Chris Christie to Deliver Budget Address Tuesday [AUDIO]
On Tuesday, Gov. Chris Christie will deliver his annual state budget address before a joint session of the legislature in which he'll explain how he wants to spend New Jersey's tax dollars.
The newly-installed Assembly Speaker doesn't know what Christie will propose, but he knows what he wants to hear.
"In his State of the State (Address) he sort of inkled that potentially we will not be making a pension payment which I think is off the table," said Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (D-Secaucus). "We need to make that payment."
By law, New Jersey is required to make a roughly $2.4 billion payment into the public employee pension system this year. A spokesman for Christie said in January that the governor wants to explore future reforms.
In his State of the State message, Christie also talked about education reforms. He said the school calendar is, "antiquated both educationally and culturally." And the governor added, "It is time to lengthen both the school day and school year in New Jersey."
"That may be a good thing, but it comes with a price tag," Prieto said. "What would it cost? Budgets are about prioritizing so we need to see what are the most important things and we need to see what, realistically our revenues are going to be."
For years, Christie has been calling for a tax cut, but the Democrat-controlled legislature has refused to give it to him because the leaders feel the state doesn't have the money to pay for it.
"We have to be able to afford it," Prieto explained. "We'd love to do it, but I think we should not have a focus on that."