The New Jersey Assembly yesterday passed a $14.7 billion fiscal 1992 budget, hoping to avert thousands of layoffs required under a budget proposed by Gov. Jim Florio.
The Assembly, voting 43 to 36 in a party-line vote, approved a spending plan that is almost $400 million larger than the governor's alternative proposal, but still purports to avert the need for the governor's proposed layoffs.
Gov. Florio, who has been meeting with legislative leaders over the past several days to negotiate a budget, has said he is concerned the Assembly plan overestimates next year's revenues and might therefore jeopardize New Jersey's triple-A credit rating.
The state Senate was expected to introduce its own budget plan last night, with final votes scheduled for the weekend. State law requires a budget be in place by Monday.
Legislative sources say the Senate proposal would be closer to Gov. Florio's plan, and layoffs and forced furloughs would therefore be necessary.
The Assembly plan uses revenue estimates supplied by the Office of Legislative Services. Gov. Florio's estimates are about $100 million lower, and he has urged lawmakers to use his more conservative figures to maintain a safety cushion. The governor has also warned that some of the additional cuts the Assembly is proposing would be impossible to implement.