TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) insisted this wasn’t a chest-thump-with-abandon moment atop the Statehouse in the aftermath of his perceived budget victory over Governor Phil Murphy.
He just said he’s tired of going to the gym every morning and getting assailed on the subject of livability. Too many people can’t cut it here anymore, he said, and he wants to try to do something about it now.
Reporters tried to get him to contextualize his apparent endorsement of a recommendation to chop government workers’ pension and healthcare benefits from platinum to gold. The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) attempted to lump him up last year in his district and he prevailed. Then he tangled with the NJEA-allied Murphy over the budget. The NJEA bad-mouthed today’s press conference here.
He had a Republican Governor in power for eight years, why wait until a Democratic Governor to undertake these measures?
“It’s gotten worse,” Sweeney said, referring to the pension crisis.
“I think we all have the same goal we can’t just wait for years before we have the conversation,” he explained.
The Governor responded to the working group findings here.
“There are some things in there that I’m not crazy about, and we will flesh those out,” Sweeney added.
Grumbling about the absence of Assembly members ensued and Sweeney noted scheduled vacations as the only reasons why Assembly Majority Lou Greenwald and Assembly Budget Committee Chair Eliana Pintor Marin didn’t attend the press conference.
“We want to work with the administration. We’ll sit down with him and figure out which ones he supports right away,” Sweeney said.