$32.9 N.J. budget agreement expected to get legislative blessing

    More than a week before the deadline, New Jersey has a state budget agreement in place.


    The deal includes more money for nursing homes and funds to reorganize the higher education system, but does not include restoration of an earned income tax credit and defers property tax rebates, according to Assemblyman Vinnie Prieto, chairman of the budget committee. The agreement also does not include money for women’s health clinics.

    “There’s a lot of things that we wanted to have gotten in the budget but unfortunately, due to the revenue constraints, we didn’t want to put a budget that we put all our priorities and then just get it slashed,” said Prieto, D-Hudson.

    Democrats were able to negotiate a budget deal that preserves some of their priorities, according to Sen. Paul Sarlo, who heads the Senate budget committee.

    “There’s language in here to preserve the school funding formula. There’s language in here to ensure that, under the merger, all of the Rutgers campuses are treated fairly and equitable,” he said.

    Senate Republican Budget Officer Tony Bucco expects the full Legislature will approve the budget on Monday.

    “I’m sure there are some people that are not satisfied for one pet project or another,” he said Thursday. “Do you throw out the baby with the bathwater or do you try to pass a budget that we can live with?”

    Legislative leaders don’t expect there will be much debate when lawmakers vote on the $32.9 billion plan.

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