TRENTON – Despite news thatmaybe at leastDemocratic senators – state Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May), state Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Newark), state Sen. Joe Vitale (D-Woodbridge) and state Sen. Nia Gill (D-Motclair) – did not intend to support the $28.6 billion budget this afternoon, Senate President Richard Codey (D-Roseland) said he is confident he will have the votes next week.
"At the end of the day, we will have the votes, but I don't speak for individual senators," said Codey, whoinsisted the $400 million tax amnesty windfall discovery announced by Gov. Jon Corzine, which delayed today's budget vote,was not simply an enticement to affectthe senators' decision.
"We'll see when the board opens up next Thursday," Codey said of the newly scheduled budget session. "I was shocked (to learn of the windfall). It's Christmas in June."
Codey's remarks came at a press conference moments before the full senate honored New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur.
"I don't follow politics too much," the legendary Stanley Cup winner told reporters, "but it's an honor for me."
Asked who he supports for governor, Codey answered for Brodeur.
"He's neutral," said the Senate President, who was joined at the press conference by Senate MinorityLeader Tom Kean, Jr., (R-Westfield) and state Sen. Kip Bateman (R-Branchburg).
"It's the biggestpress conference we've had here in decades,"cracked Kean, noting the full-force presence of sports reporters in attendance to follow the movements of Brodeur.
Codey noted the fact that as a resident of West Orange, the Montreal-reared Brodeur lives in his district. Brodeur pointed out that his children were born in New Jersey.
"You're a New Jersey resident, you pay your taxes here," Codey said.
"That's what I was going to talk to you about," deadpanned the hockey star.