Saturday, October 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Christie attacks proposed amendment

He said legislators should not propose constitutional changes he already vetoed.

SEA BRIGHT, N.J. - Gov. Christie railed Thursday against a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot in November that would earmark millions of dollars for open-space preservation.

Speaking to reporters during a news conference at the Jersey Shore, Christie slammed the measure as "irresponsible," "ridiculous," and a "perversion of the constitutional process."

"I think it's wrong. I think it was a bad move by the Legislature," said the Republican governor, who said he would vote no on the ballot question and urged others to do the same.

The amendment would set up a funding system for open-space preservation by dedicating part of the state's business tax to it. Proponents say it would ensure that open space remains a state priority for the next 30 years.

Christie said it was wrong for lawmakers to use constitutional amendments to push through bills he had vetoed. He said measures such as this and an amendment to increase the minimum wage that passed last year do not belong in the state constitution.

"It's crazy stuff. But this is what happens when frustrated Democrats don't get their way," he said, adding: "They should just start winning gubernatorial elections if they want to control the whole thing."

Christie said he would be open to initiatives or questions in which proposals come from residents instead of lawmakers. He said voters almost always vote yes on proposals written to "sound like motherhood and apple pie."

Jeff Tittel, director of the Sierra Club's New Jersey branch, who has been among the bill's strongest advocates, said in a statement responding to Christie's comments that "we need voters to stand up to the governor and for open space, and pass this referendum."

Christie was in Sea Bright to announce an $8.5 million plan to repair and expand a seawall designed to protect it from future storms. The state government is financing the project, which is scheduled to go out to bid later this year with construction planned to start in 2015.

The added protection for the Monmouth County community goes along with a series of coastal restoration projects underway. The total price is expected to be $1 billion.

The governor's office has been touting Hurricane Sandy rebuilding milestones all week.

Associated Press
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