Gov. Phil Murphy will sign the budget lawmakers sent to his desk yesterday without striking any line items, he announced Friday.
“I will break with tradition and say that I will be signing the budget as is,” Murphy said at Friday’s COVID-19 briefing.
The governor said he intends to sign the spending bill early next week. That’s most likely to come after the Emergency COVID-19 Borrowing Commission approves $4.5 billion in bonds sought to shore up the state’s finances following a virus-fueled fiscal tumble on Monday.
Murphy’s intent to sign the bill without any alterations is likely to draw criticism from Republicans over millions spent “Christmas-tree items,” including $4 million for a youth golf program in Essex County.
Criticism would have come anyway. Republicans have hammered Murphy and their Democratic counterparts in the legislature over the millionaire’s tax, borrowing and other provisions in the budget.
But with one of his most prominent and fervently sought-after campaign promises just days away from being fulfilled, Murphy did not appear concerned about Republican backlash to the nine-month budget.
“I want to repeat my thanks to our legislative colleagues — the senate president, the speaker, both budget chairs. The spirit of teamwork, the spirit of trying to find common ground in the midst of this pandemic was outstanding,” he said.