Quick Real-Time Thoughts on Murphy’s State of the State

Everywhere the stench of decayed relationships – or of relationships promised, never struck and rank without ever having come into being  – filled the Statehouse air as Governor Phil Murphy gently acknowledged the atmosphere in his State of the State this afternoon.

“The people I talk with — in diners and town halls, on walks down the Shore, in houses of worship, or riding NJ TRANSIT — never hesitate to give me a piece of their mind,” he said, perhaps over-making the case for the irritability of real people compared to those devious intentions of legislative leadership in Trenton.

Then, with Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19) looking on, Murphy return-twisted the knife.

“Frankly, the more time I spend outside Trenton the more I learn that all the answers do not come from Trenton,” he said, with a grin.

It was his money line: that out he needed to be able to stay the time he spends away from the sustained beating in Trenton is actually quality time with regular “folks.”

“I often hear, ‘we need some help.’ Help paying our bills … help paying for college … help saving for the future. That is not a demand for a hand-out, it is an acknowledgement that their struggles are real and there is no shame in that,” the governor said. “I hear people say that the system doesn’t work for them. And, make no mistake, the unchecked corporate tax incentive program is the most glaring example.”

A question about primaries hovering amid a majority wallow of his own party aligned against him, he tried to stick his landing on that idea.

“In these challenging times, the people of New Jersey are not wrong to be concerned,” said the governor. “But they are far more right to be hopeful that we will level the playing field and give them their shot at success. That is what drives me every single day. And, it is what has led us to do many good things together.”

Then he flashed his friendliest grin of the afternoon.

“By any measure, working together – with Senate President Sweeney, Speaker Coughlin, and each of you – we had a productive year,” Murphy said.

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