Chris Christie Signs $31.7 Billion State Budget
“The budget the Legislature sent me violated two core priorities of this Administration,” says Christie. “It denied tax relief to our hard working, middle-class families while proposing an $800 million tax increase and rejected fiscal responsibility by including millions in new spending that threatened to undo the hard won progress of the last two years. I am unwilling to surrender the gains we have made to establish fiscal responsibility in the state budget by raising taxes on our people at a time when they need and deserve tax relief. The budget I am signing today reverses irresponsible funding decisions, establishes funding levels based on realistic and responsible revenue assumptions, and increases our surplus to a healthy level that paves the way for continued economic growth.”
“Without raising taxes, the Governor has controlled spending and protected New Jersey’s key priorities with job-creating incentives, a record level of education spending and a substantial investment in our hospitals,” says Republican Assemblywoman Donna Simon. “All that’s missing is the additional and immediate tax relief that Corzine Democrats are withholding from the people of New Jersey. Although it’s summer vacation for some, there cannot be any rest for status quo Trenton politicians until taxpayers get the relief they deserve right now.”
“For the third consecutive year, Governor Christie has delivered a balanced budget without increasing taxes,” says Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick. “Because of the fiscal discipline in each of the Governor’s budgets, New Jersey is on the road to recovery. One of the most important goals which still remains is delivering immediate tax relief to our hard-working middle class families. The Democrats need to work with the governor and Republicans in the Legislature to make this happen now. Taxpayers should not be denied the help they were promised. Delaying tax relief is unacceptable. Everyone who has sacrificed over the past two years deserves this relief now.”
Leading democrats are condemning Christie’s veto of legislation that would have helped lower income working families augment their income by restoring the New Jersey Earned Income Tax Credit cut by the Governor two years ago.
“It’s disappointing, but not surprising that the Governor would veto legislation that would have put a few extra hundred dollars in the pockets of poor working families,” says Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. “Sadly for this segment of the population, they don’t earn enough for the Governor to care.”
Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman on Friday called Christie’s veto of legislation to fund women’s health centers not surprising, but indicative of his disregard for the plight of low-income women. Watson Coleman was the lead Assembly sponsor of the bill Christie vetoed that would have appropriated $7,453,000 in funding for Family Planning Services grant for women’s health centers. Watson Coleman claims that Christie’s move is all the more shortsighted because studies show that preventative services provided by family planning clinics save taxpayers an estimated $3.74 for every $1 that is spent by the state.
“For two years, the Governor was able to hide behind the guise of fiscal prudence when vetoing this legislation,” says Watson Coleman. “Given his rosy revenue projections for this year, there’s no reason why he should excise this funding when it provides such critical services women and low-income families. By continuing to make them the sacrificial lambs of his budget priorities, he’s playing games with people’s lives. These health centers provide important, life-saving services to those who would otherwise not have access to them. Since he first eliminated this funding, we’ve seen demonstrable drops in services.”
Christie says, “The revised budget I signed today would continue to fuel the New Jersey Comeback if it included immediate tax cuts for New Jerseyans. After two hard years of shared sacrifice we’re no longer on the brink of fiscal catastrophe. Because of the tough and difficult choices we’ve made, this year’s budget allows us to make an unprecedented commitment to education, make one of the largest pension payments in our state’s history and fund critical programs that protect our most vulnerable.”
The major dispute in the budget has been over a tax cut and that remains unresolved. Christie wants a commitment to fund the first installment of a 10 percent cut, but instead Democrats set aside $183 million for the cut but won’t implement it until it’s clear state revenues support it.
Christie says, “The choices we’ve made together over the last two years have laid the groundwork for the New Jersey Comeback and are finally delivering on a promise of all that our state can accomplish. After closing a combined $13 billion in deficits without raising taxes, implementing landmark, bipartisan pension and benefits reform and addressing the burden of property taxes so that homeowners saw the smallest increase in property taxes in nearly two decades last year, now is the time to accelerate the Comeback, not reverse course.”