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Gov. Phil Murphy. Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe

Murphy tone soft as budget deadline nears

Governor still not ruling anything out

By Nikita Biryukov, June 25 2019 3:03 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy isn’t adopting a combative stance as the state enters last days before its budget deadline.

“Let me just say clearly, they met their constitutional responsibility by giving me a budget,” Murphy said, referring to the state’s legislators. “I’m the governor. I now have the responsibility, with the budget on my desk to determine how this goes forward.”

There’s been no indication that Murphy has decided how he’ll deal with the budget lawmakers sent to his desk on Thursday.

The governor has repeatedly declined to say whether he would veto the budget, outright or via a line-item veto, and has provided no information on when any action might come.

He repeated his trademark non-answer when asked about the possibility of a shutdown at Tuesday’s budget press conference.

“Don’t get mad at me. Nothing new to add,” Murphy told reporters. “We’re looking at all options.”

Since lawmakers sent their budget to Murphy’s desk last week, the governor has praised them for funding most of his policy priorities, offering comparatively mild criticism for cuts made to his tuition-free community college program.

He’s shown a bit more bite over the schism between the two camps on the revenue side.

The legislative budget does not include a millionaire’s tax and eschews other tax hikes sought by Murphy, including a fee on opioid manufacturers Murphy pushed at today’s presser.

“The legislature sent us a budget back that includes the overwhelming amount of the funding of the programs that we care about,” Murphy said. “I cannot say that more strongly, and that means a lot.”

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