‘Which Christie Will Show Up’ for NJ Budget Address?
Gov. Chris Christie will delivers his budget address Tuesday afternoon at the statehouse, in his first public appearance since coming off of the campaign trail.
Observers of the New Jersey political scene will be watching and listening carefully to the Trenton address. Fairleigh Dickinson University political science professor Peter Wooley says if Christie had written this speech from South Carolina where the last GOP debate took place, it would have had more of a national focus, which many believe was the case with his State of the State address in January. Now that Christie's bid for a spot on the presidential ballot has come to an end, however, analysts believe his speech will focus on the Garden State.
Wooley said one looming question has to do with taxes and whether the governor will stand by his promise not to approve new taxes.
"Is he going to stick to his pledge of no new taxes," Wooley wondered.
Wooley says that will be tough, given the ongoing budgetary pressures to solve the underfunded public worker pension problem. He says another question Christie will have to address is whether he is "going to find a different way of funding bridges and tunnels and roads in New Jersey."
According to Wooley, Christie's staff, if they on their game, will have to present some new initiative that will have broad appeal and address significant New Jersey problems.
Patrick Murray of the Monmouth University Polling Institute says in this second-to-the-last budget address for the governor, "the pension fund, the transportation trust fund...these are just huge issues that are facing us right now."
Murray also wondered "which Chris Christie will show up" for Tuesday's budget address: the guy who still wants to be president, or the one who wants to recommit himself to his day job.
Also, beyond the partisan differences in Trenton, Murray said, "I don't think that there is anybody on either side of the aisle, being honest, that thinks that we can fund the transportation trust fund without raising some sort of new revenue from some place."