NJ Governor Rejects Republican “Woke Up” Criticism
Inviting the national political spotlight, Democratic New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Tuesday implicitly took aim at GOP rivals who criticize blue states for being “wake up” while also calling for responsible government and bipartisanship in his annual state-of-the-state address.
Murphy marked his fifth state in the state on Tuesday ahead of a joint session of the Democrat-led legislature, which faces an election this year and as next year’s presidential race unfolds.
He did not name Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 White House candidate, but alluded to his recent second inaugural address, in which he said Florida is where “waking up will die.”
“Some governors brag that their state is where ‘waking up will die. I’m not sure I know what that means,” Murphy said, adding that “the American dream is alive and well” in New Jersey. He pointed to the state’s 3.4% unemployment rate, slightly lower than the federal level, a growing film production and tax credit industry, and important regional infrastructure projects.
“It’s cool to be from New Jersey again,” added Murphy.
Murphy responded to questions about a possible presidential run by saying he would support President Joe Biden if he runs for re-election next year, leaving open the possibility of considering running.
He drew further contrasts with states led by the Republican Party.
Invoking tax breaks in Florida and Georgia to lure businesses, Murphy said New Jersey’s third-quarter 2022 economic output outperformed.
“Our clear track record of success is greater than that of states that pay huge tax breaks to the richest and most powerful, pulling investment out of public education and civics programs,” Murphy said.
Contrary to last year’s state declaration that he was “boldly progressive,” Murphy called for bipartisanship and “reasonable and accountable government.” It’s a shift in tone that comes as legislative Democrats face re-election after Murphy’s narrow 2021 victory.
He praised his work alongside Republican Utah Governor Spencer Cox at the National Governors Association, saying state and national politics needed less scorn and more friendship.
“Let us never forget that in the grand scheme of things, we are partisans fourth, elected officials third, New Jerseyans second, and Americans first,” Murphy said.
While he has asked to work with Republicans, his key accomplishments so far, such as raising taxes on the wealthy, passing new gun control legislation, legalizing recreational marijuana and increasing funding for abortion services, have been passed by the dominated Legislature. by the Democrats.
New Jersey Republicans viewed the speech as a set-up for a possible presidential bid and criticized Murphy’s administration amid high inflation.
“Today’s speech particularly highlighted the importance of electing Republican majorities in the state legislature this year to put a much-needed check on Murphy’s administration and halt his presidential campaign,” said state GOP spokeswoman Alexandra Wilkes.
While the governor appeared to be partially aiming for a national audience, he also included plenty of state-level detail in the nearly hour-long speech.
He unveiled a proposal to reform the Prohibition-era liquor licensing system for restaurants.
Because state liquor licensing laws restrict licenses to one per 3,000 residents, restaurateurs often pay top dollar – up to seven figures – for such a license. That system excludes many who cannot afford the cost, he said.
Murphy called for gradually expanding the number of licenses until such restrictions are lifted, and to compensate those who spent too much for a license, he called for a “targeted tax credit.”
He revealed what he called a “Boardwalk Fund” to pay for improvements to the well-known waterfront walkways, but with few details.
He told lawmakers we would sign legislation that would toughen the laws against auto theft if they sent him such a measure, and he touted a property tax exemption program enacted last year that he said he wants to continue this year.
An emotional high point came when Murphy announced that four Ukrainian service members who were receiving treatment in the United States were in the House of Assembly. Lawmakers rose to their feet and applauded before Murphy chanted “Slava Ukraini” or glory to Ukraine.
This article is originally published on g7.news