Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick added his name to the list of Republicans hitting New Jersey’s governor over comments he made at an Oct. 1 forum at Rowan University.
“When a governor says we’re probably not your state because ‘I don’t really care about taxes,’ that, to me is an arrogant statement,” Bramnick said. “It also sends the wrong message to the people in the state who have hope for some change.”
Earlier this month, Murphy said New Jersey was probably not the state for voters for whom the state’s tax rates were the single issue behind their vote.
The comment spurred some criticism from elected Republicans but did not garner much staying power as a campaign talking point.
Now, Bramnick’s trying to bring it back, in part to buoy his own re-election campaign but also to lend credence to Republican challengers using the line against Democratic incumbents.
“He says if your issue is taxes, well, New Jersey’s not your state,” Bramnick said. “This is why balance in government is so important. I have not heard one Democrat in the Assembly criticize this governor for saying that taxes and taxpayers are not important to us in our state.”
Bramnick later admitted that portions of how he characterized Murphy’s comments were not fully accurate.
The governor did not say he did not care about tax rates or taxpayers during the Rowan event. He said “If you’re a one issue voter and tax rate is your issue, either a family or a business, if that’s the only basis upon which you’re going to make a decision, we’re probably not your state.”
The line mirrors one Murphy has often adopted behind podiums at press conferences.
On previous occasions, Murphy has said New Jerseyans are willing to pay a premium for other things the state offers, like some of the top schools in the nation.
Still, it’s proof to Bramnick that Murphy’s out of touch with the state’s electorate.
“You want to split hairs, I’m happy to split hairs on that. He didn’t say exactly what I said, but he’s sending a message to taxpayers that it’s not a priority for him,” Bramnick said. “It’s a priority for the people who can’t pay their taxes in this state and the people who want to stay here.”