2023 State Budget Passes out of the Senate

The Senate this afternoon passed the $50.6 billion 2023 Budget without too much fanfare. Democrats backed it

Polistina, Republican senator from Atlantic County, was the lone member of his party to vote in favor of the budget.

and Republicans – with the exception of state Senator Vince Polistina (R-2) – voted in opposition.

The tally was 25-15.

Republicans argued that the budget doesn’t do enough to fix New Jersey’s structural financial problems and leaves the state vulnerable to an uncertain future, while Democrats made the case that it sets a record in terms of one-year property tax relief.

Democrats also made the case that the budget contains numerous critical public investments.

“This budget is smoke and mirrors,” complained state Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho (R-24). “Missed opportunities. We could’ve structurally changed.”

State Senator Vin Gopal (D-11) defended the budget.

“This one is interesting to me,” said the Monmouth-based senator. “There is over a billion in school construction in here, good for union jobs. A significant increase in extraordinary special education funding. A significant increase in adjustment aid.

“I’m sure I’m going to see many of them at the ribbon cuttings,” Gopal added.

“This is the single greatest budget New Jersey has passed. No one has committed $2 billion to property tax relief. I couldn’t imagine it before this year,” said Senate President Nick Scutari (D-22).

Republicans were unconvinced.

“The Anchor Program isn’t $2 billion it’s $1.5 billion; number two, it won’t happen for a year,” said state state Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13).

Democratic strategists no doubt salivated over the prospect of telling voters in mail pieces that the GOP voted against property tax relief, while the GOP rolled its collective eyes at the oversimplification of a massive problem.

Polstina’s “aye” vote on the budget may have provided the afternoon with its most interesting political wrinkle. The Republican occupies a battleground district in South Jersey, historically the scene of a massive tug of war between R’s and massively funded D’s.

For a full list of budget pork, please go here.

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