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Statements on Gov. Murphy’s State of the State Address

Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton)

“The Legislature spent the past few weeks pushing through a wish list of Governor Murphy’s progressive priorities, including nearly 200 bills yesterday, and today we heard him call for more of the same,” said Bucco (R-25). “Unfortunately, what we didn’t hear from the Governor was any plan to improve affordability for the people of New Jersey. In fact, his call for higher taxes will only add to a combined tax burden that is already among the highest in the nation.”

Among the priorities highlighted by Governor Murphy in his State of the State address was a renewed push for an income tax increase this year.

“Governor Murphy continues to overreach with plans to spend money we don’t have,” added Bucco. “He’s repeating the failed policies of Governors Corzine and McGreevey. The income tax increase that he’s talking about has been tried before. All it did was drive families from New Jersey. Contrary to Governor Murphy’s contention, tax increases do not improve affordability for all of our residents.”

State Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-Jersey City)

“I thank Governor Murphy for his commitment to enacting the reforms outlined by the Criminal Sentencing and Disposition Commission, including the elimination of mandatory sentencing for non-violent drug offenders.  I look forward to working with the governor to get this to his desk so we can ensure our state’s criminal justice system provides equal treatment for all New Jerseyans.”

New Jersey Working Families State Director Sue Altman

“Governor Murphy took office promising to change the culture in Trenton, and the bold ethics proposals he outlined today will help ensure that state government serves working families – and not powerful special interests. Stronger financial disclosures and tighter pay-to-play requirements will shine the light of transparency on Trenton backrooms dominated by insiders.

“We also call on legislative leaders to listen to the governor and enact the necessary reforms to the state’s broken tax incentives program to ensure that it works to benefit working families and not politically connected businesses. Any new tax incentive program must be capped to protect the state’s fiscal health and must be focused on true community economic development by ensuring benefits flow to the people who need it most through requirements like local hiring, a focus on small businesses and commercial corridors and community benefits.”

Garden State Initiative (GSI) President Regina M. Egea 

“The Governor’s Address, in contrast to his stated intent, did not confront the root cause of high property taxes – our government spends too much. Increasing “state aid” does not fix the problem, it only masks it. It’s the fiscal equivalent of treating a broken bone with an aspirin.

The Governor, while talking of savings on health benefits, needs to look no further than the recent ProPublica report which identified $500 million in savings without affecting the quality of care. Savings, which can be passed on to taxpayers are right in front of us – only if our leaders are willing to look for them.

When will New Jersey’s property taxpayers see an honest to goodness tax reduction?”

Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters,

“It is clear from today’s speech, Governor Phil Murphy, the ‘Greenest Governor in America,’ is continuing to make the environment a top priority in his administration. With an irresponsible deregulatory agenda underway in Washington, the accomplishments of the past year led by Governor Murphy have been key in keeping New Jersey’s environment, economy and communities healthy and thriving. His actions on holding polluters accountable and igniting thousands of good local jobs in the offshore wind industry have earned him an ‘A’ on his midterm assessment. We look forward to continuing to working with Governor Murphy and his administration on issues like protecting clean drinking water and ending diversions to the Clean Energy Fund.”

New Jersey Citizen Action Executive Director Phyllis Salowe-Kaye

“In the past year we’ve seen sweeping changes that will greatly benefit women, children, workers and families. We’ve set New Jersey on the path to a $15 minimum wage, while establishing an equal pay law that will further help reduce discrimination against women in the workplace.  We’ve seen free tuition expanded to community colleges throughout New Jersey and passed legislation that will help our student loan borrowers dig themselves out of our $43 billion student debt crisis. To further protect New Jersey patients from destructive federal policies we’ve enacted a law that will establish our own state health care exchange. And we’ve greatly expanded and improved New Jersey’s paid family leave program. We commend Governor Murphy, our friends in the State Legislature and all the New Jerseyans who fought successfully to enact these badly needed reforms.

“Despite these considerable accomplishments our state continues to suffer from a massive revenue crisis. Without more revenue many of these reforms can’t be implemented properly. Without a properly funded state budget New Jersey can’t finance other critical priorities such as public pensions, affordable housing, transportation and infrastructure and could face a financial crisis at the next economic downturn.

“For this reason, we commend Governor Murphy’s continuing commitment to a Millionaires Tax and to ensuring our corporate tax incentive programs have hard caps and robust oversight. We urge the Legislature to work with the Governor on these financial and budgetary reforms to ensure the wealthiest state residents and the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share in New Jersey. We also applaud his commitment to establishing an Office of Health Care Affordability and Transparency in the Governor’s Office to reduce consumer health care costs, make health insurance more affordable, and improve price transparency. Finally, we urge the state to put new revenue to work in innovative ways, such as through a public bank, which will help provide for communities and critical projects that suffer from underfunding. Enacting these reforms will enable us to continue to progress towards a New Jersey that works for everyone, not just the wealthy and the politically connected.”

Assemblyman John McKeon (D-West Orange)

“For eight straight years, the previous administration neglected NJ TRANSIT. This, once, ‘jewel’ of a public transportation system was left to wither and its commuters were made to suffer.

“Thanks to the hard work of the Governor, NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Corbett and the Legislature, this agency is back on the right track. For the past two years, we’ve made record-breaking funding investments that have allowed the agency to hire more engineers, update equipment and restore service and reliability across the State.

“The Governor’s announcement today furthers that effort by ensuring the agency has the resources and the proper plan necessary to grow and expand for the years to come. For the first time in the agency’s history, NJ TRANSIT will have a 10-year strategic and a 5-year capital plan.

“NJ TRANSIT is the lifeblood of our State. I stand committed to continue our effort to rebuild this agency with the Governor and Legislative leadership.”

State Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Woodbridge)

“I agree with the Governor, health care is too expensive and health care coverage is far too complex and difficult to navigate. I thank the Governor for his commitment to improving the state of health care in New Jersey and I hope to work with his administration as they establish this office. I am confident it will be a much needed resource for our residents and a powerful tool in the fight to make health care clearer and more accessible, affordable and comprehensive in the state.”

 

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David Wildstein: David Wildstein is the Editor in Chief for the New Jersey Globe.