Gov. Says He 'Aggressively' Used Line-Item Veto For Constitutional Budget

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has taken a red pen to a $30.6 billion state budget the Democratic-controlled Legislature sent him Wednesday, striking items he viewed as unaffordable before signing the document into law.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney: Gov. Christie Never Feared A Shutdown

READ MORE: NYPD Det. Jason Rivera's Widow Criticizes Manhattan DA's Policy Changes During Eulogy

Christie’s signature on the budget hours before the start of a new fiscal year means a shutdown of nonessential government services has been averted.  The governor’s cuts reduced the budget plan to $29.7 billion.

The New Jersey governor said that he “aggressively used the line-item veto and the absolute veto” on the budget because it was “what I had to do to make it constitutional.”

“This is not something I relish doing, but it’s my constitutional responsibility to sign a constitutional budget,” he said.

Despite signing the budget, Christie harshly criticized the Democratic legislature, saying they were reverting “to more of the same unrealistic, fantasy budgeting that has plagued Trenton for years.”

“They’ve decided to deceive the citizens of the state with a budget that makes them look like Santa Claus in an election year.  How shocking — politicians deceiving and pandering to voters to get re-elected.  I was sent here to end this politics and usual,” Christie said.

READ MORE: New York City Braces For Major Winter Storm; DSNY Pretreats Roads, Has 1,800 Snow Plows Ready

Democrats had earlier rejected the budget the Republican governor proposed and adopted their own version. It was about $1 billion higher than Christie’s plan.

Christie said the Democrats’ budget was unlawful because it overestimated the amount of tax revenue the state is likely to collect.  Democrats insisted their plan was lawful and defended it as more compassionate than Christie’s proposal.

The majority party can attempt to override any of the appropriations the governor vetoed, but they need a few Republican votes to succeed.

No Republican in either house voted for the budget or a separate two-year tax increase on millionaires sent to Christie.

The Democrats’ budget added funding for public schools, the working poor and communities experiencing crime increases. Republicans clobbered the plan as “pie-in-the-sky, fantasy budgeting,” and said Democrats, in typical fashion, were spending beyond the state’s means.

MORE NEWS: Concert Series Creates Otherworldly Ambiance Through Candlelight, Music & Architecture

(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.)