Senate President Sweeney Addresses NJ's Hot Button Topics
For this special edition of State of Affairs, Steve Adubato and New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney discuss the most pressing issues facing New Jersey lawmakers today, including the public employee pension crisis, the school funding formula, the millionaire’s tax, and legalizing marijuana.
"Welcome to State of Affairs. I'm Steve Adubato. And we are coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio in Newark. And we're honored to have the President of the New Jersey State Senate, Steve Sweeney. Good to see you Mr. President. It's great to see you again Steve. And looking forward to a full... by the way, it's a full half hour with the Senate President, we'll cover a range of issues, by the way, having fun down there in the Statehouse these days? Budget time's never fun. It's... and it never seems to be different Steve. Since I've been in the Legislature, every year I've been there, we've been broke. So it's a challenge to try to provide for programs that are important. And you know, it's always a challenge. But I always have fun personally. You know that. You do. And you don't take it personally. But I'm curious about this. The budget process, people might say, who don't understand or follow, it's not their job to follow the arcane process of legislative activities or budget activities. Oh, so what's this thing about the end, the last day of June? The budget has to be struck, and if it's not struck, and if it's not... have agreed to by the Legislature and the Governor, the state shuts down. Which has happened before. That's not just a hypothetical. What really does take place? Without telling us what you can't tell us, what really is going to take place between you, the Governor, and the Speaker of the Assembly, Craig Coughlin, who will be joining us soon, and others? Well our goal is to get the budget done early Steve. I actually... after Jon Corzine's administration shut the budget down one year, I asked... you know, all the leaders, and I wasn't in the leadership, and I said, "Do we have to wait til...?" You were not the President? No. And I had just become the Majority Leader, and I said, "Do we have to wait til June 30th to pass a budget?" And they said, "No." I said, "Then why do we wait til the last day?" And for seven years with Christie, we got the budgets done early. In fact, the press hated it because there was no drama. You know what I mean? Like the middle of June, we were passing the budget, well, you know, last year, we had to shut it down, because the Governor, and I, and the Speaker, we were all in a different place. So the goal is for the speaker, and I, and the Governor, to come to an agreement on the..."