Two weeks out, Democratic majorities still non-committal on budget authorship

TRENTON – Support among Senate and Assembly Democrats for authoring a budget has gained some momentum, sources said, but with two weeks to go before a final budget is due, no decision has been made.

In the Senate, the support for authoring the budget has gained significant support – the majority of the caucus – including Majority Leader Barbara Buono, (D-18), of Metuchen. But, according to sources, the majority was told by state Sen. Steve Sweeney, (D-3), of West Deptford, that, since the budget bills must originate in the lower chamber, it’s not the upper chamber’s decision to make.

In the Assembly, the support for authoring the budget has also gained significant support – the majority of the caucus – including from Majority Leader Joe Cryan, (D-20), of Union Township.

Sources in both chambers said that it’s only South Jersey’s legislative power base – including Sweeney and Assembly Budget Officer Lou Greenwald, (D-6), of Voorhees – keeping the Democrats from drafting the budget bills, but even so, the rest of the caucuses are entirely unsure whether that bloc will be enough to derail the budget-authorship movement.

“We’re discussing a variety of ways to pass a responsible budget on time,” Greenwald said over the weekend in a statement issued by the Assembly Majority Office, “and I look forward to cooperative discussions with my Democratic colleagues and the governor’s office to decide how best to proceed.”

Two weeks out, Democratic majorities still non-committal on budget authorship