According to Democratic sources who finished caucusing moments ago, assembly Democrats are prepared to support the property tax cap deal struck Saturday between Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford)
The caucus, which ran for nearly three hours, was fraught with frustration and worry about the minimized role of assembly Democrats in the cap negotiations. Sources say, however, that South Jersey lawmakers, who have been in favor of moving forward with an agreement, made it difficult for opponents of the deal to gain traction.
Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Fanwood) made a case for the caucus to try to tie approval of the deal to the restoration of family planning funds to the budget. But Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange) did not seem interested in the proposal, sources say.
In a statement released moments after the caucus concluded, Oliver, who refused to support the deal Saturday until she had met the assembly Democrats, threw her support behind the plan.
“The Assembly Democratic caucus – as it always does – had an energetic discussion about property tax reform and where New Jersey goes from here,” Oliver said. “We believe the plan to cap increases at 2 percent and provide exceptions incorporates many of our ideas to control property taxes and is a significant change from the governor’s initial plan. The proposal has our support.”