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NJ Budget Bill To Get Final Vote Monday [AUDIO]

The State Senate and Assembly Budget Committees approved a nearly $33 billion budget bill yesterday.

Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen

All systems are go for a vote in both full houses this coming Monday afternoon. The spending plan legislation comes as a result of a compromise between Democratic Leaders and Republican Gov. Chris Christie, but that doesn’t mean everyone is thrilled with the final product.

The spending plan includes more money cancer research, county colleges, nursing homes and the university merger, but defers property tax rebates for eligible residents for three months, does not fund women’s health clinics and does not restore a tax credit for the working poor.

“There’s very little in the way of property tax relief,” explains Democratic Senate Budget Committee chairman Paul Sarlo. “The Homestead property tax rebates are still being pushed to next year……While we all recognize the constraints of this economy and accept the fact that we have to live within our means, I continue to have concerns about some of the Governor’s revenue expectations.”

The ranking Republican on the Assembly Budget Committee says he’d love to see the rebates built back into the budget when the state has the money to afford them. He says if Democrats are so upset about the rebates delay they should have proposed spending cuts somewhere else to pay for them.

“Even if it feels good, even if it would get him (Christie) more votes, he’s not going to spend money we don’t have,” explains Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon. “Before the Governor got here it was, ‘let’s do everything that makes us feel good.’ That’s what got us into this mess in the first place.”

The compromise budget doesn’t fulfill the school funding formula for public education, but it does keep 270 districts from receiving less aid than last year by appropriating an additional $7.4 million.

The spending plan also does not include $12 million for a special U.S. Senate election Christie set for Oct. 16. Funding for the special election likely will come from the Secretary of State’s budget.

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