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January 20, 2016

Christie Vetoes Bill to Levy Fees on Nonprofit Hospitals

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie rejected legislation Tuesday to require the state's nonprofit hospitals to pay fees to local governments for police, fire, and other services, The Record and NJ Advance Media write. The measure was among several state bills that fell to override-proof "pocket vetoes" due to gubernatorial inaction in the week after the January 12 close of the legislative session.

The bill, which was backed by the New Jersey Hospital Association, would have enshrined nonprofit medical centers' property-tax exemptions while assessing "community service" fees based on their size and facilities. Advocates for the measure said it was necessary to head off lawsuits such as that which led to a Morristown, N.J., hospital paying millions of dollars to the town after a judge ruled it liable for back taxes.

The measure was opposed by New Jersey municipalities and consumer advocates, who said the proposed fees were too lenient. Supporters accused Mr. Christie of letting the measure die because it could have been construed as a tax increase, to the possible detriment of the Republican governor's presidential campaign.