The Senate and Assembly have now passed the budget. Rather than at the last minute or actually stopping the clock as has happened in the past, the budget is ready for the Governor four days (or five days if you count Saturday) before the June 30 constitutional midnight deadline. Was it a bad idea to leave so much time for the Governor to bluster and threaten, or a good idea to allow necessary time for negotiation?
There might not be much basis for negotiation as the budget has about 90% of what the governor wanted. Even Christie's much desired tax reduction of $180 million, in the form of property tax relief, is included. It is subject to the Governor achieving all or much of his tax revenue forecast in the forthcoming months. And when even the Treasury Secretary forecasts a revenue shortfall of over $700 million it would seem to make sense to hold back and see whether we can afford the relief.
It is ironic that Democrats now appear more fiscally responsible than either the Republicans or Christie. Rather than increase the Governor's budget as the Democratic legislators did last year, they are actually reducing the budget by some $400 million from what the Governor requested. Who would have thunk it?
So what will the governor do next?
Line item veto some budget expenditures added by the legislature such as full restitution of EITC, added nursing pay, etc?
Offer to agree with the legislators' added items as long as they give him $180 million for property tax relief now?
Threaten to line item veto other items that he thinks might force the Democrats to negotiate?
Conditionally veto the budget bill subject to the $180 Million being made available now?
Refuse to budge if he doesn't get his $180 million immediately and close down the government?
Bully and make wild threats?
Complain and whine but by June 30 swallow his medicine and shut up?
Agree to sign the millionaire's surcharge bill (separate from the budget bill) if he gets his $180 million?
Or something else? Tell us what you think Governor Christie will do. And possibly how you think Democrats should respond.