UPDATE 1-N.J. Gov Christie signs budget without tax hikes, full pension funding

Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:53pm EDT

(Adds comments from assemblyman, Christie)

June 30 (Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Monday vetoed Democratic tax hikes on the wealthy and on corporations, instead signing a smaller fiscal 2015 budget that slashes the state's full pension contribution.

Democratic lawmakers had passed a budget that included the full $2.25 billion of state pension funding, to be paid for with the tax increases.

Christie rejected both of those measures and reduced the size of their spending plan to $32.5 billion from $34.1 billion, in line with what he previously proposed after disclosing in late May a $2.75 billion revenue shortfall through the end of fiscal 2015. The vetoes, which come on the last day of the fiscal year, were expected.

"We are dismayed, frankly, that we could not reach a cooperative budget," said Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Gary Schaer, a Democrat, in a statement.

It is the fourth time that Christie, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, has shot down legislation that would increase income taxes.

"I do not accept the premise that we can tax our way to prosperity," Christie said in his veto message. (Reporting by Hilary Russ; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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