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Christie's budget gets praise, with qualifications

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With the Senate Budget Committee set to hold its first hearing on Gov. Chris Christie’s Fiscal Year 2014 spending plan next week, the State Street blog took a look at how the state’s editorial writers viewed the governor’s budget address.

The reaction was mixed.

The Record of Bergen County noted the political implications of this year’s budget, summing it up as a tale of two governors:

“One is the Republican leader with national ambitions, who promoted more public employee benefit reforms, a voucher-style trial program for public education in low-income communities and a 10 percent tax cut. The other spoke of drug courts and made national news by embracing an expansion of Medicaid in New Jersey.”

The Courier News, in Bridgewater, expressed similarly conflicted feelings. The paper took the governor to task for calling for bipartisanship even as he “savaged” his Democratic predecessors. And while crediting Christie for his commitment to pension reform, property tax controls and the Medicaid expansion, the paper says the governor didn’t talk enough about job creation, or offer a robust enough plan for Hurricane Sandy aid.

“The highlights in Christie’s good-news address are encouraging, as far as they go. But they don’t go far. There remain many unanswered questions about some of New Jersey’s most vital needs. The bad news, we suspect, lies ahead.”

The state’s largest paper, The Star-Ledger, also noticed the lack of jobs talk, but chose to give the governor credit for what the paper said has been his “signature achievement” – pension reform.

“But make no mistake, Christie did the right thing by fully funding the state pension fund. It will help stabilize the fund and puts the state on a sounder fiscal footing. And it will no doubt pay dividends for Christie’s political future.”

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