New Jersey is Actually Cool, Says Murphy
The “cool kids” are from New Jersey.
Phil Murphy used his annual State of the State address Tuesday to essentially make that very point.
The state traditionally has been the butt of jokes and a routine punch line. Thanks to such mindless TV shows as “Jersey Shore” and “Real Housewives,” the stigma is tough to shake.
The governor tried to do just that in an address that was heavy on what’s good – and what’s going to get better – about New Jersey.
Still, Murphy for the most part spoke with little emotion and passion. That was unfortunate.
His overall theme was something he has mentioned before.
A state does not have to choose between fiscal stability and expanding programs to meet the needs of the people. It can do both,
The governor highlighted a minimum wage that is now $14.13 per hour, a property tax rebate program known as Anchor, more investments in public schools and a plan to build and/or restore Boardwalks along the Jersey Shore – the real one.
Yet, he also mentioned how the state’s credit rating has improved and how his administration is trying to combat rising car theft. He said car thefts over the last four months of 2022 declined by 13 percent from the same time period the previous year.
The state’s fiscal health and crime are traditional concerns of Republicans.
The governor said economic growth in New Jersey exceeds that of some states that, in his words, cut social programs to finance tax cuts for the wealthy. He identified two of them – Georgia and Florida.
“Some governors boast that their state is where ‘woke goes to die.” I’m not sure I know what that’s supposed to mean.”
The obvious reference was to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
That’s not how New Jersey is.
“New Jersey is where opportunity lives, where education is valued, where justice is embraced, where compassion is the norm and where the American Dream is alive and well,” Murphy said, raising his voice for one of the few times.
Looking ahead, the governor said New Jersey will benefit from emerging industries coming into the state, namely offshore wind and cannabis.
He also highlighted how the motion picture industry last year “poured more than half-a-billion dollars into our state’s economy.”
This established a contrast with predecessor Chris Christie, whose administration was lukewarm about boosting in-state TV and film production.
Earlier, Murphy took a more identifiable swipe at Christie, saying that his idea of economic development was to award generous tax breaks to businesses without any thought of the future. He said the only concern was getting a deal done fast enough to be used in a campaign commercial.
There was – surprisingly – some real news. Murphy proposed revising state liquor laws, which now limit how many liquor licenses a municipality can award. This ain’t going to be easy.
The governor spent the beginning of his speech reiterating his commitment to the middle class by using his old campaign theme:
“We are stronger and we are fairer,” he said.
He also spoke of burgeoning “Jersey Pride” and trotted out this line:
“It is okay to admit it – it’s cool to be from New Jersey again.”
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Murphy made a ridiculous statement when he talked about “A state does not have to choose between fiscal stability and expanding programs to meet the needs of the people. It can do both”. Oh yeah??? Really??? I guess New Jerseyans don’t have to pull in their budgets and continue to spend every dollar they make, right??? Murphy has no clue when it comes to economic stability and gov’t programs. You cannot spend your way out of it. Something has to give. And, New Jersey taxpayers are tired of giving to ever expanding programs that cannot be afforded.
And, what about the $10 BILLION DOLLARS Murphy borrowed during the pandemic??? Where did that go to??? We had better not hear a word about how we can’t meet the New Jersey budget and need to raise taxes. Murphy borrowed the money, and he said that he wasn’t giving it back. So, who’s going to pay for it???? If he doesn’t use that money solely for property tax relief for NJ homeowners, then Murphy has committed felony theft by deception, felony criminal fraud, and felony official misconduct.