Top Republican says N.J. shutdown hinges on Dems deciding which taxes to raise

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey might be headed for a second straight shutdown in a row.

Democrat Governor Phil Murphy signaled on Monday that he would indeed shut down the government if legislative Democrats didn’t give him the tax hikes he wanted; Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick joined Assemblyman John DiMaio, the Republican budget officer, to opine on the craziness of the current dynamic.

“Only in Trenton do you see a shutdown in government because the Democrats cannot decide which taxes to raise,” said Bramnick at a press availability.  “They are shutting down government because this governor is not communicating with the Democratic or Republican leadership.  This is not a dictatorship.  With all due respect to the governor, his inexperience is showing in this budget fight.”

“The amazing thing is not one word on reforms,” added Bramnick.  “Where is the discussion on pension and health benefit reform?”

The situation was further complicated when a source told the New Jersey Globe that former Governor Chris Christie is working with Senate Democrats to hammer out an alternative to Murphy’s budget proposals.

Christie and Sweeney went to war, together, against Assembly Democrats in June-July 2017 over an attempted raid on insurance giant Horizon’s reserves resulting in a brief but dramatic statewide government shutdown.