Assembly passes budget; bill heads to governor

TRENTON – The New Jersey General Assembly put its stamp of approval on the state’s nearly $33 billion spending plan Monday, sending the budget bill to the governor’s desk for final approval.

Republicans hailed the negotiated plan on the Assembly floor as “fiscally responsible” while the lower chamber’s budget committee chairman gave the budget bill some praise, but also stressed it’s not the best.

The bill cleared the floor following a 52-25 vote and very little debate.

“I thought it was a good process this year,” said Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-32), chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee.

“I think this budget, even though it’s not perfect, I think it was a negotiated budget,” he said. “I think it’s a good budget for the residents of the state of New Jersey.”

The only other two lawmakers to speak on the floor before the vote were the minority party’s budget officer, Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), and Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21).

“This is a significant day in the history of New Jersey,” boasted Bramnick, referring to bipartisan budget negotiations.

“Let the nation know that New Jersey knows how to cooperate,” he said.

The procedure was decidedly smoother than earlier in the Senate, which saw lengthy debate and 10 Democrats vote no on the budget citing concerns over funding for women’s healthcare and education, particularly preschool.

Assembly passes budget; bill heads to governor