|1-11-09 'Corzine State of State speech to put economy front & center'|
ASBURY PARK PRESS: "...He said national challenges are impacting almost every aspect of life in New Jersey. “On the other hand, we have a lot of good things that are happening in New Jersey by comparison.” STAR LEDGER: "Last year, Gov. Jon S. Corzine warned in his State of the State speech that New Jersey was dangerously deep in debt and bold moves - such as reducing the state's budget and leasing the state's toll roads - were needed to get out of the predicament....A year later, Corzine faces the harder task of describing the status of New Jersey in an election year in which official predictions expect state revenue to fall about $2.1 billion short by the end of the budget year in June and just one week after his administration announced $812.2 million in additional cuts..."
State of State: Corzine plans to convey sense of optimism
Posted By Bob Ingle On January 12, 2009 @ 1:34 pm In an impromptu Statehouse hallway press conference this afternoon, Corzine said the administration was still writing tomorrow’s State of the State address. “We’re working on it.” He said national challenges are impacting almost every aspect of life in New Jersey. “On the other hand, we have a lot of good things that are happening in New Jersey by comparison.” He said his job Tuesday is to properly acknowledge the challenges but also speak to the fact much is going well. A report saying our kids are No. 2 in the nation in the group likely to succeed in their ability to go on to be successful in the workplace and college will be mentioned. “I think we will get through these (bad times) and recover strongly in New Jersey. I want to convey a sense of optimism.”
Corzine: State of State speech to put economy front and center
TRENTON - Last year, Gov. Jon S. Corzine warned in his State of the State speech that New Jersey was dangerously deep in debt and bold moves - such as reducing the state's budget and leasing the state's toll roads - were needed to get out of the predicament.
A year later, Corzine faces the harder task of describing the status of New Jersey in an election year in which official predictions expect state revenue to fall about $2.1 billion short by the end of the budget year in June and just one week after his administration announced $812.2 million in additional cuts.
If last year's speech was dire, just how much gloom is possible in this year's speech Tuesday?
Corzine dodged questions about his intentions Friday, saying with the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Barack Obama, people already feel better about the state of the nation.
"I think we will see some shift in the psychology of the country surrounding the fact that we have a new president who will lead, taking into consideration everyone in the country, not narrow groups," Corzine said.
"You know I generally end up writing these the night before, two nights before, let's say. I'd have to say: To be determined," Corzine joked when pressed about the contents of the speech.
But he indicated that the obvious topic, the worsening state and national economy, would be front and center.
"You can't ignore the fact that the public is under great stress," he told reporters. "There's 48,000 folks who are in foreclosure. The delinquency numbers are skyrocketing, people are losing their jobs, there's a lot of people who maybe haven't lost their job but are worried about losing their job. They see their communities under enormous stress."
At the same time, he said he was hopeful, adding that despite troubles, there are long-term opportunities that will leave the state and nation in a better position.
"My view is that we're going to be stronger," Corzine said. "But unfortunately the cure isn't going to be that much fun to go through."
Montclair State University political science professor Brigid Harrison said she expected Corzine to talk about three things: "The economy, the economy and the economy," she said. "And if he wants to get sidelined, he might want to talk about the economy."
She said it would be a political speech, with an eye to the Republicans lining up to take him on in the November election. These include former U.S. Attorney General Christopher J. Christie, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, Assemblyman Richard A. Merkt, R-Morris, and others.
"Given how the Republican field is shaping up, he probably wants to remind voters that this is his area of expertise," she said. She said she believed that voters give him credence on the topic.
She also said to counter Christie's record of more than 130 convictions or pleas from corrupt New Jersey officials during his seven year term, the governor should mention what corruption fighting has gone on in his watch.
"It will be interesting," she said, "because we'll see what Jon Corzine emerges whether his game is on or not."
But some Republicans said that they expected Corzine to focus more on national economic problems instead of those in New Jersey, said Assemblyman Joseph Malone, R-Ocean, Monmouth, Burlington, saying residents did not want to hear that rhetoric, but rather what the governor was going to do to improve the state's business climate.
Malone, the General Assembly's Republican budget officer, also said he believed that with the carnage on Wall Street in recent months, Corzine would do well to not focus on his decades with the Goldman Sachs investment bank.
"The bloom has gone off the rose," Malone said.
Instead, he encouraged the governor to use the forum to take strong and bold stands, saying for instance he would support a proposal to block all state and local tax increases during the next 18 months.
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State of the State
The governor's speech at 1 p.m. Tuesday will be broadcast live on the New Jersey Network, channel 23 on local cable providers.
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