In Tuesday’s State of the State address, Governor Phil Murphy shared his administration’s achievements, real and imagined, in 2019, and set forth his vision for the state in 2020.
His speech was down-to-earth and practical, yet also failed to address some of the most serious issues the state will need to contend with in the coming years.
First, the positive. Governor Murphy used the first few minutes of his address to speak about the anti-Semitic and anti-police attack in Jersey City in December. Murphy took a strong stand against anti-Semitism and hate in all its forms, and vowed to staunchly defend minority communities and all religions in the state. He promised to sign legislation that would increase security assistance given to public houses of worship and provide every resource necessary to combat the rising tide of bigotry in New Jersey, including a renewed commitment to educating people about the holocaust and discrimination in general. Governor Murphy’s strong statements against anti-Semitism and the actions he and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal are taking to combat it are commendable and deserve our gratitude.
But Governor Murphy also seemed to ignore some issues that are a long-term threat to New Jersey.
The Garden State is one of the costliest states to live in; studies show that New Jersey is the most moved-out of state in the nation. Residents are fleeing New Jersey’s crushing cost of living, prohibitive taxes, and the mess that is the state’s finances in record numbers. Other studies show that New Jersey has lost billions of dollars in wealth in the past two decades, as wealthier residents flee the state’s ridiculous tax structure for greener pastures. National rankings show that New Jersey lags well behind the majority of the pack in numerous areas, including best states to do business in and best states to retire. He barely mentioned those pressing problems. Instead, Murphy is quarreling with the Senate leader, Stephen Sweeney, over which taxes to raise; Sweeney wants to raise property taxes, Murphy wants a new tax on millionaires.
This isn’t what New Jerseyans need. What we actually need are politicians who will look to change things by getting the state’s finances in order, who seek to lower the cost of living in the state, and who will take steps to make New Jersey a more welcome place to do business in. Until those issues are addressed head-on, New Jersey will continue to falter and drag well behind other states in affordability and overall happiness of its residents.
Governor Murphy stated if you don’t like the taxes in New Jersey then maybe New Jersey in not the state for you. He doesn’t care who leaves the state and why, he has his agenda and will push forward no matter what.
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