After speculation that New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy considered shutting down state government at midnight Sunday to get his way with the new state budget, the Democrat has put those concerns to rest.
“I’ve been saying all options remain on the table. I’ve just taken one option off the table,” Murphy said at a Thursday press conference, announcing that he would sign the budget by the deadline in order to avoid a shutdown.
“I can’t play politics with innocent lives in this state,” he added.
The budget passed by the Legislature left out some of the key priorities Murphy had sought, such as a tax hike on millionaires and an increase in gun permit fees. He has also criticized lawmakers for cutting the amount of funding he wanted for community college programs.
“We got an overwhelming amount of our priorities funded, and we are thankful for that,” Murphy said. “There are a couple of exceptions. And I continue to be really upset and I think it’s tone deaf to cut the Community College Opportunity Grant amount.”
Murphy can either sign the budget in its entirety or line-item veto parts of it, which is more likely.
But top Democrats in the Legislature have said they may push to override some of Murphy’s line-item vetos.
“I want to see what he’s doing first. And once we see what he’s doing, then I’ll have a conversation with Speaker [Craig Coughlin],” State Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said Thursday. “But we’re not saying we’re going to rush out and try to [do] line-item veto overrides.”