As the newly elected, reelected and in-term governors prepare for the year ahead, these “State of the State” addresses could foreshadow issues that President Obama will take up in his own State of the Union address on January 25. Chief among them: Budget crises.
As seen in this recap, the plan of attack on state deficits varies widely across the nation.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls for “fundamental realignment” of state government.
Cuomo separated his celebratory inauguration from his State of the State address to talk business. Danny Hakim and Nicholas Confessore, of The New York Times, report that Cuomo favors government reform to increase the efficiency of tax dollars.
In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie talks of three comprehensive reforms:
1. Comprehensive Tax Reform: Says he will propose first installment next month in his budget address.
2. Pension and Benefit Reform: Pushed for sweeping public employee pension changes he proposed last fall.
3. Education Reform: Wants more school choice and charter schools, the closing of bad schools, teacher merit pay and an end to tenure.
In Mississippi, Gov. Haley Barbour saves face.
Reeling from comments that suggested that Barbour was diluting the gravity of segregation in Mississippi, Barbour announced that it is now time to build a civil rights museum in Jackson. Barbour, who is a potential candidate in 2012, also took the time to criticize Obama’s policies for increasing the cost of energy. He did not mention the Gulf oil spill.
In California, Gov. Jerry Brown runs the tough numbers.
In an effort to break the cycle of failed budget cuts proposed in California, Brown dissolved the problem into simple math: To make up for the $25.4 billion deficit, $12.5 billion will come from budget cuts and $12 billion will come from tax increases.
In Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn likely to favor income tax hike.
Three days after Quinn’s combined State of the State address and inauguration, the Illinois legislature passed a 66 percent increase in income taxes. Although Quinn did not specifically address the proposed increase, the economy was top among his talking points. Monica Davey, from The New York Times, reports that Quinn favors income tax increases to drive down the state’s woeful budget problems.
William McGurn of the Wall Street Journal highlights the differences between Quinn and Cuomo in attacking their respective state budgets.