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Gov. Phil Murphy. announces an agreement with legislative leaders to pass a millionaires tax and a middle-class tax rebate in September 2020. (Photo: Office of the Governor.)

Murphy names members of Wealth Disparity Task Force

By David Wildstein, September 14 2021 5:35 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy planned Wealth Disparity Task Force to combat wealth gaps based on race and ethnicity was finalized on Tuesday with the appointment of 23 members.

The task force will be co-chaired by Lt Gov. Sheila Oliver, along with state Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride, Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway, and Maria Vizcarrondo, the president of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers.

“Income inequality is one of the preeminent and far-reaching issues in today’s society,” Murphy said.  “We cannot have a stronger and fairer New Jersey without examining the causes of our wealth gaps and without establishing strategies to combat this long-standing problem. I look forward to working with the Wealth Disparity Task Force and continuing our Administration’s efforts to create an economy that works for every New Jerseyan.”

The task force also includes five other members of the governor’s cabinet: Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli, Labor Commissioner Rob Asaro-Angelo, acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck, Secretary of Higher Education Brian Bridges, and acting Education Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan.

Murphy also added his chief policy advisor, Zakiya Smith Ellis, and his nominee for Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, Rachel Wainer Apter.  Wainer Apter serves as director of the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights.

Additional panel members include Jeannine Frisby, a longtime state government official and private sector leader; New Jersey Policy Perspective President Brandon McKoy; National Medial Fellowships President Michellene Davis; Latino Action Network Foundation program coordinator Cuqui Rivera; and Rutgers Assistant Chancellor Diane Hill.  Two clergymen are on the task force: Rev. Bolivar Flores of the New Jersey Reentry Corporation, and Rev. Eric Dobson of the Fair Share Housing Center.

Oliver praised Murphy, her running mate, for taking action to respond to the racial wealth disparities that have been plaguing our Black and Hispanic or Latino residents since New Jersey gained statehood in 1787.”

“The root causes of these disparities have taken centuries to establish within our system and they will not be fixed overnight,” she said.  “This taskforce and the working groups established within it will work to address the economic, housing, criminal justice, and health inequities that exist.”

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