Gov. Chris Christie signed the state budget after the drama of the holiday weekend government shutdown and “Beachgate.” And while Democrats were pleased with the final document, the governor still used his red pen to veto a number of items, some of which affect the state’s most vulnerable citizens.
Among the items Christie vetoed was one that would have restored “Heat and Eat” benefits that attach certain federal nutritional benefits to state heating assistance. When the federal government changed aspects of the program in 2014, most eligible states changed their own rules to ensure the continuation of crucial benefits but New Jersey did not do so. As a result, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits have been cut by an average of $90 per month for an estimated 160,000 New Jersey households, according to the New Jersey Policy Perspective, a progressive think tank.
Christie also vetoed language that would have repealed the so-called “family cap” for Work First NJ. The cap denies basic assistance to children who are born while their mothers are on Work First NJ (also known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families). The NJPP says the cap has denied essential assistance to over 20,000 babies since its inception.