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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The budget scramble

Here we are only three days before the deadline for the Legislature to craft a new state budget that the governor feels he can sign. Are the parties close? Of course not. This is New Jersey, where the people in Trenton do precious little to earn the public's respect but do offer all sorts of fodder for late-night comedy routines.

One thing you can expect: It'll be a late night for the legislators Friday and probably well into Saturday as they "stop the clock'' to work on the budget without violating the state constitution's July 1 mandate. A photo of lawmakers yawning or snoozing, maybe even with pillow at hand, is a sure-shot.

Most of the decisions and horse-trading will be made at the last moment. Is this any way to run a state that's a $30 billion corporation and serves 8 million people? Gov. Corzine had to know what he was getting into when he traded his U.S. Senate seat for the governor's office. Or did he?

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