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On Heels Of Worker Benefits Deal, Gov. Christie Uses Line-Item Veto To Cut $900M From NJ Budget

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP)-- In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie used his power to line-item veto a budget handed to him by Democrats.

The governor said he's keeping his promise to not raise taxes, but that means cuts to many social programs – and some who receive those benefits aren't pleased, reports CBS 2's Christine Sloan.

"I have small children who need child care," Jersey City resident Margarete Brewer said. "We have no summer programs, our teenagers are running the street, because Chris Christie is cutting everything for the urban community."

Some Jersey residents, including Toni Jennings – who had diabetes and is on Medicaid – were furious with Governor Christie.

Governor Christie axed more than $900 million from the Democratic budget that including restoring millions of dollars to Medicaid and women's health centers. The governor called that budget "unconstitutional" and politically motivated when the state has no money.

"They decided to deceive the citizens of the state with a budget that makes them look like Santa Claus in an election year," Governor Christie said.

Some residents said that the governor is doing the right thing in these tough economic times.

"It's no good to be in debt," Westfield resident Jim Zanetti said. "You've got to cut, like your own credit cards."

In June, the governor and Democrats stood together in passing a measure to force public workers to pay more toward their pension and health benefits.

Democrats then tried to push through a bill to tax millionaires and send the money to suburban schools, knowing Governor Christie wouldn't sign it – and now they're blasting him.

"Does the governor have no heart?" asked Democratic State Assemblyman Vincent Prieto.

Nurse practitioner Maryann McGovern works with AIDS patients on Medicaid.

"It's clearly affecting the low-income population," McGovern said.

The governor's budget changes are now law, and they don't require legislative approval.

Was Gov. Christie right in his use of the line-item veto? Sound off in our comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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