On February 25th Governor Christie presented his new state budget plan to the legislature, which under the constitution has until June 30th to pass a final version and present it to the Governor for his signature.
The Governor’s budget proposes to spend $34.4 billion, an increase from last year’s budget of $1.46 billion (4.4% increase). Unfortunately the proposed budget does not include the 10% income tax cut that the Governor had hoped that it would, due to other pressing obligations. Nearly all new spending in the budget, 94%, is going to pension and health-care benefits for public workers and debt payments, which made it difficult to push for a tax cut.
Some key points from the Governor’s proposal include the following:
- Largest payment in history to the State's pension fund at $2.25 billion;
- The state’s Medicaid program would get $200 million more;
- New Jersey Schools would get $9 billion in direct state aid; and
New Jersey's hospitals will receive $985 million in support.
Issue Update: Legislation Proposes to Require Employers to Provide Earned Sick Leave
Upcoming 2013 Election Dates/Analysis
At the top of this year's ballot was a gubernatorial election between incumbent Republican Governor Chris Christie and Democratic challenger Senator Barbara Buono. Earning 60% of the vote, Governor Christie defeated Senator Buono by 22 points (60% to 38%) yesterday and was elected to a second and final four-year term in office.
Moving down ballot, this year's elections also featured legislative races where all 120 members of the State Legislature were up for reelection. Democrats will retain a majority in the State Senate and General Assembly for the 216th New Jersey Legislature, which begins in January. Democrats' majority in the State Senate will remain 24-16, and at this time, it appears their majority in the General Assembly will decrease by two seats to 46-34. Republicans have gained one seat in Legislative District 1, and it looks like Republicans will pick up a seat in Legislative District 38.
Mayoral elections were also held Atlantic City, Camden and Hoboken, among other municipalities. In Atlantic City, incumbent Democratic Mayor Lorenzo Langford was defeated by Republican challenger Don Guardian. Camden and Hoboken both reelected their incumbent mayors, Dana Redd and Dawn Zimmer, respectively.
New Jersey residents also voted on a constitutional amendment to set a state minimum wage with an annual cost of living increase; the measure was approved 61% to 39%.
Click here to see how the 40 legislative districts will look for the 216th New Jersey Legislature; the district's Senator is listed first, followed by the two Assembly-members. (* denotes an incumbent who won reelection)
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