Gov. Chris Christie vetoes millionaire's tax, school aid before signing state budget - Press of Atlantic City: Breaking News Alerts

Gov. Chris Christie vetoes millionaire's tax, school aid before signing state budget

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Posted: Thursday, June 30, 2011 4:28 pm

TRENTON - Gov. Chris Christie today vetoed a millionaire's tax and specific spending lines in the $30.6 billion state budget passed by the Democrat-controlled Legislature, a move that sets in place a budget by the July 1 deadline.

The Republican governor said the budget, which was opposed by the Republican minority in both the Senate and Assembly, was unconstitutionally out of balance. The spending plan relied on projected revenues that were not certified by the state treasurer and which the governor termed "fantasy" budgeting.

Christie's budget appropriates $29.7 billion, nearly $1 billion less than the Democrats' plan.

The governor vetoed extra school aid that would have been raised by the tax on income in excess of $1 million and directed to suburban districts. However, he said his budget restores all school aid that had been cut last year and even increases it by $30 million.

He cut $47 million in funding for urban enterprise zone agencies.

Other Democrat-sponsored casualties of the governor's veto pen include funding for women's health centers, property tax relief measures for senior citizens and municipal aid to hire police and other public safety workers.

By using line-item vetoes to cut spending he opposed, Christie allows the rest of the budget to take effect at midnight. If that deadline were missed, state government would technically run out of money.

State government shut down for a week in July 2006 after a budget wasn't approved in time.

Christie's budget leaves intact - for now - his plan to close the Vineland Developmental Center by June 2013. However, he noted the Legislature approved a bill Wednesday night creating a task force to study and recommend ways to humanely close developmental centers.

He said if he agrees with the bill or can propose changes to make it work, he would consider letting such a panel work out a strategy to move developmentally disabled residents out of institutions and into community settings.

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