We have a budget -- and a rumble

Gov. Christie line-item vetoed the Democrats' budget last week, allowing the government to continue operating and your Fourth of July plans to continue unabated. Read our coverage of the cuts, and the politics behind the move.

However, the fight may have just begun.

First, some context. The Christie cuts are deep, and affect Camden pretty significantly: 

When poor people are unjustly evicted from their Camden homes, fewer lawyers will be available to take their cases. When students at Camden's Catto Community School finish class at 3 p.m., the after-school program they used to attend is unlikely to exist. When tourists visit the Battleship New Jersey on the Camden waterfront, they can't be sure the gates will be open. 

(The rest of my story in today's paper is here.)

So now, because of these cuts and many more, the Democrats are taking it personally. Star-Ledger columnist Tom Moran quoted Democratic State Senate President Steve Sweeney today calling Christie a "bully," "punk" and "a rotten prick." He said the gov is a "mean old bastard who screws everybody." 

"I want to punch him in his head," Sweeney said.

After going against his own party and his own base to side with the Republican Christie on historic pension and health benefits reform just a couple of weeks ago, Sweeney feels like he was betrayed when the governor refused to even talk to him about the budget. Christie got vindictive, the Democrat charges, even slashing Senate and Assembly staff salaries, for example, without cutting his own staff's budget. More Sweeney:

"I liken it to being spoiled. He was angry because he wanted a mutual budget. But do you hurt people because of that? Do you take $8 million in AIDS funding away? Legal services is drowning as it is, and you take away another $5 million? I’m just so angry that he hurt people like this to prove a point. He is a cruel man."