HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J. (AP) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he'll consider restoring $5.5 million to the budget for technology upgrades after two computer crashes hampered Motor Vehicle Commission operations last month.Christie blamed Democrats for cutting funds for technology upgrades in the current budget. The governor says he'd be open to restoring the money if the Democratic-controlled Legislature sent a supplemental appropriations bill to his desk.Earlier, Christie cited the cut at $35 million, which is the entire information technology appropriation.The Senate Budget Committee will examine the computer crashes at a Thursday hearing in Lodi.The glitches kept MVC workers from accessing license, title or registration information, leading to long lines and frustrated patrons at agency offices across the state.Christie was asked Monday in Bergen County about the computer crashes.THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.Gov. Chris Christie said Monday he would consider restoring $35 million to the budget for technology upgrades after two computer crashes hampered operations at the Motor Vehicle Commission last month.Christie blamed Democrats for cutting funds for technology upgrades in the current budget but said he'd be open to restoring the money if the Democratic-controlled Legislature sent a supplemental appropriations bill to his desk.The Senate Budget Committee is looking into the computer crashes at a hearing in Lodi on Thursday. The glitches kept MVC workers from accessing license, title or registration information, leading to long lines and frustrated patrons at agency offices across the state."Maybe they should -- instead of holding hearings about it -- maybe they should put a supplemental appropriation forward, admit they were wrong, put the $35 million up and I'll consider it," Christie said after an event Monday in Bergen County. Christie was asked about the computer crashes during a news conference after announcing $100 credits to help financially strapped senior citizens pay their summer utility bills.Christie, who is active on Twitter, said investing in the state's aging technology infrastructure is important.The governor also reiterated his willingness to sign a supplemental appropriations bill that would restore $139 million in aid to struggling cities across the state, provided that oversight funding remain in place.Christie and the Democrats have clashed over the oversight money. Democrats say they want state government -- not the towns that get the aid -- to pay for oversight. Christie says Democrats removed the oversight function when they took out the money to pay for it."I don't want these cities to go bankrupt," Christie said, "but I am not going to send the money of the citizens of Hasbrouck Heights to Camden unless I can tell the people of Hasbrouck Heights, `Don't worry. Myself, the DCA commissioner, local government services and their staff are watching that money and making sure that it's spent for the purpose it was sent there for.'"Christie and the Democrats are still feuding over the $29.7 billion budget the governor signed on June 30. Christie proposed a budget in February that Democrats later rejected. They sent the governor their budget days before the deadline, and Christie struck $1.3 billion in spending before signing the document. Democrats have been trying since to get some of the funding restored.For example, Christie cut $5 million from Legal Services after trimming $9.7 million last year. The cut means two out of three indigent clients who ask for a lawyer to fend off foreclosure, to mediate a tenant dispute or file a permanent restraining order in a domestic violence case go unserved, the head of Legal Services told a legislative panel last week.On Monday, Christie indicated he was open to considering other restorations."I am an open book. If they send it, I'll consider it, but I've got to consider in the context of keeping a responsible surplus," Christie said. "I'm willing to consider any number of things they send to me. Not saying I'll do them. It depends on what they send, what it looks like, what else we're talking about in the context of talking to the treasurer as to where we are with surplus."
- Senate Budget Committee
- Chris Christie