Christie set to deliver delayed State of State address

Jessica Perry//January 16, 2012

Christie set to deliver delayed State of State address

Jessica Perry//January 16, 2012

New Jersey’s business community awaits Gov. Chris Christie‘s delayed annual State of the State address, to be delivered Tuesday afternoon.

Christie’s speech is expected to highlight his administration’s efforts over the past year to call for advancing some items left on his agenda, including education reform and the end of paid unused sick leave for public employees.

The speech originally was scheduled to be delivered Jan. 10, but was delayed after Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce died the day before the scheduled speech. Instead, Christie offered remarks memorializing DeCroce after members of the Legislature were sworn in.

There will be a formal ceremonial reorganization for the Legislature at the Trenton War Memorial at noon Tuesday, followed by Christie’s speech in the Assembly chamber at 3 p.m.

Business leaders have said that they would like to hear Christie call for the state to continue to move in the direction it has been heading since his inauguration two years ago.

In particular, business groups have supported the $185 million in business tax cuts that were approved this year, and would like to see those cuts continue to be phased in. The total price tag in 2015 is projected to be more than $600 million. Details of Christie’s proposed budget for the fiscal year starting on July 1 won’t be available until his annual budget address Feb. 21.

In interviews earlier this month, business leaders said they are looking for Christie to continue to advocate for reforms in state government and education.

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce President Thomas A. Bracken said he hopes Christie continues to set an optimistic tone in his speech. Bracken said he isn’t expecting too many policy specifics, but that it is important for businesses to know that Christie will continue to advance his agenda.

New Jersey Business & Industry Association Senior Vice President Melanie Willoughby also said businesses are looking for Christie to call for further education reform.