N.J. lawmakers closing in on $32.9 billion budget deal

Democratic leaders in the New Jersey Senate expect an agreement soon on a new state budget.

 

Senate President Steve Sweeney says negotiators are close to working out a budget deal with the Christie administration and the Assembly.

While there could be changes in some programs, the final budget will be the same $32.9 billion amount that the governor proposed, according to Sen. Paul Sarlo, chairman of the budget committee.

“We’re now working on some of the specifics, some of the language, and everybody has been very cooperative. We’re moving in the right direction,” said Sarlo, D-Bergen. “I’m very comfortable and confident that within the next 48 hours we will be meeting to have a budget bill done.”

Senate Republican Budget Officer Tony Bucco said Tuesday he was disappointed an agreement on a budget bill has not yet been reached.

“Hopefully they’ll be able to put it all together by Thursday’s meeting and see where it goes from there,” Bucco said.

Negotiations should result in a budget bill the governor will accept, Sweeney predicted.

“Our aim is to get a budget done, get him to sign it. We’ve said that from the beginning the best way to do the budget is to negotiate one, and we have,” he said. “We’re pretty much there. It’s just a matter of cleaning things up.”

If all goes as planned, the full Legislature could vote Monday on the budget so it’s in place ahead of the July 1 constitutional deadline.

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