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.
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."
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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.