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7-11-11 State Street Wire reports on Senate Override Effort through this afternoon

Politickernj.com-State Street Wire - Senate to vote on balance of overrides Tuesday, with surplus still in dispute

By Timothy J. Carroll | July 11th, 2011 - 3:59pm

TRENTON – State Sen. Steve Sweeney, (D-3), West Deptford, said the Democrats will resume their veto override attempts Tuesday at 10 a.m. Asked if it was a waste of time to continue the votes given Republican are not willing to support the budget restorations, he said, “You gotta try.”

Also responding to the override votes from today, a group of Republican senators said the politically-motivated votes are misleading to the public.

“I really think that the Senate majority hoodwinked the people today,” state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, (R-13), Monmouth, said. “They are not telling the truth (about) the state of affairs with New Jersey.”

Sweeney sat with state Sens. Richard Codey, (D-27), Roseland, and Linda Greenstein, (D-14), Plainsboro, after the Senate override session today and said of Republican Gov. Chris Christie, although on vacation in the Midwest, “the effects and the control that he has reaches great distance.”

Sweeney quoted GOP state Sen. Tony Bucco, (R-25), Boonton, from earlier today, although not naming him outright: “‘No one really gets hurt by this budget.’ That’s outrageous that someone could make that kind of a claim…You’d think at times that people would be able to vote their conscience.”

Sweeney said the front office is changing its surplus numbers to help paint a picture in its favor, moving the number from $640 million to $365 million.

Codey called it “more spinning than a washing machine.”

In their own press conference, Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr., (R-21), Westfield, said that, just in today’s override votes, the Democrats would have obliterated the surplus. He price-tagged their restorations at $377 million, although the Democrats disagreed with that figure.

Republican state Sen. Kevin O’Toole, (R-40), Cedar Grove, said that whenever the minority tried to discuss surplus projections during proceedings today, they were gaveled down by Sweeney for mentioning “the S word.”

“They’ve already spent our surplus, then some,” O’Toole said.

Bucco, who was also present at the GOP press conference, added, “(The Democrats) criticized us in the past that our surplus was too low.” Now they want to spend it all, he said.

But after the Senate session, Sweeney said, “No one was trying to go forward without having (any) surplus… They don’t even know what their surplus is.”

He added, “It’s $60 million they could have spent today, not $600 million…All of the sudden the surplus shrinks…There wasn’t no asterisks.” He also said, “Don’t be surprised when you see a billion-plus surplus next year,” that Christie will offer up for tax relief.

Sweeney said Christie has “signaled that they had a willingness to restore” transitional aid to cities. Tuesday the Senate will take a vote on the funding, but if it fails, Sweeney said, “We’ll bring this back up again.”

“Camden is burning…there’s murder in Newark,” he said. “These are cities in great need…It’s just a very bad situation. And you can’t tax your way out if it.”

Asked how the Democrats would prioritize their list of restorations if Christie was willing to engage in discussions, Codey said the majority may not leave any one item behind, but rather try to compromise on a lower amount of money for the list of funding restorations.

A complete list of today’s failed veto override attempts:

SCR200: Wynona Lipman Child Advocacy Center, Essex County: $537,000;

SCR201: General Assistance: $19.6 million;

SCR202: Medicaid Waiver restrictions;

SCR205: Services to Blind and Visually Impaired: $1.5 million;

SCR210: Family Planning Services: $7.5 million;

SCR215: AIDS Drug Distribution Program: $7 million;

SCR220: Clinical Legal Programs for the Poor - Seton Hall University: $200,000;

SCR221: Clinical Legal Programs for the Poor - Camden Law School: $200,000;

SCR222: Clinical Legal Programs for the Poor - Newark Law School: $200,000;

SCR230: Governor's Council on Mental Health Stigma: $50,000;

SCR231: Court Appointed Special Advocates: $289,000;

SCR232: Postpartum Education Campaign: $450,000;

SCR234: Medical Prescription (dual eligibles): $13 million;

SCR235: Legal Services: $10 million;

SCR237: Mental Health Services Salaries and Wages: $9 million.


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608