TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie conditionally vetoed the Legislature’s bipartisan Port Authority Transparency and Accountability Act Thursday.
The governor said the legislation failed to take up the Shadow Government Reform he proposed in March 2011. Christie’s conditional veto amends the legislation to incorporate the Shadow Government Reform.
“New Jersey’s ‘Shadow Government’ has persisted for too long. I urge the Legislature to join my Administration, along with the taxpaying, rate paying and toll paying public, to quickly concur with these long-needed reforms and end the era of secretive governance and spending,” the Governor said in his conditional veto message.
Senate and Assembly Democrats issued a statement Thursday afternoon calling the conditional veto “nonsensical,” accusing the governor of continuing to “protect the scandal-ridden, multi-billion dollar agency,” according to the NJ Legislative Democrats’ release.
“In effect, the governor announced that reform at the Port Authority will not happen under his watch,” Sen. Bob Gordon (D-38) said in a statement.
“I would be happy to discuss with the governor additional reforms we can bring to New Jersey’s ‘shadow government,’” he continued. “But we can’t let the Port Authority slip away scot-free, as the governor is letting it.”
The idea behind the ‘shadow government’ reform proposed last year by the governor is that the governor’s office would be given veto power over the independent agencies that lack such oversight, agencies such as the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission and the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission.
The legislation that was introduced by Republican lawmakers to accomplish that was referred to committee but never advanced.