WNYC's Bob Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist. While at WNYC he has reported on a wide gamut of major public policy questions ranging from immigration and homeland security to power outages and utility mergers.
The pomp and circumstance of the 2013 Governor's State of the State address comes in an election year in which both the governorship and the entire state legislature are up for grabs.
With the state still reeling from the multi-billion dollar destruction wrought by Sandy, Governor Christie's major theme during his address to the legislature will be the post Sandy recovery effort.
The state of the state address comes at a time when he is enjoying his highest popularity ratings since he's been in office thanks to in-roads he's made with the state's rank-and-file Democrats.
Christie's popularity has continued to surge while the state's economy appears stalled. New Jersey’s unemployment rate and foreclosure numbers are some of the highest in the nation.
In published comments confirmed by Christie's press office as accurate, Governor Christie left the door open that he might also make a pitch for tax cuts to help jump start the state's economy.
Gordon MacInnes, president of New Jersey Policy Perspective, says the state faces a looming fiscal crisis and an uncertain fate in Washington when it comes to the post Federal aid. He says Governor Christie should not continue to push for tax cuts.
"It seems unlikely that we are going to see the kind of surge in economic activity, in new employment that would make the tax cut proposal like he made for this year's budget any more plausible," MacInnes said.
The state's non-partisan Offices of Legislative Services recently testified before the state Senate Budget Committee that actual state tax revenues continue to lag hundreds of millions of dollars behind the Christie Administration's projections of an 8 percent increase in revenues. Las year Democrats resisted the Governor's call for tax cuts.
The Governor's fiscal blueprint for next year's budget is not due until next month.
"I think a tax cut is an important part of any conversation going forward," said Tom Kean , the Senate minority leader. "I mean the people of New Jersey are over taxed and the actions in Washington of late only make that tax burden more immediate."
The governor’s focus on Sandy recovering has support among many Democrats, including Matt Doherty, mayor of Belmar, a shore community hit hard by Sandy. With Memorial Day fast approaching, the town has borrowed money to fix its boardwalk. Doherty doesn’t want to see partisan politics or next November’s election interfere with the rebuild, he said.
"We are starting Wednesday to drive piles into the Sand to contruct 1.3 miles of boardwalk and Governor Christie is going to be there for that event as well," Doherty said.