Talks Now Underway Over NJ’s Proposed $35.5 Billion Budget

TRENTON, NJ (CBS) — With little more than a week before the June 30th deadline, talks continue over a new budget for the state of New Jersey. Three main issues seem to be on the table.

It’s coming down to more money for schools, drug treatment and pensions and how to make that all work.

Democrats in the legislature are pushing hard to get additional funds to school districts shortchanged by an ongoing funding formula problem. Governor Chris Christie is looking to wrestle millions from Horizon Blue Cross as part of reform legislation. And the pension crisis has prompted 11 credit rating downgrades on Wall Street.

Senate President Steve Sweeney, in Salem County Wednesday, spoke with KYW Newsradio about the meetings now underway.

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“The Governor’s come to the table with an open mind and we’re talking and we’re negotiating and that’s a good thing,” Sweeney said.

Christie, likewise, wouldn’t get into specifics very much.

“We talked about the budget and a lot of different aspects of the budget, including the additional 320 million dollars in spending that they want to add on to the budget.,” the Governor told reporters during a press conference in Trenton.

Sweeney has said he won’t allow a state budget to pass without serious short term changes to school district funding. Christie has reminded people that he’s not up for re-election in the fall, but legislators are.

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