By Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron
“For the most part I think I got most of what I wanted,” Gov. Chris Christie said.
He told reporters he’ll sign the budget the legislature sent him yesterday without exercising his line-item veto power.
“I used the line-item veto the last two years in non-negotiated budgets, but when you negotiate a budget, you negotiate a budget. So I’m not gonna then double-cross these guys and go back and use the line-item veto pen. No, I won’t do that,” Christie said.
Asked whether he still would like to see a tax cut this year, he put Democrats on notice that he would.
“Now that the budget season is over and I know for sure that they’re unwilling to cut taxes, now between June 24 and Nov. 5, this will be a big issue. I will make it a big issue. And they will have to justify why they won’t cut taxes for middle class folks,” Christie said.
Christie’s remarks came during a visit to Burlington County College where he unveiled a new state scholarship program aimed at getting more women and minorities into construction-related trades.
“NJ-GIVS will pay up to $2,000 per year to women and minority students who reside in New Jersey for the cost of enrollment in an NJ-GIVS eligible certificate program at any one of New Jersey’s 19 community colleges,” Christie said.
Christie also said he supports Senate President Steve Sweeney’s new call for Rutgers to abolish its board of trustees, since Rutgers also has a more powerful board of governors.
“Rutgers’ governance structure is confusing and not in compliance with what most of the rest of the country does. I think to streamline their governance now as we’re creating a new Rutgers on July 1 would be the right thing to do,” Christie said.
But he gave his most Christie-like answer to a question about today’s state comptroller’s report on the finances of the town of North Bergen where Nick Sacco is the mayor, a state senator and the assistant schools superintendent.
“Ah, it’s outrageous. I mean, you see the crap that’s going on up in North Bergen? Bad enough that Nick Sacco is making $300,000 himself. Now, he’s got the highest paid in-house counsel who then refers business — hundreds of thousands of dollars in business to the firm that he’s a member of while at the same time he’s a full-time employee? And then I love the guy who’s been working there since 1988 but can’t tell anybody what he’s been doing,” Christie said.
Asked for his views on Edward Snowden, the fugitive leaker of classified information, he said he wouldn’t second guess President Obama on that one, and that Russia and China are hard countries to deal with.