As the state heads toward a budget showdown and another government shutdown, there’s a new problem for Governor Phil Murphy: several sources said tonight that rank-and-file Democrats in the New Jersey State Assembly are becoming increasingly frustrated by Murphy’s unwillingness to negotiate a budget deal with the Legislature. A group of legislators who are not part of Speaker Craig Coughlin’s leadership team are saying that they feel that Murphy is disrespecting the Legislature by his refusal to negotiate.
NJ Advance Media was first to report on Friday that a meeting between Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney, and Coughlin last just 13 minutes; the New Jersey Globe was told that the meeting went for 11 minutes – either way, it was short. Sources say that Sweeney and Coughlin asked the governor which part of his budget can be negotiated and what part can Murphy live without. “Nothing,” Murphy told the legislative leaders, sources said, suggesting that the take it or leave it negotiating strategy will create a couple of interesting weeks.