Gov Christie and legislative Democrats appear close to agreement on school funding

 The State Capitol in Trenton, New Jersey. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

The State Capitol in Trenton, New Jersey. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

As the June 30 deadline for enacting a state budget approaches, New Jersey lawmakers are also considering whether to pass several other controversial bills.

Democratic legislative leaders have been delaying action on a budget bill until they reach a compromise with Governor Christie on their proposal to increase state aid to schools.

After Democrats in the Assembly met for several hours in a closed-door session, Budget Committee Chairman Gary Schaer was optimistic.

“We’re very, very positive in terms of the school funding formula. There were additional tweaks that the governor asked for that the Speaker and I believe the Senate President were agreeable to.”

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Schaer said the administration’s proposal to transfer the state lottery into the public employee pension system could also be heading for legislative approval.

“There were concerns with the proposal. There was also support for the proposal. A belief overall that it would not be harmful and would conceivably be helpful. So I think that, generally, sympathies were positive towards the bill.”

Many lawmakers are opposed to Christie’s proposal to require Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield to give the state $300 million of its reserve for addiction treatment.

Schaer and Christie are both confident that a new budget will be in place by the end of the month deadline.

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