NJ Politics Digest: Legislature Reportedly Prepared to Override Murphy’s Veto

The state legislature could deal Gov. Phil Murphy an embarrassing rebuke, overriding his veto of a bill meant to force dark money groups—like the one supporting his progressive agenda—to disclose their donors.

Governor Phil Murphy
Governor Phil Murphy Christoph Soeder/picture alliance via Getty Images

The state legislature could deal Gov. Phil Murphy an embarrassing rebuke, overriding his veto of a bill to force dark money groups—like the one supporting his progressive agenda—to disclose their donors.

The New Jersey Globe news website reports that Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin have agreed to hold a vote on an override on Monday, though the website notes that the possibility of a deal with the governor still exists.

While Murphy has said he supports requiring so-called dark money groups to disclose donors, he conditionally vetoed the measure and continues to appear in ads for New Direction New Jersey that support his call for increasing taxes on the state’s top earners. New Direction refuses to disclose its donors, but independent groups have learned that the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s powerful teachers’ union, has contributed millions to New Directions’ efforts.

The NJEA strongly opposes Sweeney’s plans to address the state’s fiscal crisis and notorious property tax burden by reining in public employee benefits.

If Murphy doesn’t strike a deal with Sweeney and Coughlin, it appears the veto override is a certainty, according to the Globe report. The effort has the backing of state Republicans, who will give the two Democratic legislative leaders enough votes in the state Senate and Assembly to deal the governor a stinging rebuke.

The override would be another win for Sweeney, who is locked in a bitter power struggle with Murphy. Sweeney says the state must cut spending and meet its existing financial obligations without again raising taxes, while Murphy is pushing for expansion of programs to help lower income residents.

Murphy contends New Jersey taxpayers won’t mind paying more if they feel they are getting their money’s worth in state services. He’s promised a one-time property tax relief program if the legislature approves a permanent millionaires’ tax, a move Sweeney opposes. The two must agree on a state budget by July 1 or face the possibility of a shutdown of state government services.

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NJ Politics Digest: Legislature Reportedly Prepared to Override Murphy’s Veto