Gov. Chris Christie sets deadlines on several plans during final budget address
Gov. Chris Christie delivered his final state budget address as governor Tuesday and he set deadlines to accomplish several aspects of his plan.
A group of protesters gathered outside the State House ahead of Christie's speech to slam his record.
"The governor has failed the state of New Jersey," said Analilia Mejia, of NJ Working Families. "We continue to poison our children with lead. We continue to have rampant poverty across the state."
But Christie defended himself against his critics during his address.
"I'm ready. I'm willing. Let's get to work one last time," Christie said.
The governor said that he did help the poor during his time in office, with a larger earned income tax credit.
He also say that he wants to increase funding for lead remediation across the state.
Christie said that his main priority this year is to fight the state's drug epidemic. He said to do that he wants to establish a permanent fund with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield to pay for new opportunities for drug rehabilitation. He set a deadline for June 30 to make this work.
"I'm confident Horizon will embrace this opportunity," Christie said.
The governor said that with many of New Jersey's schools chronically underfunded, another one of his goals is to create a new school funding formula. He says he wants to work with New Jersey lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to create a new plan - and he wants it done in 100 days.
"If we can't do it in 100 days, shame on us," the governor said.
Christie had proposed a funding plan of equal money for each New Jersey student regardless of the school district. But critics said that was not fair. The governor says that now he is leaving every option on the table to make a new plan.
The governor also said that he wanted to make a $2.5 billion payment into the pension system next year. He also proposed to contribute state revenues from the lottery to state pension plans.