STATE – Citing the need for fiscal responsibility, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed three Democrat-initiated spending bills on Friday. The governor shot down a homebuyer’s tax credit bill, and proposals to restore funding for the FamilyCare program and women’s health and family planning services.
In vetoing the bills, Christie noted that the bills add $132 million in state spending that was not accounted for in this year’s budget. The governor wrote in his veto message, “state spending has been reset to levels the taxpayers can afford and supplemental spending that would return to the unchecked spending and out of control budget shortfalls of the past will not make it past the Governor’s desk.”
Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex) said, “These bills are vitally important to women’s health care, children, our economy and working class New Jerseyans…. I expect to work with the Senate to put these bills back up for veto overrides.”
State Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean didn’t think that Democrats would have much luck overriding the vetoes. “Many Republican members consider these priorities worthy of support. However, to fund them now would knock our budget out of balance,” he said.
“Should Senate President Sweeney determine the need to call another vote on these measures, there will not be enough support to spend money we do not have,” said Kean (R-Union.) “It is now time to move forward with substantive committee hearings and a timely up or down vote on the property tax relief tool kit.”
State Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlsex) said, “Governor Christie’s veto and his continuing disregard for the well-being of tens of thousands of working parents, places their health and lives in jeopardy.”
“I’m at least encouraged by the fact that women’s health funding was approved with a bipartisan, veto-proof majority,” he added. “I’m hoping to work with the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers who understand the importance of health care access to hopefully reverse these short-sighted vetoes through a legislative override.”
“The homebuyer’s tax credit program would have reinvigorated the building industry and provided a much-needed boost to the state’s slumping economy,” said State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. “This action … will only exacerbate our economic problems. It is beyond disappointing.”
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