There’s a lot riding on Gov. Chris Christie’s sixth annual budget address, which you can watch here on a live stream from the Statehouse starting at 2 p.m. today.
How will the governor propose to deal with rising health benefit costs, burgeoning state budget deficits, a disastrous state credit rating, and property taxes that now average about $9,000 a year despite a 2 percent state-mandated cap?
And will he even mention what may be the two biggest issues facing the state?
The nearly bankrupt Transportation Trust Fund needs an infusion of billions of dollars to pay for repairs and replacements of the state’s many crumbling roads and bridges – and there’s a lot of talk of raising the state’s fuel tax to accomplish that, perhaps offsetting it with elimination of inheritance taxes that some are spurring an exodus by the state’s more affluent taxpayers.
And a New Jersey judge yesterday ruled that Christie can no longer shortchange the state’s pension fund, and must immediately make up a $1.6 billion shortfall. But administration officials say that ruling will be appealed, so it might be that Christie won’t even address that issue.