N.J. lawmakers approve $32.9 billion budget

 N.J. senators debate the budget bill before voting 29 to 11 to pass it. (Phil Gregory/for NewsWorks)

N.J. senators debate the budget bill before voting 29 to 11 to pass it. (Phil Gregory/for NewsWorks)

It’s now up to Gov. Chris Christie to sign New Jersey’s new $32.9 billion budget. The Assembly voted 52-to-25 to pass it Monday after it cleared the Senate.

The Senate approved the budget by a vote of 29-to-11.

Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg was one of 10 Senate Democrats to vote against it.

“This budget has not taken into account women’s health,” said Weinberg. “There is no real property tax relief. There is no income tax credit in here for the working poor”

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But Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean defended the negotiated budget.

“The Democrats have tried to throw a lot of accusations at the wall regarding this budget. The fact that they then changed less than 1 percent of the overall budget number from the governor’s introduction really shows that the governor has got the right priorities,” Kean said.

Budget committee chairman Paul Sarlo says Democrats did not want to risk inserting more items in the budget only to have the governor veto them.

“To run the risk of having them line-item veto wasn’t worth it. We’ve tired that. We’ve gone down that road before,” he said. “So I think this is the best solution.”

Sarlo says the budget is based on overly optimistic revenue projections by the Christie administration, but he hopes they can be achieved.

One leading Republican touted the bipartisanship behind the spending plan.

“This is what the public expects from its leaders in Trenton and today New Jersey has delivered a message we’re working together with Gov. Christie the way the public expects this body to work,” said Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick.

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