TRENTON, New Jersey (Reuters) - New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie called lawmakers back for a special session on Monday to pass a tax cut plan, but the Democrat-led legislature refused to act.
After the special session, lawmakers left the statehouse without voting on Christie's proposal.
Christie signed a $31.7 billion budget on Friday and then called lawmakers back on what was to be the first day of their summer vacation after they ended last week's session without enacting any tax cut plan.
"I have used my veto authority on the budget you sent me to create a $650 million surplus," he said in an address to the legislature. "Can't we afford to send just one-third of that surplus back to our citizens and to give them that guarantee today? I say, 'Yes.'"
Lawmakers in the Democrat-led legislature denied Christie, a likely contender for higher office, the 10 percent across-the-board income tax cut he proposed in February.
During budget negotiations over the past several weeks, Christie came to support a plan from state Senate President Steve Sweeney that would provide property tax credits on residents' income tax returns. But legislators want to hold off on the relief until they see whether state revenue collections improve.
They also seek a tax increase for high-income residents, which Christie opposes.
Sweeney said after Monday's session that the governor's proposed tax cuts would not take effect until next year anyway, making Christie's special session a "completely unnecessary" event calculated "more for the national stage." (Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Padraic Cassidy and Dan Grebler)
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