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In his rejoinder to Governor Phil Murphy’s budget speech, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) said the legislature gave Murphy a good budget and he’s happy the governor signed that budget.
Sporting a black ironworkers shirt, the leader of the senate also slapped at Murphy, the former Goldman Sachs guy turned progressive Democratic governor.
“The governor doesn’t talk about property taxes because he has no idea to address them,” said Sweeney, who reminded reporters of a $3 to $4 billion deficit by 2023.
“This budget does well for one reason: the expanded corporate business tax,” Sweeney said, referring to his chosen tax. “We vetoed very little.”
Sweeney jabbed some more.
“He took money away from the poor people of Camden who need health care,” the senate president said of the governor, referring to one of Murphy’s $48.5 million cuts. “The governor talks about who’s side he’s on. I’m on the side of the poor people of Camden. It’s unfortunate he took healthcare away from them.”
Then he upped the ante.
“It reminds me of Donald Trump a little bit,” Sweeney said of Murphy’s State Street endzone dance. “He declares victory after he doesn’t get his way.”
He didn’t have any contact with Murphy after the legislature passed their $38.7 billion budget.
“Zero,” he said. “He didn’t want to negotiate.
“This isn’t Goldman Sachs,” he added.
Sweeney seemed content to occupy the center of the debate.
“This is not a progressive state, it’s a moderate state,” he said, as he pointedly noted what he believes is the governor’s mistake to identify public sector workers alone as New Jersey’s middle class.