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Budget Business as Usual: Christie Line-Item Vetoes $1.6B from Dems' Plan

Governor volunteers one giveback, no-strings-attached offer to raise Earned Income Tax Credit to 30 percent, helping NJ’s lowest-paid workers

christie signs budget
Credit: Governor's Office/Tim Larsen

Gov. Chris Christie announced this morning that he used his line-item veto to cut about $1.6 billion in spending from the $35.3 billion budget the Democrats sent him late yesterday.

But he also offered the Democrats, who control the Legislature, an unexpected concession to their longstanding efforts to increase a tax credit for the state’s low-wage workers.

Removed from the Democrats’ spending plan was more than $1 billion for the public-employee pension system that they had added to their own version of the budget earlier in the week.

The roughly $34 billion budget will now go into effect for the fiscal year that begins Wednesday

Christie, during a news conference held in his outer office in the State House, said he left a $1.3 billion contribution to the pension system. He said he also used veto powers to reject the Democrats’ efforts to hike taxes on corporate earnings and personal income over $1 million. Those two proposals were put forward by the Democrats to help raise the additional money they sought to put into the state’s chronically underfunded pension system.

“We’ve line-item vetoed over $1.6 billion in spending out of this year’s budget,” Christie said. “Once again the Legislature overspent.”

But the Republican expected to announce next week that he is running for president also offered Democrats an olive branch in the form a conditional veto that’s connected to their millionaire’s tax bill. That legislation also sought to restore Christie’s 2010 reduction of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which goes to the state’s lowest-wage earners, from 20 percent back to 25 percent of the federal version of the credit.

Christie said the conditional veto goes a step further, offering to boost it to 30 percent of the federal credit with no strings attached. Lawmakers can now increase the credit simply by voting to concur with Christie’s action.

This is something that those families need now more than ever,” Christie said.

Here are links to Christie’s actions today on the budget and the other bills, including the conditional veto of the millionaire’s tax bill:

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