Thursday, July 1, 2010


This afternoon, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he would compromise on his plan to amend the constitution to impose a 2.5% hard cap on property tax increases. He said he'll accept a statutory cap if it is strict and allows for few exemptions.

The fact that Christie is compromising on this issue is surprising, but almost everything about this day at the State House in Trenton was surprising.

This morning, Democratic State Senate President Steve Sweeney said colleagues from his party in the Upper House would not be attending Christie's address. Republican Senators still planned to be in the Assembly chambers for the Governor's speech, but Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said she wouldn't let them in. She said if the Senate President would be conducting business in the Senate chamber that's where all Senators should be.

Republican Assembly members planned to carry chairs up to their chamber before the Governor began his remarks. The idea was to have GOP Senators follow the chair-holding Assembly members from their districts into the chamber and dare the Speaker to kick them out. That never happened because just before his scheduled 3pm speech, Christie told Sweeney he would be offering a compromise and Sweeney agreed that all Senators would attend the address.

On the floor of the Assembly prior to the speech the executive director of the Assembly Democratic Office and the executive director of the Republican Assembly Office got into a shouting match over which non-legislators should be allowed in.

The weirdness will likely continue. Christie has called the legislature in again tomorrow and Saturday for two more days of special sessions. He's threatening to call them in every day until they deliver to him a cap bill he can accept. The trouble is; Democrats might not all show up.

Sweeney says his caucus fulfilled it's constitutional obligation by showing up today. He adds, "The Governor can call us in every day if he wants. That's not required for us to do nor are we doing it."

Christie's spokeman says, "We would hate to see it come to a point where we would have to contact the State Attorney General to have her enforce the Governor's perogative under the State Constitution to summon the full legislature at his request."

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