N.J. Senate panel advances $32 billion budget

A New Jersey Senate panel has passed a $32 billion state budget that’s similar to the spending plan Gov. Chris Christie proposed in February.

The budget committee voted along party lines to approve the Democrats’ version of the budget plan and send it to the full Senate for a planned vote at noon Monday.

Senate Budget Chairman Paul Sarlo says Democrats made some minor changes and would have liked to do more to help the most vulnerable residents and the middle class but revenues are limited.

Sarlo says the Democrats’ budget offers offsetting spending cuts — but a tax cut is on hold.

“The revenue to support a property tax cut for the middle class is in this budget. The enabling legislation needs to come and it will come in due process,” said Sarlo, D-Bergen. “First the governor needs to demonstrate to us that the economy in New Jersey is improving and that there are the revenues to support it.”

All of the Republicans on the Senate budget committee voted against the plan. Senate Republican Budget officer Tony Bucco says they wanted the tax cut to take effect immediately, not wait for an improvement in state revenues.

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