08/23/2011 1:20PM

New Jersey breeders appeal governor's subsidy veto

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The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey has filed a legal challenge to a veto that Gov. Chris Christie exercised earlier this summer that nullified the distribution of $15 million in potential subsidies to the state’s Thoroughbred and Standardbred industries.

In the appeal, filed on Aug. 11 in the Appellate Division of New Jersey Superior Court, the breeders’ association argues that Christie’s veto of the commission’s decision to distribute the subsidies was a violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine. In addition, the appeal argues that the veto was “arbitrary and capricious.”

Christie vetoed the commission’s decision using a power under state law that allows the governor to reverse any decision by a state agency by vetoing the minutes of the meeting at which the decision takes place.

The New Jersey legislature passed a bill earlier this year creating a new regulatory commission for Atlantic City casinos that also contained a provision requiring casinos to contribute $30 million over three years to the New Jersey Racing Commission, with the commission being given the authority to distribute the money to the state’s Thoroughbred and Standardbred industries. Though Christie said that he would veto any decision by the commission to award subsidies to the racing industry, he signed the bill.

The Thoroughbred breeders’ appeal argues that Christie should have exercised a line-item veto of the subsidy provision at the time he signed the law if he intended to block the distribution of the subsidies.