Rutgers-Rowan vote postponed amid Democratic insurgency

Click here for the full story in Friday's paper on the Democratic insurgency and Democratic budget proposal.

Amid a hectic day of haggling over the budget at the Statehouse, the planned vote on the biggest restructuring of higher education in a half-century has been postponed until next week, Senate President Stephen Sweeney said moments ago.

My colleague, James Osborne, reports that Sweeney attributed the delay on today's scheduled Senate vote to last-minute amendments to the plan. "We're not going to rush this thing," he said. 

But there's an insurgency among Democrats in the Assembly. Led by Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, who was ousted last year from Assembly leadership, these insurgent Democrats want a vote postponed on Rutgers-Rowan until after the November election. Otherwise, they won't support the Democrats' budget proposal. The insurgent votes are needed to pass a budget by mandated date of June 30, Cryan said. 

No Assembly committee has even had a hearing on the higher-education bill yet.

"This legislation is three weeks old and is going to be the biggest change in higher education since the Rutgers Act of 1956," he said. "We need a full understanding of the implications of this bill."

Sweeney wouldn't talk about that. But in the Senate, he said, "I have my people lined up." The vote, he said, will be Monday.

The story about the reorganization of higher education -- which would involve Rutgers-Camden entering into a new relationship with Rowan University while cutting most ties with the mother ship -- changes by the day.

Last week, no one seemed to know how much this whole plan would cost. On Monday, it was said to cost no more than $40 million. And today, I reported that a cost analysis from the Christie administration says the merger will actually save money. (Christie supports the plan). 

So stay tuned. This is changing by the minute.