On Heels Of Worker Benefits Deal, Gov. Christie Uses Line-Item Veto To Cut $900M From NJ Budget

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP)— In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie used his power to line-item veto a budget handed to him by Democrats.

The governor said he’s keeping his promise to not raise taxes, but that means cuts to many social programs – and some who receive those benefits aren’t pleased, reports CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

“I have small children who need child care,” Jersey City resident Margarete Brewer said. “We have no summer programs, our teenagers are running the street, because Chris Christie is cutting everything for the urban community.”

Some Jersey residents, including Toni Jennings – who had diabetes and is on Medicaid – were furious with Governor Christie.

Governor Christie axed more than $900 million from the Democratic budget that including restoring millions of dollars to Medicaid and women’s health centers. The governor called that budget “unconstitutional” and politically motivated when the state has no money.

“They decided to deceive the citizens of the state with a budget that makes them look like Santa Claus in an election year,” Governor Christie said.

Some residents said that the governor is doing the right thing in these tough economic times.

“It’s no good to be in debt,” Westfield resident Jim Zanetti said. “You’ve got to cut, like your own credit cards.”

In June, the governor and Democrats stood together in passing a measure to force public workers to pay more toward their pension and health benefits.

Democrats then tried to push through a bill to tax millionaires and send the money to suburban schools, knowing Governor Christie wouldn’t sign it – and now they’re blasting him.

“Does the governor have no heart?” asked Democratic State Assemblyman Vincent Prieto.

Nurse practitioner Maryann McGovern works with AIDS patients on Medicaid.

“It’s clearly affecting the low-income population,” McGovern said.

The governor’s budget changes are now law, and they don’t require legislative approval.

Was Gov. Christie right in his use of the line-item veto? Sound off in our comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Christine Sloan
  • Joe Nardone

    Mark my words – next year when your real estate taxes go up AGAIN, Christie will still be blaming the Democrats, but the public won’t be listening to him anymore. His ratings are already slipping, but if he keeps cutting and the middle-class doesn’t see any benefits, you can believe he will very quickly fall out of favor.

    As it stands, only the rich are benefiting from his form of politics.

    • LG

      (Do you have relatives in Pennsylvania?)

  • MT

    Lets put it this way, one of the wealthiest Americans said that he feels that he does not pay his fair share of taxes. The Forbes Four Hundred also made a pledge to give a huge percentage to charities of their choice. The person I speak of is Warren Buffet who knows how to make an economy grow better than any governor. Next, the problem is the little man and woman do not vote feeling their votes do not matter, which is why someone like Christie go in in the first place. It has been shown that rich suburnites vote at a 70%+ clip while poor people vote at less then 45%. Think of this, it has been shown that people who finish high school earn 13 extra dollars for every dollar spent on them than those who do not. So, would it not be in the best interest to have programs that get people to finish high school? Those who do earn more and the more people earn, the more the government earns through taxes. Would it kill the government to experiment with programs that specifically go out of their way to make sure people graduate high school but with real knowledge and not just being socially promoted? Look at the US Governments Census for New Brunswick for example and you will see one of the highest drop out rates in the nation and you will see it is a city with huge chances and opportunities like to work at Johnson and Johnson, 2 large hospitals, and they have an Amtrak station which cities 3 times its size (IE Edison) do not have. How do they have so many big companies but such a high rate of poverty? The impoverished towns in NJ give huge tax breaks to companies to do business there but they do not invest in helping the poor to succeed and then be hired by them.
    I am NOT blaming the rich only but when Warren Buffet said, he does not like that his workers pay a tax equal to what he does because of all his loopholes,” we need to listen to that. We have a mayor in NYC who constantly complains about the city’s deficit but he makes more than the state’s total deficit(or is worth more) so why can’t he use some of his funds, a lot of which he got from donations, to pay off part of the deficit? It is FAR from his job alone but he could help.
    Our governor took 214 million dollars in Federal Dollars to build a tunnel for faster train service. Has that tunnel been built? No! Would jobs have been created to build it? Yes. Would taxes have been paid by those workers? Yes. However, he told the federal government he is keeping the money but not what it was allocated for. That is against the law. The way he said it also was the congress can “sit on their ass all they want before I give the money back.” You can love our governor, you can hate our governor, but I know that fiscal cutbacks are needed but to both the rich and the poor. I have recently gone on SSDI because of a brain injury and I would do anything to get a new job and am looking feverishly for one, and getting help from an organization and a US Senator to do so. However, if the governor slashes the 6 million that was approved in the state budget to go to the state for helping people with disabilities to get and keep jobs, we have a problem. It has been shown that it is harder for people with disabilities to get jobs but once they do they have a 25% better rate at staying with their jobs than the non disabled. Believe me, when I get a job, I will not only pay those taxes, but I will be proud to. I already pay taxes on my SSDI but I would love to make a living, pay taxes, and use my degree to do my part. But agencies need to be around to help people like me who are great at getting jobs but due to disabilities are lousy at keeping jobs. Many with disabilities get lower paying jobs and they stay with them. I am eligible for higher paying jobs and I lose them. So, I have to find a great middle ground. I hope the government does not let me eat cake but does not waste the money on the batter to make the cake in the first place.

    • LG

      Fantastic post. People who have jobs contribute to the tax base, and people who have quality jobs based on their educational investment will contribute more to the tax base because of higher salaries. Unfortunately, many of those who make the most will always find ways to either hide their earnings or re-classify them as non-taxable.

      I wish you all the best–I hope the senator can help.

  • DanTe

    All the freebie loving parasites hates Christie. I guess he must be doing something right.

    • LG

      And the people who work for a living whose earnings are going to be cut by his “politics” do not care for his policies, either. Is this the governor you want for NJ?

  • ted

    More compassionate plan? How is taking money from me in the form of higher taxes and giving it to strangers more compassionate. I am sick of this liberal mantra of making people pay their fair share when more than half the country now pays no income taxes. I will support no additional spending and no tax hikes since the liberal’s (brain washed in school) believe in this nonsense. At the federal level, I will support only a vat tax that touches everyone with proceeds used only for deficit reduction, not funding Obama’s latest giveaway scam or stimulus nonsense.

  • Howie Sprague

    “Christie took a red pen to most Democratic add-ons, slashing an income tax credit for the working poor…”, “No Republican in either house voted for the budget or a separate two-year tax increase on millionaires sent to Christie.” This is typical of today’s GOP, they elect multi-millionaire CEO’s to office who in turn cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans & have the middle class, the elderly & the disabled pay for it.

    • LG

      Who do you think is contributing to election campaigns? You guessed it–the wealthy. And they are still in power, despite the efforts of the Founding Fathers who left that system of life in Europe in an effort to be better represented here in the colonies. I don’t see how allowing politicians to accept money from private sources to run for public office is even constitutional, let alone morally correct. But as long as there are people with money, they will always have influence and be allowed to exploit the rest of us.

      I’m surprised that Christie didn’t open a window at the State House and shout, “Let them eat cake!”

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