Shutdown Talk Creeps Into State House Conversations [AUDIO]
"There won't be a state shutdown this year." "Do you think there will be a shutdown?" "There's no way there will be a shutdown." "I think we might be headed toward a shutdown."
The obvious common thread here is the word 'shutdown' and while no one is sure what will happen, the possibility is at least being talked about at the State House with just over five weeks to go before the constitutional deadline for a signed and balanced State Budget of midnight June 30th.
Assembly Budget Committee chairman, Vinnie Prieto says, "There's not much time before we have to have a balanced budget delivered to the Governor to sign. We don't want government shutting down……Hopefully we can negotiate and I feel confident that we will. A shutdown would not help anybody in the State of New Jersey."
In 2006, a monumental budget battle primarily between Democrats from the north and south over a 1% increase in the state sales tax led to a week-long government shutdown. Some Trenton insiders say this year has a similar feel, but most believe Governor Chris Christie would never let a shutdown happen on his watch.
Prieto isn't about to stand by and allow a shutdown to occur either. He says, "Obviously I was not the chairman (in 2006) of this (Budget) committee so I'm a little more optimistic now because I have a little bit more say in it."
"I think everybody will go into hyper-drive now that they know that the time is coming," explains Prieto. "I feel confident that we will get a balanced budget as New Jersey is accustomed to doing."