Election year politics doesn’t always nudge its way into Phil Murphy’s Covid update briefings, but it did today.
And the governor was ready with a haymaker of sorts.
After praising LG Sheila Oliver, Murphy said of last night’s debate, “Her opponent said something that is ludicrous.”
That opponent would be Diane Allen, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.
Murphy reacted to Allen ridiculing the governor’s pledge last week not to raise taxes if he gets a new term.
Allen said that three days after making that pledge, Murphy did, in fact, raise taxes on businesses by $250 million.
The governor said that he actually signed a bipartisan bill spacing out tax increases on businesses to replenish the state’s unemployment trust fund. He said Allen had the facts wrong.
Nonetheless, the unemployment trust fund has become controversial of sorts.
All recognize it’s been tapped greatly because of the pandemic, but how to pump more money into it is at issue.
Rather than taxes, Republicans and even some Democrats want Murphy to use federal aid that came New Jersey’s way under pandemic relief legislation.
Murphy has so far resisted doing that.
He said today without elaborating that the federal money will be spent “responsibly” and “carefully” over the next 27 months.
Guess Murphy expects to hang around for a while.