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

Murphy: I’m glad Sweeney got re-elected

Governor and Senate President locked in heated budget battle

By Nikita Biryukov, June 20 2018 3:15 pm

Senate President Steve Sweeney and Gov. Phil Murphy have disagreed on a lot of things lately, but their latest disagreement is perhaps the most perverse – they can’t seem to see eye to eye on whether or not the governor is glad Sweeney won reelection last year.

“He also said I wasn’t happy he got elected,” Murphy said of Sweeney at a budget press conference on Wednesday. “I don’t know how he can read my mind. I’m very happy he got elected, by the way. Let me get that off my chest.”

The two Democrats have been at odds over how to best raise revenues for this year’s budget, with Murphy favoring hikes to the sales tax and state income tax for high-earners while Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin prefer temporary increases to the corporation business tax, which would fade out after two years.

The legislature passed its version of the budget on Tuesday, and Murphy said on Thursday that, though he and his staff haven’t had the opportunity to look through the entirety of its contents, he doesn’t plan a reversal on his promise to veto that bill once it reaches his desk.

But, both frequently point to the legislative accomplishments they made before budget season began its full swing.

Despite the tensions, those call backs made Sweeney’s statements on his reelection, made during a press gaggle on Tuesday, somewhat surprising.

“I think that it wasn’t a happy day when I got reelected, for him, in his mind,” Sweeney said, referring to the governor.

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