a vote in the full Upper House Monday. Meanwhile, the Assembly Budget Committee will not consider the Democrat-sponsored $31.7 billion State Budget tonight. Assembly budget chief Vinnie Prieto has scheduled a hearing for 10am tomorrow.
Senate Budget Committee chairman Paul Sarlo says Assembly Democrats have committed to keeping the tax cut in their budget bill. He says, “This budget includes a tax cut. This budget includes a tax.”
Sarlo adds that the Democrats’ spending plan sets aside $183 million in surplus funds to enact an unspecified tax cut in January 2013. He says Senate President Steve Sweeney has drafted legislation to enable the tax reduction if revenues are equal to Governor Chris Christie’s estimates.
The Democrats’ state budget plans calls for spending $31.741 billion. $404 million less than the spending plan proposed by Governor Chris Christie in February and $62 million less than the revised budget State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff presented to budget committees in May.
The Democrats’ plan calls for $133 million in new spending and they’ve identified $112 million in cuts.
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Democrats have been huddled up in private trying to make sure the votes are there in both full houses to pass the budget this Monday. Sources tell Townsquare Media that a group of nine Assembly Democrats led by Assemblyman Joe Cryan are threatening to withhold their votes on the Democrat-sponsored State Budget unless they are assured that a vote on the controversial Rutgers-Rowan University merger is delayed. One of the Assembly members involved in the hold out group confirms the situation, but has requested anonymity.
Today, the budget committees have taken action on bills that are outside the budget but still related to the spending plan.
One bill would phase-in, over five years, the restoration of $331 million in municipal property tax relief funding. First year funding would be about $66 million. The bills ensure that each municipality in the State will be restored to the 2007 (SFY 2008) Energy Tax Receipts and Consolidated Municipal Property Tax Relief Aid level, over 5 years and a poison pill will protect that level of funding for each municipality, while continuing to require aggregate Energy Tax Receipts inflation adjustments.
Edison Mayor Toni Ricigliano, who also serves as Vice Chairperson of the League’s Energy Receipts Restoration Task Force, says, “We salute Assemblyman Singleton and Senator Sarlo for their leadership. They and their cosponsors have heard what New Jersey Mayors have been saying, and they have responded. The bill recognizes that municipalities have long been denied revenues that they were promised, and to which they are entitled.”