Lawmakers quietly craft N.J. budget as deadline nears

    With a little more than a week until the start of the new fiscal year, there’s still no agreement on a state budget for New Jersey.

     

    Political analysts say it’s not unusual for the budget process in Trenton to go down to the deadline.

    However, La Salle University provost Joe Marbach says it is surprising that there are no strong public disagreements coming from budget negotiators.

    “That’s a good thing because you don’t have the posturing between the governor and the Legislature and each one trying to garner public support for the position if there’s strong disagreement,” Marbach said. “I think whatever disagreements are occurring are being negotiated behind the scenes.”

    Rider University political science professor Ben Dworkin said the big challenge is how to find the money to pay for the increased education funding ordered by the state Supreme Court and how to deal with less-than-anticipated savings from pension and benefit reforms.

    “Typically you would see both sides stake out a position and you knew that some compromise had to be reached, but here we’re talking almost $800 million that has to be found, and no one is quite sure where that’s coming from,” Dworkin said.

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