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When Governor Phil Murphy made a reference to his not giving up on his pursuit of a millionaire’s tax, the same chamber that twice denied him went practically bonkers with applause.
Had John Currie’s slug-down of LeRoy Jones made that much of an impact on a governing body long controlled by the South Jersey Brain Trust? It was almost as though a sarcophogus had suddenly creaked open in the heretofore millionaire’s tax-funereal (at least since Chris Christie was governor) room.
No, in fact, the most full-throated cries of support seemed to come from the assembly gallery, where the likes of Chief of Staff George Helmy, Democratic State Committee Vice Chair Peg Schaffer, and Currie himself sat among public labor types and other members of the seemingly mojo-deprived-no-mo Murphy Administration.
Under the watchful eye of former Asemblyman Jack Ciattarelli – set to formally kick off his campaign for the Republican nomination for Governor 2021 – the Governor’s comments on the subject verbatim:
“I am going to fight every day for the middle-class values that built New Jersey in the first place.
“It’s why I am not giving up the fight for a millionaire’s tax, so we can ease the property tax burden on millions of middle-class families and seniors, and do more to help fund our public schools.
“Overwhelming majorities of residents – of all political stripes – support this. We should, too.
“The millionaires and corporate CEOs made out just fine in the last recession – and, I assure you, they will again when the next one hits. Thanks to the federal tax system, the richest 400 Americans now pay a lower tax rate than the nation’s middle class – the first time that has ever happened.”
Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) later in his party rejoinder panned the governor’s effort, and said Murphy had shipped in a cheering squad for the millionaire’s tax.
“Since he’s been governor, he has increased the state budget by $3 billion [11%] Bramnick griped, who pointed to the Democratic legislature’s resistance to the tax.
“I think the governor, in his heart, is a true progressive,” said the Republican leader, another potential GOP candidate for governor next year.