To stimulate New Jersey's struggling economy, Democratic and Republican legislators joined together to send a dozen jobs bills to Gov. Christie in his first year in office.
But in 2010 and early 2011, the new Republican governor took his pen and vetoed every one, even those that came with unanimous support.
Later, when Democrats tried to override his vetoes, Republicans switched their votes to join Christie. Sen. Diane Allen (R., Burlington) changed her vote four times.
With the state's current 9.8 percent unemployment rate the fourth-worst in the country, the Democrats who control the Legislature now are reintroducing half of these economic-stimulus bills.
And they still have little chance of becoming law.
Christie says a bill that offers a tax credit, as most of these do, must come with spending reductions. He would rather help the economy with income tax credits, paid through a projected budget surplus. Democrats say the state can't afford that.
Where does that leave New Jersey? In a stalemate over how to get people working.
Democrats say Christie has rejected job-creation bills, some based on GOP-backed programs in other states and endorsed by business, just because they didn't come from him. Two bills on taxation were vetoed by Christie only to be incorporated into his budget, they note.
And they have slammed him for campaigning for Republican candidates around the country instead of addressing job woes at home.
He "panders too much to this national, tea party, right-wing movement for his own national ambitions," said Assemblyman Louis Greenwald (D., Camden), a frequent Christie target. "You can't solve New Jersey's unique set of problems with an eye on some other sort of prize."
Christie, in turn, tells town-hall audiences that Democrats spend their time passing superfluous bills instead of his job-creating income tax credits. Things aren't as bad as they would have you believe, he says: 85,000 private-sector jobs have been created since his first full month in office.
He brought up the Democrats' jobs legislation at a town-hall meeting last week: "Every one was another spending program. It wasn't the private sector creating jobs; it was the government creating jobs."
Christie has long said he would not approve measures that cost money if they were proposed outside of the budget negotiations. Republicans say Democrats send him bills they know he'll reject to try to show him up by attempting a veto override.
There have been more override attempts -- 41 -- in Christie's term than during any other gubernatorial term in modern New Jersey history, according to the Office of Legislative Services.
Not one worked. That's because Republican legislators fell in line with their leader, denying the two-thirds vote an override requires.
"They are forgetting their constitutional obligation that they're an equal branch of government," Greenwald said.
Allen, a centrist Republican from Burlington County, approved several bills that were vetoed by Christie, then switched her votes for the override. Those bills were:
Angel investor tax credits: Supported by Republican-friendly business groups including the state Chamber of Commerce, the tax credits would have gone toward technology businesses and cost up to $8.1 million. The bill, passed unanimously in the Senate, has been reintroduced.
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