Democrats, Christie continue budget battle in Trenton as deadline nears
TRENTON - State Democrats are still at odds with Gov. Chris Christie as they work toward having a balanced budget in place by the end of June.
As of Tuesday, they have yet to strike a deal, which means the veto pen could be looming.
Christie and the state's two highest ranking Democrats shook hands at an afternoon news conference, but during budget season things change minute to minute.
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"We're working together to provide a balanced budget that meets our financial obligations," says Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney. "Christie's gonna do what he's gonna do at the end of the day."
With only a week left to sort out the state's finances for the next fiscal year, Democrats say they're going to send the governor their version of a budget that will include a tax on the state's top earners.
"This millionaires tax is first and foremost a significant tax increase on the small businesses that make up our state," says Melanie Willoughby, acting president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association. "Millions of New Jerseyans count on these businesses for these jobs."
Democrats hope to have their budget passed by Thursday, which would give the governor four days to decide what to cut out.
The Democrats want to use the tax increase to help pay for a full pension payment.
Christie recently announced plans to cut the next two pension payments, something worker unions are suing him over.