New Jersey legislators hammered at the details on July 7 for enacting a new state budget and ending a week-long shutdown of government services that has closed the state's casino industry and idled 128 highway construction jobs worth $1.5 billion. Gov. Jon S. Corzine (D) and legislative leaders reached a compromise on the major principles for a new 1% sales tax, to 7%, and property tax relief plan late in the day on July 6. The disputed terms had blocked passage of the state's fiscal '07 budget, causing it to miss the June 30 deadline for the first time. Corzine responded a week ago by suspending all but emergency state services. Those suspensions included resident engineers and others involved in construction oversight on Dept. of Transportation jobs.
"Once a bill incorporating these principles has passed both houses, we can begin the orderly process of reopening all facets of government and the private sector that have been unfortunately forced to shutter," said Corzine in remarks released Thursday night. "I expect that to occur within the next 24 to 36 hours." A spokesman for the office of legislative services said on Friday, ³the Legislature is meeting today. There should be a solution by this evening.² He says staffers worked through Thursday night revising the budget and printing "thousands of copies," but added that the originating assembly budget committee has not yet indicated when it will meet to vote on the revised measure.
"The state will be back functioning, I am sure, on Monday," the spokesman says.