CAMDEN – While some might take threats of shutting down the state government as a sign of a schism between State Senate President Steve Sweeney and Gov. Phil Murphy, Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden) doesn’t see the friction as much more than growing pains.
“I don’t see it as a split,” Norcross said Tuesday morning. “You have two very different perspectives on how state is run. Steve has been immersed in state affairs for over a decade. He knows the nuances in and out. You have a brand-new governor coming in who has some great visions for New Jersey. It’s a matter of aligning those principals together.”
Murphy and Sweeney have been at odds in the last few weeks of budget negotiations. Tensions between the two New Jersey Democrats are approaching a fever pitch, with both Murphy and Sweeney posturing for a government shutdown.
At a press conference on Thursday where Sweeney unveiled a new school funding formula, he said he was willing to shut the government down over the issue last year and was ready to do so again.
For his part, Murphy on Friday ordered state agencies prepare for a government shutdown and ordered a freeze to hiring and discretionary spending.
Murphy’s order followed a heated meeting between top aides from the two camps.
There’re still several weeks until a budget is due, meaning there’s still time for the Democratic governor to pull together with the leaders of the Democratic legislature, but they haven’t done so yet.
For Norcross, it’s just a matter of time.
“I think with any new incoming candidate who then becomes the official, it takes time to feel those things out,” Norcross said.
Norcross is seeking re-election to a fourth term in Congress. He face minor opposition in the Democratic primary from Robert Lee Carlson and Scot John Tomaszewski, and will face Republican Paul Dilks in the fall.