Sweeney, Prieto to Christie: School Funding First, then We’ll Do the Budget

The constitutional deadline for a new state budget is now less than two weeks away, but Democratic legislative leaders say they won’t introduce a spending bill until they sit down with Gov. Chris Christie at the negotiating table to discuss their new plan to revise the state’s school-funding formula.

Both Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Assembly Speaker Vince Prieto (D-Hudson) made their unified position on the fiscal year 2018 spending plan clear during separate interviews yesterday, saying they aren’t willing to send the Republican governor a budget bill and then helplessly watch him make changes to it using the line-item veto.

Instead, Sweeney and Prieto say they will first see if Christie wants to negotiate any tweaks to their school-aid proposal which would increase education funding by $125 million, among other changes, all in an effort to find common ground that all three leaders can accept on a bipartisan basis.

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