By Art Gallagher
Governor Phil Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin announced last night that the had a last minute budget deal to avert a state shutdown and that the legislature would pass the necessary bills this morning starting at 8am.
As of 9:45 a.m. the legislator and many staffers have been in Trenton for three hours, but the bills have yet to be drafted and some of the details…where the devil lives…are still being haggled over, according to a sleep deprived source who called this morning.
The most important detail yet to be announced is the threshold of the Corporate Business Tax (CBT) surcharge of 2.5% for two years, 2% for a year and 1.5% for a year. When Sweeney first proposed the surcharge on corporations that benefited from President Trump’s federal tax reforms, the threshold was $1 monillion. If the CBT does not have this threshold, the Dems are passing a huge middle class tax increase on small business owners. Text this article to Sweeny and Coughlin, if you have their numbers, so they make sure that doesn’t happen.
Also, @JonBramnick said Republican lawmakers would not support an emergency vote on a new budget if it includes tax increases. “I’m happy to be an obstructionist when it comes to this kind of nonsense.” #NJBudgetDrama pic.twitter.com/m8E6f7gze0
— Brent Johnson (@johnsb01) June 29, 2018
There’s another wrinkle that puts Republicans in a box. Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, on Friday, set his Republican colleagues up, unwittingly I suspect, when he announced on Friday that his caucus would not provide the necessary votes to allow bills to be passed on an emergency basis. Well now that the deal is done, an emergency needs to be declared or some of the bills needed close this mess cannot be voted on until Tuesday.
Republicans are now in a position of having to vote for the emergency…which Bramnick framed to the press as voting for tax increases..even if they vote against the tax increasing legislation itself, or not voting for the emergency and risk Murphy shutting down the government for a few days and blaming the shutdown on the Republicans.
Now we know why Sweeney, when told by the press that Bramnick said he would withhold votes for an emergency, said, “That’s OK.”
My advice to the Assembly Republicans….vote for the emergency and then elect a new leader who can think beyond the next sound bite. Preferably a chess player.
The Senate’s 15 Republican Senators issued the following statement at 9:56 a.m.
“The failures of the Governor and Democratic majorities in both houses of the Legislature have brought us back to Trenton after our constitutional deadline to approve a balanced budget has passed.
“To be clear, these are failures of Democrats alone.
“Even this morning, a day after Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Coughlin stood together to announce an agreement on billions in spending and tax increases, they continue to argue over exactly how to raise taxes on New Jerseyans.
“Nothing, in any of their proposals, would stop the flight of New Jersey’s suffering families and employees to other more affordable states. To the contrary, all of their plans would make that problem worse.
“This single-party government run by Democrats has failed New Jersey. Our great state deserves better.”
Assembly Speaker Coughlin asked the Assembly Republicans to vote for the emergency declaration:
— Serena DiMaso (@Sdimaso) July 1, 2018