Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald thinks handwringing about the possibility of a government shutdown caused by conflicts between Gov. Phil Murphy and leaders in the legislature is unjustified.
“I think a lot of this is blown out of proportion, and at the end of the day, these conversations are all around public policy,” Greenwald said. “And I think this just proves the point that we’ve said time and time again: Personalities may have differences, but as Democrats, we support a lot of the same public policies.”
While Murphy and his counterparts in the legislature align on a number of policies, that isn’t the case universally.
For instance, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin oppose the tax on millionaire’s sought by Murphy.
The impasse over the tax on high earners is likely to prove this year’s most contentious budget issue, but despite fights over outside issues, Trenton’s lawmakers have largely avoided the budget infighting that ran last year’s negotiations.
Coughlin on Monday told members of his caucus that legislative leaders aimed to introduce their budget on June 17.
The budget deadline is 17 days away, but, unlike last year, Murphy and legislative leaders have not held dueling press conferences, and, despite a recent flare-up over a dark money disclosure bill, the two sides are still talking.
Murphy’s even avoided making any veto pledges this time around.
“This budget that we’re promoting, that the governor’s introduced, will fully fund the pension, does the next phase-in for public education, has increased funding on Medicaid dollars for some of our most vulnerable,” Greenwald said. “It’s a budget that shares all of our common principles.”
Greenwald showed his confidence when asked to rate the chances of a shutdown on a 1-10 scale.
“Zero,” he said.