Corzine to deliver State of the State

January 12, 2009 9:36:09 PM PST
The economy is bad, but the situation isn't hopeless. A lot of New Jerseyans are out of work, but the state's unemployment rate is better than the national average.

When Gov. Jon S. Corzine delivers his annual State of the State message on Tuesday, he will hope to strike a realistic, yet optimistic tone. The Democratic governor will acknowledge the financial challenges facing the Garden State while assuring New Jerseyans there are better days ahead.

"This is one of those difficult times where we have tremendous national challenges that are implicating almost every aspect of life. On the other hand, we have a lot of really good things that are happening," Corzine said Monday. "My job tomorrow is to properly acknowledge the challenges, but also speak to the fact that much is going well."

With New Jersey facing serious budget shortfalls both in the current fiscal year and the next one, no blockbuster plans or costly new programs are expected to be announced.

In the speech, to be delivered a week before the inauguration of Democrat Barack Obama, Corzine is expected to laud the president-elect as a partner to the states.

"I think we will see some shift in the basic psychology of the country surrounding the fact that we have a new president who will lead taking into consideration everybody in the country, not narrow groups," Corzine said Friday.

Like Obama, Corzine will emphasize that the nation can prosper while addressing such complex issues as climate change and health care.

He will also emphasize that New Jersey has been forward-looking in its response to the economic crisis, likely highlighting the assistance and recovery measures he proposed in October, many of which have become law.

For example, legislation he signed Friday is intended to keep people in their homes, either by preventing mortgage foreclosure or allowing residents to remain in their foreclosed-on homes as tenants while re-establishing themselves financially.

"We have actually, in this housing area, created a template that could very easily be assimilated into the bailout program for financial institutions," Corzine said. "The structure and the mechanics of what we've done is first among the states in its breadth, its number of levers to try to keep people in their homes."

He is also expected to mention plans to kick-start billions in construction projects to create jobs, and the $3,000 incentive to New Jersey businesses for every job they create and keep for a year.

Corzine said Monday he will talk about New Jersey's educational system by illustrating a new report showing Garden State school children second in the nation in terms of ability to succeed in the work force or college.

Corzine will deliver the address at 1 p.m. at the Statehouse in Trenton.


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