New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine yesterday in his annual state of the state speech called for level property-tax increases and urged borrowing for open-space preservation while asserting his commitment to steer the Garden State through tough economic times.

During the nearly 50-minute address, Corzine highlighted his administration's achievements to date and said the state's current fiscal challenges, including a 6.1% unemployment rate, are his top concern. On Jan 2, the governor announced $800 million of spending cuts and proposed tapping into $500 million of funds previously allocated toward paying down long-term debt along with rainy-day and fiscal 2008 surplus funds to help close a $2.1 billion deficit in the budget for fiscal 2009, which began July 1.

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