New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today exercised his veto authority to guard against wasteful spending practices by rejecting the minutes of the April 26 meeting of the South Jersey Port Corporation for its approval of $3,036.80 in expenses, including more than half of it for “wining and dining.” Governor Christie noted that, while he recognized the importance of generating new business, the SJPC is not private industry and is subsidized by the state and taxpayer dollars.
“These are not expenses that the taxpayers of New Jersey should be expected to bear,” Governor Christie wrote in his veto letter today to SJPC Executive Director Joseph A. Balzano. “It is incumbent upon SJPC to create innovative ways of attracting business to the SJPC without incurring unnecessary expenditures inappropriate for the public sector.”
The amount of $3,036.80 was approved for payment of the Operating Unpaid Bill List and Expense Report for the period of March 17, 2011 to April 13, 2011. The amount included two restaurant expenditures totaling $1,705.89, each in excess of $800 and including alcohol.
The veto letter noted that a review by the Governor’s Authorities Unit of previously submitted expense reports approved by the SJPC board for business development also “shows other excessive restaurant bills including alcohol.”
This veto is the twenty-second exercised by Governor Christie in his effort to reform spending and budgeting practices at New Jersey authorities, commissions and boards over which he has veto authority. A bill before the legislature would expand that veto authority to numerous other semi-autonomous state entities. The Democratically controlled legislature, however, has refused to move that bill.