Christie OKs $34.5 billion N.J. budget, scraps tax hike for wealthy and businesses

Governor Chris Christie has signed a new state budget that eliminates tax hikes passed by the legislature controlled by Democrats.

The $32.5 billion budget Christie signed Monday evening is more than $1 billion lower than the one lawmakers passed last week.

The governor vetoed an income tax surcharge on millionaires and an increase in the corporate business tax Democrats wanted so the state could fully fund its pension obligation.

Assembly speaker Vinnie Prieto says that’s disappointing.

“We would have loved to have seen it the way we presented it. We presented a balanced budget that took care of the working middle class and the working poor of the state of New Jersey,” he said. “But you always try to look at the bright side, and I’m glad that certain things that were our initiative stayed in the budget.”

The new budget does include money Democrats put in the spending plan for nursing homes, domestic violence protection and cancer research.

The budget Christie signed calls for a $681 million payment into the pension system. That’s far less than the $2.25 billion contribution called for in the pension reform law enacted three years ago.

Public employee unions vow to continue their legal battle challenging that reduction.

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