Chris Christie Is Kinder And Gentler, Says Assembly Speaker [AUDIO]
Last Friday, Governor Chris Christie signed the State Budget into law, but not before line-item vetoing $361 million in Democratic spending add-ons.
Last year, Christie slashed roughly $900 million in Democrats' additions out of the budget and that led to an epic and profane response from State Senate President Steve Sweeney. This time around, Democrats are not going that ballistic.
"This is certainly a kinder, gentler Chris Christie as opposed to where we were a year ago," says Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, "Not that it's kinder and gentler, but it's kinder and gentler than last year…I'm sure when he revisited what that (vetoes last year) did to a lot of residents in this state I think that he approached this a little more prudently."
Christie says for the third year in a row, he has signed into law a constitutionally balanced budget that delivers on key priorities for the people of New Jersey without raising taxes. The Fiscal Year 2013 Budget as enacted spends $31.7 billion, which is lower than the Governor's originally proposed budget as delivered in February 2012 and lower than the budget passed by the Legislature.
The Governor says this year's budget continues the return to fiscal discipline and controlled spending, while focusing on funding critical priorities that speak to the needs of all New Jerseyans. The Fiscal Year 2013 Budget is smaller than both fiscal years 2008 and 2009, while still increasing aid to schools to the highest level of state spending on K-12 education in the state's history.
Christie vetoed a measure to create a new Urban Enterprise Zone, a bill to provide legal services to the poor, $7.4 million in family planning funding, legislation to return energy receipt tax revenues to towns, a tax credit for the working poor, a bill to let towns hold onto affordable housing funds and of course, the millionaires tax hike which was not part of the budget.