Assembly Democrats head into their caucus chamber this morning up against the proposition that they won’t get any concessions from a property tax cap deal already negotiated by Gov. Chris Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford).
But sources say Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Fanwood) and other members of the women’s caucus are prepared to pitch a face-saving swap to fellow Democrats this morning.
Stender and company plan to propose supporting Christie’s 2.0% property tax cap on condition that the governor commits to supporting the restoration of $7.5 million in family planning funding, according to sources. It’s unclear at this time how hard they intend to drive the issue and whether they have – or could land – the support of Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange).
The assemblywoman planned a news conference at the Statehouse this morning to call – for the third time – on Christie to restore the funding allocation.
“Despite having found a revenue neutral way to provide low-income women and families with critical healthcare coverage, while simultaneously addressing the concerns of everyone involved, Gov. Christie refuses to take action on this legislation,” said Stender. “Every day the governor delays action, he puts the long-term health of poor women, infants and families at serious risk.”
Stender’s bill passed in the assembly last week along with an identical version in the senate. That bill was sponsored by Sen. Loretta Weinberg, (D-Teaneck), who made the rounds with Stender late last month to push for support. The legislators say they have found funding for the bill. Christie has not yet vetoed the measure, but has vowed several times that money for family planning will not be ini the budget.
Weinberg secured a veto-proof majority in the senate, but the assembly passed the bill with 42 votes, making it vulnerable to a Christie veto.