Ok, so here is the bill we have been told to watch – A4048.
Yes, I know that is state house-speak, but critics both on and off the record are calling it Christmas Tree Redux.
In essence, the bill is being touted by the Democrats as an economic stimulus…”stimulus 2-point-nine” is the catch phrase. It creates public-private partnerships and gives tax breaks for affordable housing and local investment.
But here is the alleged shcandal. It passed the Assembly Budget Committee Monday night ( after our cameras stopped rolling ). It passed along with the entire budget – which also passed the Senate Budget Committee. However A4048 did not pass the Senate and some are claiming that more will keep being added to the bill as way to dole out favors to lawmakers and cajole them into voting for the budget when it is taken up by the full houses on Thursday.
Why is this necessary? Well, the Democratic majority is pretty solid in the Assembly where 41 votes are needed ( all Republicans are opposed to this budget in both houses ). But the Senate has 23 Democrats and 21 votes are needed for passage. Since Jeff van Drew is unlikely to vote for the budget, and Senator Vitale and some others have also expressed reservations, that leaves very little margin for error.
Jeff Tittel from the Better Choices campaign claims 4048 is the new Christmas Tree item bill. Some republicans also say that, although off the record.