Governor Christie was in Washington, DC last week talking about his governing style and how it is putting New Jersey in a better place. Just 48 hours after his DC speech, he was back to chopping away at Democratic proposals that take strides in moving the state’s economy in a better direction. A direction that is linked to job creation and improving unemployment in the state of New Jersey.
The governor’s use of his veto power rejected Democratic tax incentives and a parts of job package for the state. Christie criticized the bills as nothing more than “political games” and more “irresponsible” spending. Spending, that for Christie, would have cost the state $600 million in lost revenue.
Not surpringly, the Democrats in Trenton quickly fired back at the “disgusting” move by Christie as they are continuing to look for innovative and common sense ways to improve the state. For them, it is Christie “playing games” with people and their livelihoods.
This move by Christie shows another example of his negative opinion of the Democrats in Trenton and his unwillingness to take steps to work along with them on compromising on legislation that overall is positive for the state.
The timing of the vetos could also intensify this week’s budget talks and Tuesday’s budget unveiling. Christie made some unpopular cuts a year ago and most expect him to face some backlash for some of his cuts this year. The vetoes might also signal that Christie has tax incentives and job creation plans included in his budget and would prefer the State Legislature to take up his agenda and not theirs; regardless of overlaps between Christie and Democrats in Trenton. That was something that Christie himself even hinted at in terms of what might be in his budget.
In the wake of his vetoes, Christie responded,
“Just like I vetoed continuing appropriation bills, I’m vetoing these tax cuts and incentive programs. We have to be consistent on this.”
Christie’s consistency is certainly apparent with his latest vetoes. Christie’s foil in Trenton, Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-3), is already prepared to challenge Christie’s vetoes. As he laid out,
“Honestly, we had like 38 votes (out of 40) on almost every one of (the bills). Don’t be surprised if I don’t move some veto overrides. And (Republicans) are going to vote on them. I’m telling you now: I’ll be putting the house on call for every one of those votes” (forcing all legislators to vote).”
Sweeney’s criticism continued with,
“After several days of speaking before fawning audiences in Washington, D.C., and Florida about how New Jersey will lead the nation forward, he came home to set our state’s jobs climate back on its heels. New Jersey’s unemployed want real hope for a new job and our small businesses need a chance for a much-needed tax break. The governor today just brushed them both aside.”
A good deal of what Christie vetoed will negatively affect the “Back to Work NJ” program and legislation passed last month in the State Legislature. One can expect for Christie to take “his ax” to other parts of the package in the near future. Late last year, when Sweeney and Democrats proposed their plans for what was passed last month; Christie sounded like he would consider their bills. But, based on his multiple vetoes; that was mostly talk from a man with a style that features little compromise. Christie has not allowed the Democratic majority in Trenton to interfere with his agenda for the state and only approves their bills if they include enough of what he looking for in terms of improving the state. That lack of bipartisanship is something echoed by Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34).
Equally critical of Christie was Assembly Majority Leader Joe Cryan (D-20), who sees Christie pandering to his conservative fan base and Fox News while keeping New Jersey in a stagnant location. Ideology has at times clouded his better judgment for the state.
Like others interactions with the Democrats in Trenton, Christie is brushing off any criticism and not letting it negatively affect how he governs.
The bill vetoed by Christie include:
- A3596/S2556: Would have allowed for local public contracts for employers who hire former prisoners
- A3589/S1216: Would have benefitted small and minority businesses for loans based on their location
- A3535/S1540: Would have consolidated gross income and provide a 20 year carry over for certain net losses
- A3398/S2345: Would have expanded gross income tax exclusion for items like pensions for certain taxpayers
- A3418/S2373: Would have allowed for corporation business tax credit and gross income tax credit for certain wages paid to qualified interns over the next fiscal years
- A3531/S2394: Would have dedicated revenues from certain sales and used it towards incentives linked to improving horseracing in the state
- A3592/S2454: Would have created the New Jersey Angel Investor Tax Credit Act, which would have provided credits for investing in emerging technologies in the state
- A1676/S1646: Would have provided single sales fraction for a corporation business tax income allocation formula
- A1851/S659: Would have created the Historic Property Reinvestment Act, which would have provided credits for the costs involved with refurbishing and improving historic lands and properties
- A2215/S2558, S2567: Would have provided loans for those investing in high performance green buildings
- A3353/S2545: Would have established a closing fund to provide financial resoureces for those investing in economic development projects
- A3513/S2544: Would have established the Workforce Shortage Loan Redemption Program, which would have rewarded those who apply for jobs with a high demand.
- A3584/S2496: Would have established the framework for the Back to Work NJ Program, which includes funding for it
- A2905/S690: Would have established the Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act, which would have expanded existing tax credit programs for film and digital media programs
Those are roughly half of the bills presented to Christie by the Democratic-led State Legislature. Some of the bills vetoed could draw a bit of criticism, but there are multiple ones that could not only provide tax credits, create jobs, and move the economy; but expand New Jersey’s role in the country and potentially the world.