Leader of a renegade faction of Democrats worried about a higher education merger that collapsed late Friday afternoon, Assemblyman Joe Cryan (D-20) will vote for the $31.7 billion budget this afternoon, he told PolitickerNJ.com.
“The budget was always leverage for higher ed, and I said so in caucus,” Cryan said.
He said he wouldn’t have provided the vote to get the caucus to the 41-vote majority but the arrival of Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-36) gives the Democrats a majority for their budget and Cryan said he intends to cast his vote on top of it in the affirmative.
“(Opposition to) The budget was a tool to use to stop the merger insanity,” a source close to Cryan said.
Both houses of the legislature will consider the controversial merger question and vote on it this coming Thursday.
Cryan last week said he thought the higher education merger was bogus dealmaking between the front office and the South Jersey Democratic allies of George Norcross III.
He gathered a group of caucus outcasts together who refused to support the budget unless Democratic leadership delayed the Rutgers-Rowan crunch-up. Nine votes would have derailed the budget in the Democratic caucus or forced Democrats to deal with the GOP.
But when the Dem leaders dangled a $10 million Bergen County bridge allocation in front of Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-38) and Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-38), the two lined up behind the budget and short-circuited the Cryan insurrection.