Christie signs New Jersey budget

The News Leader

June 29, 2010 1:09:52 PM PDT
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed his first state budget into law on Tuesday, saying the document reflects tough choices in a difficult economy.

The $29.4 billion budget cuts aid to public schools, suspends property tax rebates for the fiscal year beginning July 1, and jettisons public watchdog agencies.

The Republican said the budget amounts to an attempt to "restore fiscal sanity" to a state that chronically overspends.

"We need now to take a totally different look at the way our state, our counties, our municipalities operate," Christie said after signing the budget at a firehouse in Middlesex County. "We can no longer afford the days where we told everyone they could get something for nothing, that someone was going to pay for it."

Democrats continued to assail what they call wrong-headed choices in Christie's budget - he cut the amount the working poor can deduct on their income taxes but spared millionaires from a one-year surcharge on their incomes.

Christie's fellow Republicans supported the legislation after some arm-twisting and when Christie agreed to remove a proposal to raise $5 million by increasing filing fees that businesses pay to the state.

Democrats supplied the minimum number of additional votes needed to pass the budget by June 30 to avert a government shutdown.

But Democrats still want Republicans to own this budget.

Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Lou Greenwald said the budget was laden with tax increases on the middle-class and working poor.