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Poll: What’s the Most Important Issue Facing New Jersey?

Trenton can’t work miracles, but where should the governor and lawmakers concentrate their efforts?

Over the next two weeks, Gov. Chris Christie and the state Legislature will be laying out their 2015 agenda. Christie’s State of the State address is on Tuesday, and Democratic lawmakers have been hiring new staff and staking out positions on the many pressing problems facing New Jersey next year.

Although most would agree that the following issues all must be addressed, which do you think is problem numero uno -- one that Trenton can help fix?

  • The public employee pension crisis needs to be addressed. If we don’t fix this, there is not going to be any money to fix anything else.

  • The Transportation Trust fund must be revitalized. New Jersey’s roads, bridges, airports, and public transit are its lifeblood. Its location on the Eastern Seaboard, with easy access to New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., is what defines the state. If we continue to allow our transportation infrastructure to deteriorate, we’ll become a third-rate entity.

  • Property taxes must be lowered -- somehow. All the gimmicks, entreaties, and threats have had little or no impact. Property taxes continue to rise. We need to figure out how this can be addressed -- whether it is through regionalization, rebalancing of the tax structure, or some other means.

  • When it comes to education, the culture of blame and test, test, test must be rolled back. New Jersey is known for having among the best schools in the nation, if not the best. Applying testing standards that are meant for failing schools is not going to benefit our kids -- and in fact, could damage our strong educational system. We’ve got to put a stop to it now.

  • We’ve got to figure out how to change our transactional political culture. New Jersey has some of the strongest ethics laws in the country. The problem isn’t so much illegal violations -- it’s the legal version of “one hand washes the other” that pervades the system. Obviously, some of this can’t be avoided but it’s rampant in New Jersey and prevents average citizens from getting their due.

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