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Poll: What Does the Coming Year Hold in Store for NJ?

Peer into the crystal ball or read the tea leaves, what’s going to be the top topic of 2017?

The passing year was certainly an eventful one for New Jersey, as a look at some of the hot topics demonstrates: Gov. Chris Christie’s run for president, Bridgegate, public-employee pensions, and transportation funding, to just name a few — though whether these are high points or low moments depends on your point of view.

Looking ahead, what’s going to be the dominant headline of 2017?

  • New Jersey’s fiscal crisis: Starting with the state budget this winter, New Jersey’s pension mess is sure to suck up all the air in the room and dictate much of what the state can accomplish.

  • School funding: The pension crisis is profound, to be sure, but school funding is the issue that will touch local communities and residents the most, and likely spur the most debate. Add to it the possibility that the state Supreme Court could weigh in as well with the latest Abbott v. Burke challenge.

  • Gubernatorial and legislative elections: Everything will be consumed by the election of a new governor and all 120 seats of the Legislature. There may not be much suspense at this point, given the dearth of credible challengers, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of chatter.

  • The Trump effect: With Donald Trump’s election to the White House, big changes are certain to come in federal policies dealing with healthcare, education, and the environment, to name just a few areas. And it will be up to states like New Jersey to adjust and address, making the State House the front line in these national debates.

  • Christie’s last hurrah: His poll numbers may be tanking and the lame-duck season has started early, but Christie is not one to leave New Jersey without a bang. Count on him to dominate headlines one way or the other.

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