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Christie rebuffed on effort to take over of public authorities

September 1, 2011

Last spring, Governor Christie, concluding that he should have veto power over all public authorities, proposed “The Shadow Government Reform Act.” Upon taking office, the Governor already had the discretion, in some measure unprecedented nationwide, to veto the budgets and board meetings (thus erasing any action taken during board meetings) of many State public authorities, a veto which he employed 21 times over the past year. The proposed legislation would expand his veto power to all regional and multijurisdictional public authorities. In addition, it would subject regional authorities to oversight by the State Ethics Commission, require financial disclosures, allow the Governor to remove board members for cause, and require audits by the State Comptroller. The Governor’s view, according to staff, is that authorities operate under the radar with only 3 percent of them even posting financial information online. Describing the legislation as a “power grab” and a breach of authorities’ independence, the Democrat-controlled legislature has to date failed to act on the proposal.

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