Like it or not, Bergen’s blue laws will remain, as part of a budget compromise between Gov. Chris Christie and the state Legislature.
The governor said that he believed opening the county’s retail stores for shopping on Sunday would fetch more than $50 million in additional revenue. But opponents said that would be offset by having to go with fully-staffed shifts for police, fire and other emergency personnel.
So the state will have to look elsewhere for that money.
So will school districts: The deal keeps in place some of the biggest cuts, including $820 million whacked from school district aid.
Committee meetings and legislative votes will follow, with a final vote next Monday, two days before the deadline for a balanced budget, the lawmakers said.
“The budget we will introduce is far from perfect and will still be a tough sell among Democratic lawmakers, but the governor should be commended for working with us to take the sting our of some of its most harmful cuts,” Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said in a statement. “Most importantly, this budget will be signed on-time, and all the rumors of a shutdown will remain just that.”
Earlier today, Christie conceded “common-sense compromises” and promised to be “ready with my pen whenever they pass a budget that sticks with” his blueprint to “close an $11 billion budget gap without tax increases.”
FYI: Today’s deal doesn’t include a tax increase on millionaires — considered a possible source of tax rebates for the elderly and disabled. Christie said he’s determined not to raise any New Jerseyan’s taxes this year.