By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey governor Chris Christie today approved a new state budget for fiscal 2016, one that spends just under $34 billion and, he pointed out, keeps taxes in check.

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No one was surprised that Christie issued line-item vetoes for $1.6 billion in spending and also vetoed tax hikes that Democrats in the legislature had wanted.

But, Christie said, his vetoes come with a goal: he wants the legislature to approve an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor from 20 percent to 30 percent.

“This is something that those families need now more than ever,” the governor said. “They need more money in their own pocket and less in the pockets of politicians for them to spend on their special interest friends here in Trenton.”

The legislature could take up that issue next week.

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Over the course of his hour-long, wide-ranging press conference, the governor was peppered time and again about his expected announcement that he is running for president.  Christie deflected all questions on that topic.

He also said he is not inclined to declare a state of emergency in the wake of Tuesday’s severe thunderstorms storms that battered parts of South Jersey.

Christie said his staff has been reviewing the situation on the ground and consulting with FEMA about possible federal aid.  He said his advisors told him an emergency declaration is not necessary at this time.  Should that change, the governor says, he will re-evaluate his position.

 

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