Three separate but equal branches of government can sometimes be a bit a burden. Especially when you vow to “turn Trenton upside down.”
Turns out, one cannot govern exclusively through executive order, which is why it hasn’t been done before. Apparently, Christie can freeze funds in the state budget using his executive authority. But when it comes to actually moving those funds to plug a hole…well, only the legislature has the authority to do that. And they must run it through JBOC ( yes, I learned a new acronym today ).
JBOC ( not to be confused with JWOWW from the Jersey Shore ) stands for Joint Budget Oversight Committee. There are six members, 2 Dems and 1 Repub from each house. OLS can approve some non-policy related transfer of funds, but when it comes to moving money between departments or categories JBOC is your man.
I’m told the chatter about whether Christie had the authority to do what he did last Thursday has been growing louder in governmental circles over the last several days. Yesterday, Christie staff met with legislative staff in an afternoon meeting to “sheepishly” admit that they do in fact need the legislature to enact some of their mid-year cuts.
So, the long and short of it is this – just when the Democratic legislators thought they were the incredible shrinking authority, they discover that they still very much have a seat at the table.