During the 1993 gubernatorial campaign, Democrats skewered then-candidate Christine Todd Whitman for an unfortunate gaffe, when she said something like “as funny as it seems, $500 is a lot of money to some people.” That clearly wasn’t Whitman’s intent, but the line stuck – largely because Gov. Jim Florio’s political team made sure of it.
Now Republicans are pounding Gov. Phil Murphy’s for a comment he made about a plan to offer free community college tuition.
“If you talk about free community college for all — it sounds like ‘Oh my Lord that’s a big sticker shock’ — but, in fact, we think it’s an about $200 million annual expense,” according to a Burlington Times report.
That was the opening for Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt to beat up the fledgling governor.
“$200 million might not cause ‘sticker shock’ to a guy who pays $200 thousand a year in property taxes, but Phil Murphy needs to accept that Goldman Sach’s leaders like Jon Corzine and him will never represent middle America because they will never understand New Jersey’s working class. $200 million in additional taxes isn’t free,” Steinhardt said. “I would hope that $200 million more in annual taxes would be treated with the same respect with which working New Jerseyans will have to earn it.”
Steinhardt called Murphy’s plan a “classic political bait and switch.”
“While he dangles the ‘sounds good’ carrot of ‘free education’, he glosses over the $200 million dollar stick that will beat New Jersey’s already battered taxpayers over the head, year after year, forever,” Steinhardt said. “Two years of free tuition for a lifetime of tax increases isn’t a bargain, it’s another bad deal that New Jerseyans just can’t afford.”