BUSINESS REPORT

Budget bill clears another key committee, final votes set for next week

BY Rhonda Schaffler, Correspondent |

The Senate Budget Committee has approved a supplemental spending bill to fund the state for another three months, starting on July 1. Like the budget proposed by the Murphy administration, the legislative spending bill doesn’t include any tax increases. But some tough decisions were made regarding spending cuts as the state struggles with declining revenue. The $7.7 billion bill heads for a full legislative vote next week.

Meantime, New Jersey Policy Perspective has criticized the budget process saying the legislative spending bill was written in secret with zero public hearings.

Some Republican lawmakers say the Murphy administration should do more to deal with the state’s expected revenue shortfall. This week, the administration reached a preliminary agreement with state workers to avert mass layoffs. But State Sen. Steven Oroho says the agreement with workers doesn’t go far enough because it only delays salary increases. He says the governor should impose a wage freeze on state workers.

The summer travel season is going to look a lot different this year. A new survey by AAA shows that people still want to travel, but a whopping 97% said they plan to only travel by car. And for the first time since the Great Recession, overall travel is expected to decline.