DiFrancesco, Byrne, Florio assess State of the State speech

TRENTON – Three former governors weighed in on Gov. Chris Christie’s State of the State Address.

Former Gov. Donald DiFrancesco, a Republican who served from 2000 to 2001, called the speech “a home run,” saying Christie covered all the bases pretty well.

“There was a lot of reaching out to the other side,” he said. “I think that’s a good thing.” He praised the 10 percent income tax cut proposal, saying it will help residents and businesses keep jobs here.

He added the governor showed a compassionate side as well, with his propsoals for drug programs and school choice.

However, Democratic Gov. Jim Florio, who served from 1990 to 1994, couldn’t help but wonder how the state could possibly afford the 10 percent across-the-board income tax cut.

He also didn’t favor the governor’s proposed education alternatives, such as the Opportunity Scholarship Act, saying it diverts money from public school districts and would theoretically help only a small percentage of students.

“I’m not a big fan of vouchers,” he said.

Gov. Brenden Byrne, who served from 1974 to 1982, said an income tax cut is possible, despite a Democratic controlled Legislature that often calls for having wealthy residents pay their fair share.

“Anybody would be in favor of a tax cut,” Byrne said. DiFrancesco, Byrne, Florio assess State of the State speech