TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie announced conditionally vetoing several bills Monday evening, including a proposal that would help transform foreclosed properties into affordable housing.
The governor sent back to the Legislature a bill, S2157/A3413, that would have established the New Jersey Residential Foreclosure Transformation Act, which would give the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency the ability to purchase foreclosed homes and dedicate them as affordable housing units.
In his veto message, the governor told lawmakers the state should rely on $300 million in federal funds to assist New Jersey families in trouble with their mortgages, “as opposed to the unavailable and, in some cases unidentified, state funding sources that this bill relies upon,” he said.
The governor also conditionally vetoed S2202 and A3372, which would required the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Authority to expand participation in the New Jersey HomeKeeper Program, which provides assistance to New Jersey homeowners who are at risk of losing their homes.
Helmets to Hardhats pilot program
The governor also conditionally vetoed S1415 and A2014, which would have established a pilot program within the New Jersey Turnpike Authority aimed at finding work for veterans.
“While I support the pilot program the bill would establish, I am concerned that in its current form the bill does not go far enough to ensure that veterans are given every opportunity to pursue meaningful employment with the state,” Christie said in his veto message.
“I am recommending that the bill be amended to require that the Authority establish benchmarks for veteran hiring and retention by all contractors working with the Authority, as well as attainable targets for veteran Helmet to Hardhats participant labor hours for each highway project constructed by the Authority during the pilot program,” he said.
Clean car commission
Christie also conditionally vetoed a proposal, A3028 and S2198, that would have established a 13-member commission to study numerous issues connected with zero emission vehicles, including submitting a report to the governor, and studying incentives to increase the use of such vehicles and their attendant infrastructure.
Instead, the governor recommend “an 11-member task force chaired by the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection to study, among other things, all manner of alternatively fueled vehicles (including personal automobiles, commercial fleet vehicles, and mass transit vehicles), and to identify regulatory and statutory obstacles and inefficiencies at the federal, State, local, and municipal level that frustrate and impede the use of alternatively fueled vehicles,” according to his veto message.
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"Enlisting Fox is another reminder of how much Christie has truly relied on insiders, including Democrats, to bolster his agenda or bail him out of trouble. Not long after arriving in Trenton in 2009, Christie began collaborating with George Norcross, the deeply entrenched Democratic Party kingmaker, to help him cut deals with a Democratic-controlled Legislature.
When his close ally David Samson resigned as chairman of the Port Authority over conflict-of-interest questions earlier this year, Christie replaced Samson with John Degnan, a pillar of the Democratic Party establishment. And now, confronted with a crisis, Christie has turned to “Jamie,’’ as Fox has been known throughout political circles since he began as an aide in the Democratic Senate in the 1980s." - columnist Charles Stile
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