Gov. Chris Christie on Monday turned back lawmakers' attempt to put $10 million into an account for removing lead paint from homes and instead said he's establishing a new program to remediate lead-contaminated homes.
Christie conditionally vetoed the legislation after already announcing he plans to put $10 million toward lead abatement.
He said he is directing $10 million in the current fiscal year to establish the new program in the Department of Community Affairs.
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In a conditional veto statement, Christie said he cannot support the Democrat-led Legislature's bill because it calls for supplemental spending outside the current year's $33.8 billion budget.
"I cannot support this appropriation outside of the budget process, particularly in light of the fact that I have committed $10 million from existing 2016 budget funds to support a new program that will utilize modern approaches to address lead paint hazards," Christie said.
The rejected legislation would have replenished the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Fund, which a tax on paint cans was supposed to finance when it was created in 2004.
Christie offered few details about the new program, saying the Community Affairs Department will "employ lead-safe initiatives that are consistent with the modern approach to lead paint hazards."
He adds that these initiatives should help the state remediate homes contaminated with lead paint.
Separately, Christie also is seeking $10 million to pay for lead testing at 3,000 public schools.