TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie shot down a bill that would have expanded paid leave for workers in the state, saying that it would result in increased taxes.
The Republican issued a conditional veto on Friday of the law passed by the Democrat-led Legislature that would have increased the eligibility period for family leave insurance from six to 12 weeks.
The measure also would have added siblings, grandparents, grandchildren and parents-in-law to the list of caregivers who could take the benefits.
Christie said that the law would result in increased taxes paid by workers in the state and told lawmakers to instead refocus the bill to raise awareness of the benefits that are currently available.
“The sponsors of this bill have attempted to placate the numerous concerns raised about the fiscal impact of this bill by assuring that it can be done without raising the payroll tax used to support the same. However, the “facts” supporting that assertion are flimsy at best and put the burden for their mistake, as usual, on the taxpayers,” Christie said in his veto message.
The bill would also have expanded benefit access to those who work for companies with at least 20 employees, instead of the current 50. Christie said that may have forced businesses to limit hiring, relocate or close.
Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, who sponsored the measure, said that he isn’t surprised Christie vetoed the bill, but said it’s disappointing.
“His gutting of the bill essentially turns it into a public awareness campaign for the existing program,” Prieto said. “Families struggling to make ends meet while taking care of a loved one don’t want to hear more talk, they want real solutions. That’s why we worked extensively with the business community and advocates to craft a bill that would make this program work better for families in this state.”