TRENTON – The 2018 State Budget did not have the requisite votes to proceed following abstentions of the foes of Speaker Vincent Prieto, who pulled the bill.
The final vote was 24 yea and 22 nay prior to Prieto gaveling out to reevaluate this body of 80 members that failed to deliver a 41-vote majority and spurred worry about a government shutdown.
South Jersey Democrats, Middlesex Democrats and Assemblyman Jerry Green, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin, Assemblyman Dancer, Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson abstained on the budget.
Sources coming out of the caucus spoke of colleagues who sought to punish Prieto for the speaker refusing to post the Horizon restructuring bill.
Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-36) made the case for the budget.
When Governor Chris Christie proposed it at $35.5 billion, it was the largest budget in state history.
Democrats tacked on $300 million in legislative initiatives.
“Less than one percent of this budget consists of Democratic initiatives… the rest from the governor,” said Schaer.
The budget contains $13.8 billion in education spending; $2.5 billion in pension payments.
He moved the document.
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon opposed.
“Ultimately the highest priority needs to be fiscal sanity,” he said. “This budget once again kicks the can down the road. I cannot in good conscience move this budget.”