By Cleve Bryan
TRENTON, N.J., (CBS) – With his administration under fire and under investigation, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivers his State of the State address.
He says he and his staff are determined to do better.
The governor says he won’t let the scandal distract him from pushing forward with his agenda.
That agenda includes a plan to make the school day, and the school year, longer in New Jersey.
Less than a week after spending nearly two hours talking to reporters about a traffic jam scandal involving former staff and appointees (See Related Story), Governor Chris Christie got right to the issue in his annual State of the State address.
“I am the governor and I am ultimately responsible for all that happens on my watch – both good and bad. Without a doubt we will cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to ensure that this breach of trust does not happen again,” the governor said.
Moving onto his second term agenda, Christie says there needs to be more bi-partisan effort to lower property taxes.
“Property taxes are still too high. So today, I ask for you to join me in enacting a new property tax relief initiative that tackles the root causes that are driving up property taxes in the first place,” Gov. Christie said.
Christie also spoke about sick leave and pension reform. He says there are ways to cut state spending.
“If we do not choose to reduce our soaring pension costs and debt service costs, we will miss the opportunity to improve the lives of every New Jersey citizen, not just a select few,” he said.
And for more than 10 minutes, Christie addressed education. He praised changes underway in urban school districts and suggested that all students will achieve more by being in class longer.
“We should take these steps, every possible step, to boost student achievement. And one key step is to lengthen the school day and the school year, these children more time in school,” the governor said.