NJ lawmakers approve state budget

The New Jersey Assembly has passed a $28.3 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Federal stimulus funds push the total budget for the upcoming fiscal year to $29.4 billion.

The Democratic-controlled Assembly supplied the eight votes needed for Gov. Chris Christie's first budget to pass. All 33 Republicans supported the budget, and it passed 41-37. The Senate passed the budget 21-19.

Gov. Christie made a statement after the budget passed saying, "I am proud that after working with the Legislature, we were able to fulfill our commitment to New Jerseyans not to raise taxes, while still closing an unprecedented $11 billion budget gap and protecting our most vulnerable citizens."

The bare-bones budget cuts $820 million in aid to schools, suspends property tax rebates and trims programs and services for students and the poor.

The Legislature also approved a supporting bill that raises $80 million by allowing the state to claim revenue from retailers for unused gift cards.

The Senate earlier Monday passed a bill restoring $7.5 million to fund 58 family planning centers around the state by a veto-proof majority.

Christie is scheduled to sign the bill this afternoon in South River.

Related Stories:

GOP opposition delays NJ budget vote NJ Senate committee passes budget bill Work remains on fragile NJ budget deal Tentative deal reached over NJ budget Court upholds NJ governor's 2010 school cuts Thousands rally in NJ against budget cuts NJ voters reject majority of school budgets NJ gov talks up tough-love budget

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