Today is Phil Murphy’s 48th day in office and the end of his seventh week. He attended his first New Jersey Chamber of Commerce congressional dinner in Washington as the new governor and doubled down on his commitment to pass a millionaire’s tax. The move sets up a potential fight with the Democratic majority in the legislature – Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin don’t support it.
From the perspective of New Jersey voters, Murphy is doing fine. He’s keeps securing his base and hasn’t made any significant new enemies since election day.
For insiders, the story of the week was that the governor – and not the New Jersey Education Association – was responsible for firing Assistant Commissioner of Education Paula White. She is a supporter of charter schools who got the job last month with the praise of Murphy’s new acting Commissioner of Education, Lamont Repollet. Murphy said White “was not suited for the job in terms of philosophy” – a harsh statement, considering his administration hired her.
The line Murphy might live to regret was this one: “I make the decisions on who works for our team, and nobody else. I make the decisions. Period. Full stop.” That doesn’t leave him a lot of wiggle room if something goes wrong down the road – unless he wants to just deny ever knowing the person.