New Jersey Emerges as a Liberal Bulwark Under Murphy

In the first few months of Gov. Philip D. Murphy’s tenure, New Jersey has taken a decidedly liberal turn, with new laws and executive orders reading like a progressive wish list.


Comments: 216

  1. Pay attention to this governor's progress. He may well emerge as a democratic superstar. He has the right political instincts, personality and character to energize the base while bringing back disillusioned moderates. Go Phil!

  2. Finally a Democrat with Chutzpah. We have had too many years of soft peddle from the Dems.

  3. Good for him. Just don’t break the bank!

  4. Bless you, Gov. Murphy!
    Your neighbors to the east are watching and cheering you all the way!

  5. Florida is really cheering for Gov Murphy's plan , and rolling out the red carpet for all those big tax payers who can afford to leave. Heck, I'm sure some will hope over the border to PA.

  6. This makes me so very, very happy! I love this guy! PLEASE don't screw up, Guv'na.

  7. Hopefully, the progressiveness will help mitigate the long-standing corruption that New Jersey is known for!

  8. As though there is no corruption in other states -- including NY and the flyover states and now -- the WH.

  9. Good for the great state of New Jersey after being sat on by an unindicted Republican hack for eight years of wasting away.

    Americans and New Jerseyans are much more liberal than Grand Old Propagandists would have Americans believe.

    Christie purposefully slowed down medical marijuana distribution so sick New Jerseyans could get their medicine easier out of state; what a nice guy.

    Christie abandoned mass transit and the states roads and gave millions of New Jerseyans the commuting middle finger in the process.

    It turns out that taxes are the cost of the civilization....horror of horrors !

    Yes, taxes will go up slightly, but you'll get a better civilization in return despite all the tax nihilists crying that the sky is falling.

    Republican no-new-tax-nihilism has done enormous damage to America.

    We can afford a decent civilization.

    Welcome back, progressivism, modernity and reason.

    Thanks, Governor Murphy...I don't mind paying a little more.

  10. Thanks Socrates. You said it better that I could. Our irrational hatred of taxes is an anchor to progress. We want progress to make life better for everyone, but we must be willing to pay for progress. There are those that don't want progress, to regress socially into a selfish, winner-take-all paradigm, where the poor deserve their misery. I would rather see an enlightened society that deals with everyone's basic needs.

  11. New Jersey, even before Murphy gets his hands on us, already has the highest taxes in the nation. If money spent = happiness, then why are native born New Jerseyians moving in droves to lower-taxed states?

  12. As usual, you did good job in expressing the essence of the issue,Mr. Socrates. People in this country have been educated or actually conditioned to react negatively when someone trying to improve their life at a relatively small cost (taxes). Decent education, mass transit, healthcare, infrastructure and common goods in general have a cost benefit ratio that is extremely benign. Scandinavian countries, Germany, The Netherlands, Finland all cracked this code a while ago. We are so far behind and seem to be regressing. Phil Murphy is a gift at these times. New Jersey deserves him after the disaster years of Chris Christie.

  13. This is good news for New Jersey, and the nation. Hopefully if Gov. Murphy can get his policies enacted, in a few years it'll be obvious that these are the policies that work. Banning offshore drilling will result in no oil spills poisoning the coast, whereas we will see another of those in the Gulf in the next couple of years. Legalizing recreational marijuana will result in quite a bit of tax revenue, less deaths from opioid addiction, and a more easygoing mentality overall. Improving education will help most citizens, and reduce the numbers of Republicans, who form their beliefs mainly out of ignorance. I wish Gov. Murphy the best of luck in getting stuff done.

  14. "Legalizing recreational marijuana will result in quite a bit of tax revenue, less deaths from opioid addiction, and a more easygoing mentality overall." You really believe this? Or have you already started to Practice What You Preach?

  15. Dear Connecticut Yankee,
    Yes, I really believe that, because it's obviously true. The consumption of weed in the U.S. could easily be over $100 billion per year, and is unlikely to be less than $10 billion. Legalizing and taxing it would thus result in a lot of tax income. Offering it legally as an alternative to opioids, considering it provides some of the same functionality, would reduce overdose deaths, because it is impossible to overdose on weed. And if people could smoke weed legally, they would be more mellow. Ever get hassled or attacked by a group of potheads?

    So yes, all of that is quite blatantly true, why didn't you think it was?

  16. "This is an extreme left-wing agenda that is sending people out of the state who might have stayed."

    Fine. Go move to Nebraska. New Jersey suffered eight years of Chris Christie. New Jersey isn't suffering whiplash so much as trying to aggressively treat a massive spinal injury. Christie's treatment of the ARC tunnel, Sandy, Fort Lee, the gas tax. The list is too long to even mention. Now we have the Republican tax bill as well. Jon Bramnick is arguing public pre-K and community college is going to push people out of the state. Guess what pal? I left 7 years ago and I'm not moving back while people like Bramnick are still around. Sorry, no tax revenue for you.

  17. I second that! If this state is too "progressive" for you, than move out to the midwest. (There's too many people here anyway.) We suffered for eight years under an egotistical tyrant that calculated every move based how it would feed his own ego and help raise his media profile to benefit only one person, Chris Christie. It's time our policies move toward the 2050's and beyond rather than turning the clock back to 1950's.

  18. NJ has always been a liberal, blue state. Christie was an aberration but something like him won't occur again for many years. NJ has an educated population with incomes that reflect that fact and two major cities -- NY and Philadelphia that influence it. We don't hate immigrants because we've always been a melting pot state with large Italian, Hispanic, Irish, German, African-American, and Asian populations. We have every religion represented all over the state. Diversity is the calling card of NJ and we want everyone to have the benefit of progress, not just a select few.
    After the tenure of the Toad, having Governor Murphy in charge will move us forward once again on protecting the environment and restoring the areas that were blighted in the past by polluters.
    It's a bright new day for New Jerseyans.

  19. As recently as the 1990s, NJ was a swing state. But it went for moderate Republicans.

  20. There are pockets of deep red Trump country in NJ. I know I live in Ocean county which has been voting republican steadily since the 1890s. I'm definitely in the minority here. Local comment boards were burning up with outrage when he just rolled back the to the original 7% sales tax. Just a one third of a cent increase had my republican neighbors foaming at the mouth. I'm in hell.

  21. Until you run out of other people's money.

    Already, NJ taxpayers are among the highest taxed in the USA and with NJ with among the highest pension plan debt, how, pray tell, does Governor Murphy (and you) expect to pay for these grand expectations?

  22. What's interesting is the push-back on the tax increases. Part of this is practical as there is always a concern that wealthier people may leave the state as taxes rise.
    But a larger part is the view of the general public that they have been asked to pay higher and higher taxes and yet don't see any benefits for themselves from those higher taxes.
    I think it's important to compare the state budgets from the 60's, 70's and even the 80's and see where the tax revenues went and compare that to today. My sense is that a lot of the difference is due to the costs of pensions and medicaid compared to 30 or 40 years ago but perhaps there have been other fundamental changes.
    In the end, the political problem - although not a moral one - is that there are not enough voters who benefit from the sharp increases in the costs of pensions and medicaid to justify even higher taxes.

  23. @schneiderman best comment yet. Looking where we were tax wise20-30 years ago versus today and what happened to those tax monies is the best indication of where we’re going and why/why not higher taxes are going to fly

  24. The NJ Governor and its politicians do not realize that the tax situation is causing lots of wealthy individuals and companies to leave the state. Many are going next door to Pennsylvania or to Florida or even here to Nevada. I assume that the treaty between NJ and PA will be revoked soon so that if you work in NJ and live in PA you will be subject to very high NJ taxes. This has nothing to do with immigration or anything like this. It is running a government that cannot stop spending or putting in crazy labor rules. You will see lots of moving vans headed south.

  25. Median household income in New Jersey is $71,000.
    Median household income in your state, Nevada, is $55,000.

    You should move to NJ to raise your income and your standard of living.

  26. And when they get "south" they'll find beautiful right to get exploited jobs, bad schools with bad roads to get there and plenty of pain pill addled co-workers. Then they'll find that those lower property taxes fund nothing. Good Luck with that moved though.

  27. Are rich people really going to move hours farther away from New York City just to avoid NJ taxes? NYC is the economic engine that powers NJ. NJ is a bedroom state, not a business state, and that is why it’s funded by property taxes paid by the people who actually live there. If NJ wants more businesses to move in to spread out the burden, it needs to invest more in infrastructure and its citizens.

  28. Let me get this straight: Republicans adding $2 trillion to the debt to stuff in the pockets of the 1% is fiscally responsible, but deficit spending by a Democrat on things like expanding education is alarmingly radical liberalism. Got it.

  29. Conservatives do despise education, it reduces their influence when people acquire knowledge about reality.

  30. All states (except VT) are required to run balanced budgets. They may not allow deficits as you encourage - unlike the Federal government.

  31. Someone should do an article on why these Goldman Sachs, Wall-Street type politicians are flaming liberals in their political views, after they made their careers supporting capitalism. In the meantime, please get me out of New Jersey. The only good thing we had in New Jersey was the low gas tax, and of course Dems couldn't abide by it (they complained we had the lowest gas tax in the country) so it was raised. Of course the roads haven't been fixed; all the money goes to state employees' pensions and the others feeding at the public trough.

  32. Hi. I have been banker for 25 years. I grew up poor but as Billy the Kid said, banks are where the money is. So I went into banking, worked like a dog and did well. I happily pay my taxes, give to charity and never forget where I came from.

    Making money and have a progressive outlook are not mutually exclusive!

  33. @RP: I drive in NJ quite often and think the roads are pretty good considering the amount of traffic.

  34. The corruption in New Jersey comes mainly from the people who run and manage New Jersey. Ordinary employees angling for higher pensions are not doing anything the people who run things are not doing. Many people seem to think it is OK for top dogs to line their pockets but are outraged when others, like teachers, try to defend their interests too.

    People who buy BMWs and Cadillacs and gripe about paying high taxes are showing that they do not mind paying for expensive things as long as they are individually owned instead of the common environment. Christie's type of corruption keeps the spoils with the rich and lets the tunnels that are essential to the Jersey economy risk failure. Voting for lower taxes and perhaps no way for thousands of your neighbors to get to work is . . . Republican.

  35. Murphy is simply a left wing extremist driving his liberal agenda at any cost. Problem is that people in NJ have had enough of fiscal irresponsibility and are tired of politicians building their socialist culture primarily for the benefit of those who haven't toiled for years to raise a family in this state or create a way of life unburdened by a heavy-handed state government. When do the people who have spent decades financing the state's needs (and government) get something other than an ever-increasing tax bill designed to finance the well-being of groups of individuals with no history or investment in our state? We are truly in an economic and quality of life crisis in NJ that I and many, many others believe will soon blow-up in the face of Phil and his friends.

  36. 'socialist culture' - what exactly does that mean? The word socialist is used very loosely, perhaps due to ignorance. Or to generate fear.

  37. Why don’t you ask Chris Christie who was in charge for the last 8 years and made every single one of NJ’s problems worse? Isn’t he and his policies what NJ voters are really tired of?

  38. Interesting. Were you a Christie supporter?

  39. Hallelujah! The words “liberal” and “progressive” may finally get some traction as humane aspirations and not Republican swear words. There is no doubt that the middle class has been suppressed and eroded. If Murphy is true blue these programs and policies may be a beacon for the rest of the country. The distinction between “moderate” (corporate) Democrat and “liberal”/Progressive Democrat as as great as the chasm between the Dems and the GOP. Moderate Democrats vote with Trump more than they (“resist”) vote against him. Murphy will not succeed without the electorate standing up with him.

    The tax debate is a question of presentation. The GOP cannot be allowed to control the narrative! Emphasizing the public benefits of the increases will overshadow the false argument that it is theft or misspent. No one can argue about the problems in the state. Those problems are solved by vision, funding, and commitment. On the national stage the GOP just made off with billions. Murphy needs to drive home that this rising tide raises ALL boats. The GOP has no argument when facts are presented. Also, the new era of sports gaming, recreational marijuana, and other luxury taxes are appropriate.

    Most of all the people need to be heard. A series of town hall and public service announcements should enable the voters to give voice and sanction rather being swindled by lobbyists and monied special interests.

    After Christie, anything is an improvement, but NJ could be the new flag bearer.

  40. He has taken the reins, not the reigns.

    ERROR: New Jersey sales tax was 6.875% in 2017 only. As of Jan. 1, 2018, it became 6.625%. This was a result of a compromise made between Christie and the state legislature when he wanted to reduce the sales tax from 7% to 6% (which it had been for many years before jumping a full percentage point in 2006). It has been confusing sales clerks and workmen statewide.

    Increasing New Jersey's already absurdly high property taxes would be the last straw for many and a big mistake. A millionaire's tax has been argued as a way to drive the wealthy away, but maybe not, and they can afford it.

  41. I was wondering if anyone else noticed the word misuse. If it was from a written statement NYT needs to add the "SIC" notation. Either way the copy editor needs more training

  42. After 8 years of the bloviating, bullying blowhard Chris Christie, I am willing to give Phil Murphy a chance. I am just relieved he is a civil guy, who doesn't bellow at people. Christie was a huge embarrassment to our state.

  43. Why is there no corrective by the reporter to the statement that Murphy's agenda is from the "extreme left wing" as one Republican put it, or that the state has lurched to the left as the author puts it. Wasn't there an election? Was this really a "lurch" or just a shift chosen by the voters of New Jersey? The ideas and thinking that are behind the sensible changes that Murphy is making have been around for years. There is nothing extreme about them, unless you have been living in a cave! Bravo Gov. Murphy!!

  44. DeBlazio Jr. - that will work out well. If all of the high income earners leave the state who will be left to pay the taxes?

  45. Where are they going to go? ‘High Income Earner’ is really code for ‘executives who commute daily to New York City’. The competition for residents is between New York state, Connecticut and NJ. Rich folks aren’t going to move hours farther away just to save a dime on taxes.

  46. It's fairly remarkable to see right wingers yelling about how liberals have done ruint New Jersey, given that the governor only took office late last year and hasn't changed taxes yet.

  47. If Murphy gets his recreational marijuana plan through the legislature New Jersey citizens are going to have to smoke one heck of a lot of weed to pay for Murphy's wish list.

    Murphy rarely mentions property taxes and this is the biggest concern in New Jersey. If property taxes are not stabilize or reduced Murphy will face political Armageddon. Anything else he does will be rendered moot.

  48. There is plenty here that is good. Does Murphy 'look' like someone who is likely to win a DNC presidential nomination, or will his appearance disqualify him irrespective of his accomplishments?

  49. His appearance? Is there something "wrong" with his appearance?

  50. "But his policies have also left Republicans and even moderate Democrats with a case of whiplash and raised serious questions about how Mr. Murphy will pay for his agenda in a state saddled with severe financial difficulties".

    If Republicans, some Democrats, and NY Times are worried about 'how Mr. Murphy will pay for his agenda', then do the same thing with the Military/CIA budget.

  51. As someone who voted for Mr. Murphy, I would like to see him focus more on tackling unsustainable state pension, sky high property tax and incompetent NJ transit than trying to copy CA and NY resisting Trump administration.

  52. "“Is this kind of extreme politics good for Republicans?” he asked. “It is.”

    The extreme politics are on the side of the republican party who passed a tax bill that makes state local taxes non-deductible. Republicans are poison in NJ.

  53. A one term lefty at best because he will have to raise property taxes to pay for his lefty programs---and that will be his political doom.

  54. Come to Tennessee where the ruling righties don't tax you but still spend on Rightie programs and then at election time blame Lefties (no where to be found) on the deficits...and the people say "yeah, it was them fellers!"

  55. Yeah, who wants clean air, good education and a essential health care services?

  56. Well Righty, you're probably wrong about that. If he legalizes marijuana and taxes that, the hundreds of millions in tax revenue might be enough to reduce property taxes.

  57. This is great news and long overdue.New Jerseyans deserve a gov.that cares about their state and it's people after the likes of the appalling christie.When in doubt think about christie's settlement with mobil for pennies on the dollar for polluting their state…what did porky get outta that???

  58. Living in NJ has always been corrupt from both parties. Owning property has been the bailout for Trenton on School taxes. Murphy wants to give more free tuition? Now illegals can apply for student loans. Can't wait to get out!

  59. What's an 'illegal'? Someone who has broken a law?

  60. And get a drivers license.

  61. “He’s not liberal, he’s extreme,” said Jon Bramnick, the Republican minority leader in the State Assembly.

    -- He'd say the same of Nixon or Eisenhower. It's not an observation, it's a tic.

  62. The modern day GOP thinks Trump is normal...they've skewed the curve for sure. Nixon, Halderman and Ehrlichman are somewhere rationing ice water and just staring at each other with amazement!

  63. I watched him being interviewed recently on NJTV. He was articulate, well spoken, knew the topics and seemed like a hell of a nice guy. I know politics is dirty, especially here in NJ, but I hope Murphy gets a chance to improve things in my state. One thing I do know: he'll not be berating someone on the boardwalk while eating an ice cream cone.

  64. I think Murphy will be president some day.

  65. I'm a thirty something looking to start a family and buy a house and I have to say I was shocked when I saw what the taxes are in NJ. I'm considering transferring to Colorado where taxes are a fraction of what they are in the tri state area. That being said, if I have to take a pay cut in Colorado then maybe NJ isn't that bad after all? We'll see

  66. Property taxes in Colorado are shockingly low, but low tax equals low services. Check out our real estate prices, education funding, and the TABOR act which restricts government spending.

  67. "... and a measure to provide in-state tuition to immigrants who came to the United States as children."

    He didn't need to do anything to provide in-state tuition to immigrants who came to the United States as children. They are legal residents and entitled automatically to in-state tuition. You mean "who came to the United States ILLEGALLY as children", right?

  68. Because it was the young child’s choice to come right? Or is it because it totally makes sense to deprive a child raised in New Jersey and already educated in NJ’s public school of a college education just to stick it to their parents who brought them here 20 years ago? The hatred shown toward children and young adults by conservatives is plainly disgusting and sick.

  69. Out of the twelve states with the highest median income, the only one that was Republican in 2014 was Alaska (a state that distributes oil income to every resident).

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/articles.cleveland.com/datacentral/index.ss...

    Taxing the rich to invest in everyone else raises incomes. States with higher taxes have a higher standard of living.

    Centrist Democrats who worry that Republicans will call them socialists forget that Republicans already call them socialists. There is nothing they can call you, or accuse you of that they aren't calling you and accusing you of already.

    If you are going to be called a tax and spend socialist why don't you get the electoral benefit of taxing the rich and investing in everyone else. Especially since it increases demand, which grows the economy.

    The fact that Democrats keep letting Republicans bully then into supporting bad policy is destroying the country, and made Trump possible.

    Put good policy above winning and then you will win.

  70. @Ray: Except that most of those higher tax states are also donor states, paying more to Washington than they get back. And the disparity will get worse under the new tax law. So I tried on your logic and it doesn't fit.

  71. I consider myself a lib-lefty progressive, but living in NYC, I pay 10% of my income to state/city, whereas states like Florida have no such tax. I'm very, very far from well off. While it's easy to say "Tax the rich," it's the lower middle-class that always seems to get the raw end of the stick.

  72. Factor in the cost of living and the theft by taxation and that income is no different than the poorest states.

  73. I'm all for progressive politics in NJ--I grew up there--but a few commenters have made a good point, which is the property taxes. NJ's property taxes are insanely high and now that they're not all deductible, any increase will be met with a ton of fury.

    My dad moved from NJ to WA. His house out here is worth a little less than his house in NJ. His property taxes are about 1/2 as much.

  74. Pure greed. Politicians should have reduced taxes and their pays long ago. Instead they privitiize roads , bridges and raise fees to go to the beaches. The GOP have controlled NJ for so long with their failed above policies you supporters have no one to blame but yourself.

  75. Florio. We once had a Democrat Governor named Florio who said "let's raise taxes on the light trucking industry in NJ", did it and in the six months time it took to repeal the taxes, essentially killed off an industry.

    New Jersey is already overtaxed and it's infrastructure is crumbling. Made up of lots of fiefdoms all that money is wasted.

    But Gov. Murphy you just go ahead and raise taxes. Already many of my friends are leaving the state for parts down south (where the weather is much better, that is due to no one's fault in particular) who would probably be the subject of your taxes. With the $10k limit on state and local tax deduction on the federal side it will also be interesting to see how many of my liberal wealthy friends also leave the state.

    If Gov Murphy really believed in his mandate he would reorganize state, county and local governments to avoid duplication and waste. He would make the mission of NJ Transit such that it moves people around the state instead of just being NJ points and NYC.

    But then again, when you're a (liberal) Democrat, it's always been easier spending other people's money.

  76. Just look at what de Blasio is doing to NYC.....the bloated salaries, the many layers of the same workers doing the same thing he's ben hiring people at such a quick pace that I'm sure the taxpayers are just keen to pay and they will be supported for life. The dems love to spend other people's money except their own. The repubs are no better.

  77. New Jersey has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. Adding new ones is pandering to the extreme anti gun fringe and won't save lives.

  78. Or maybe it will save lives, Todd.

    Japan has some of the strictest gun laws in the world.

    Japan has the same number of ANNUAL gun deaths the USA has in about three hours.

    Less guns equals less gun deaths.

    I know, Todd, it's complicated.

  79. An extra $85 a year and the money goes toward:
    "Fully funding public education, pre-K, community college, triple our investment in New Jersey Transit."

    As someone with children and grandchildren that live in new Jersey:

    "Is it wrong that I'm smiling?"

  80. Looks like NJ is following CT's path. It's called "The Kiss of Death." In 2015 NYT called Governor Dannel Malloy the most progressive governor in America. Fast forward to today: Malloy leaves office with the 2nd lowest approval rating in the country (20%), and the state, hemorrhaging residents, jobs and businesses, can look forward to deficits as far as the eye can see. He is persona-non-Grata to the Democrats and the Republicans have geared their entire fall campaign to attacking him, not the Dems' actual candidates.

    Murphy apparently has forgotten his Santayana: "Those who forget the past are doomed to relive it." Good Luck NJ!

  81. I think you're pointing the finger in the wrong direction. Chris Christie is leaving New Jersey with the lowest popularity rating of any governor in the state's history. The state's finances are in complete ruin. State emigration has been increasing for roughly the last decade. There's a similarity to Connecticut but it's not Murphy's fault yet. The question is whether Murphy can levy the taxes needed to make the state attractive again without a mass business exodus. The deal used to be the wealthy paid income in New York but property in New Jersey. That model is not working out so well as we see services crumbling in both areas.

  82. Not to mention that Malloy’s taxes have chases many large corporations out of CT, including most recently GE. People and corporations with money have a choice.

  83. Instead, look to Washington State, California and and Minnesota and your scenario dries up.

  84. His heart's in the right place, but I hope that, as I write this, California governor Jerry Brown ("Governor Moonbeam") has gotten Murphy on the phone for some private tutoring about doing what's actually possible while paying down state debts, setting aside a reserve, and becoming famous for his fiscal responsibility.

    In any case, money that finances who runs for office, that is the root problem in American politics, so maybe Gov. Murphy should tell his supporters they'll have to wait awhile. He should be spending his political capital on adopting fair, transparent campaign financing.

  85. Why do Democrats take half measures with automatic voter registration? I completely understand that most Dem voters are lethargic and don't register, let alone vote. I suggest automatic voter preference, whereby everyone automatically votes for Democrats unless they opt out.

  86. Beyond the liberal social policies Governor Murphy has advanced are his practical investment policies with price tags. Yes a family earning a living wage in New Jersey won't notice an $85 dollar per year "hit" to restore the 7% sales tax and NJ's millionaires can afford an increase in income tax. A sea change in the NJ's overall economic development strategy that ends corporate welfare, enormous tax breaks for billionaire developers and highly profitable corporations, under the guise of job retention or creation, is another critical step the governor will have to engage if we are serious about balancing our budgets and meeting our long term obligations. There is no question that Governor Murphy's agenda is noble, necessary and deserving of support, but that agenda will require a sustained state wide sales pitch, budget and revenue truth telling and yes, some sacred liberal oxen will have to be gored. I support the Governor not because he is liberal, as I am, but because his ideas are sound and he has the energy and salesmanship to pull this off, the question is does he have the courage to disappoint me and withstand the criticism from friend and foe alike that an equitable, economically sustainable and just New Jersey requires?

  87. "... raised serious questions about how Mr. Murphy will pay for his agenda in a state saddled with severe financial difficulties."

    Let me stroke my goatee a few times - let me see. Ok, I've got it. How about raising taxes on the wealthy? I wonder if he's considered that?

  88. Oh the poor, poor wealthy....where are these desperately taken-advantage-of-people?

  89. They're at work, making money to give to those who aren't.

  90. The equal pay act is unenforceable, making bathrooms gender neutral will alienate everyone, and not doing anything about the corruption that makes NJ virtually unlivable will mean that all Murphy will have accomplished is increasing the use of weed. The joke going the rounds is that the last one will make people ignore everything else. Good luck with that. Stoners don't vote.

  91. Are gender neutral, single occupancy bathrooms alienating? Yes, if men forget to lift the toilet seat before urinating. I'm male and I have observed this behavior is common in men's public bathrooms. And our aim is horrible using a tool we have been practicing with since our toddler years (another reason for gun control).

  92. The only bathrooms that were made gender neutral are SINGLE OCCUPANCY. If only one person is in the restroom at a time why does it need to be for just men or just women? It just makes more toilets available to everyone, frankly it's just common sense.

  93. Who are these jokes going around with? Conservatives, GOPers? Well they had their day and it was and is an abysmal failure. Murphy will succeed

  94. I'm looking at the photo and thinking if this was a Republican there would be a sea of flags, each as big as a barn. But Murphy will need to find ways to save more taxpayer money, because lower property taxes are job #1. Get that done, and he can work on undoing Christie's damage and resisting Trump. But first things first, property taxes.

  95. Lower taxes would have spurned economic growth, creating more opportunity for all residents. For the first time, after 35 years living in NJ, moving from NYC, I am considering moving out of NJ to a better tax climate state.

  96. Don't try Texas. While they're all proud of their no income tax, property and sales taxes are ridiculous.

  97. Why don't you first see what the Democrats running California have managed to screw up first. NJ will probably follow that example...and it isn't pretty. You think your taxes are going to be lower? I'd wait and see,

  98. lowering taxes does nothing. Also the state cannot afford to LOWER taxes, especially after fat fattie's disaster of lowering the state sales tax, which will cripple us. they lowered taxes in Kansas, look at how that did for Brownback. even republicans had to say no this did not work and raised taxes. their state is a joke

  99. I have lived here all my life and love it! Mostly because I'm only a 40 minute drive away from Manhattan, I cannot afford to live there.
    I pay a lot of taxes. I pay a lot of real estate taxes.
    I'm hoping that Murphy has lots of free stuff for me and my family. I'm going to check out all the free stuff he is giving away and how I can get it.
    Since I'm so close to all the museums and entertainment that a person could love in NYC but I have to live here- where I might not be able to afford it soon then I have to get as much free and subsidized stuff as I can.
    And Murphy is a very very wealthy man. Maybe he will put his hand in his pocket and buy stuff to give to us NJ residents for free. Like Oprah.

  100. Best news so far today. When someone calls such ideas radical, I go back to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and read about fundamental principle of the universal destination of goods - that creation is meant for us all. Imagine if the family of man lived up to that ideal and was like our individual family around the dinner table, sharing with love instead of fighting tooth and nail to grab everything in sight.

  101. The Dems simply cannot resist raising taxes and alienating the voters - it's their nature. Eventually, just as the red states are turning blue, the blue states will turn start to turn red. The gentry liberals will support gay marriage and illegal immigrants (who don't compete with upper-crust professionals for jobs), but draw the line at being taxed at higher than 50%.

  102. If Republican voters have no problem with Donald Trump's tax code overhaul and the financial problems it brings, why would Mr. Bramnick think voters would suddenly have a problem with Governor Murphy's policies?

  103. Most states have state constitutions calling for balanced annual budgets.

  104. This is uplifting news and gives a glimpse of hope in an otherwise gloomy political landscape.

    Predictably, Republicans scream “extreme left-wing agenda" when they cannot fill the pockets of their rich donors and when tax dollars are used to improve people's lives, by providing affordable education and health care. Yes, we can afford this and yes, I am happy to pay state taxes when the money is well spent.

    Yet, these days I am loathe to pay federal taxes when I see the corruption and waste of the Trump Administration: Trump's extravagant golf weekends at taxpayers’ expense, a huge increase in military spending in lieu of a wise foreign policy, a tax cut that only helped him and the super-rich, Trump’s shameful attempt to take away health care from those in need, and his so-called infrastructure program which is a scam. Rebuilding America’s infrastructure on a scale worthy of the world’s richest nation was affordable before the tax cut. Instead, Trump is putting down a few cents on the dollar and is ready to privatize much of our failing infrastructure so that rich can get even richer by raising user fees on the rest of us. Wow!

    Governor Murphy is setting an example that other state can follow if voters see the upside and vote accordingly.

  105. Murphy apparently plans to move onto higher office before the bills come due. Like Goldman Sachs, he’s playing with other people’s money.

  106. Well, does Goldman sometime play with its own money and bets against its customers....then forgets to tell them? "We forgot" seems to have worked. Then again all federal, state and local government officials play with other peoples' money. They are generally called "taxpayers, but sometimes simply "suckers" seems more appropriate. Good luck.

  107. Now, now SB - Murphy inherited the $119 billion from the Big Guy. Remember when Obama was giving out those Obama dollars to governors? What did Christie do with NJ's?
    He isn't "playing with other people's money" as he has skin in the game too. Good luck Governor. Get some good stuff done!

  108. What a difference in Governors. I am so pleased.

  109. Republicans lost all credibility on what is fiscally responsible after passing that disastrous tax law.

  110. So many "good ideas" are possible when can spend other people's money. Then those people and businesses move.

  111. Enjoy Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Kentucky....where lower taxes generally produce Grand Old Poverty and opiate addiction.

    I ordered your moving truck.

    Enjoy.

  112. The liberal Democrat policy of tax-and-invest is infinitely better for everyone than the fake-conservative Republican policy of borrow-and-give-away. Fair and adequate taxation is the price of civilization.

  113. The following quote from a Democracy Now interview with Joseph Stiglitz in 2010 explains what progressive economics means. And on top of that it makes for a fairer, more equitable society. A win-win.

    Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz: Foreclosure Moratorium, Government Stimulus Needed to Revive US Economy
    https://www.democracynow.org/2010/10/20/nobel_laureate_joseph_stiglitz_o...

    “My view is we cannot afford not to stimulate the economy. So, anybody that says we should go back to austerity or we should not have a second-round stimulus just doesn’t understand economics. And let me be very clear about this. If we don’t stimulate the economy, the economy is going to get weaker. When the economy gets weaker, tax revenues go down and expenditures go up. Already, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps. The number of people on Medicaid is reaching record levels. So, revenues go down, expenditures go up, deficits get worse. If you stimulate the economy, then people get jobs, they spend money, tax revenues go up. Now, if we spend the money on investments in education, technology, infrastructure, you grow the economy in the short run from the stimulus, you grow the economy in the long term because of the returns that you get on these investments.”

    “Think about this from the point of view of a firm. If you are a firm and you could borrow at 0 to 2-1/2%, which is what the government can borrow, and you have investment opportunities that yield 10, 15, 20%...."

    [cont'd below]

  114. [part 2]

    “….you would be irresponsible, you would be foolish, not to undertake those investments. So, anybody that says, “I’m going to only look at one side of the balance sheet, the liabilities; I’m not going to look at the other side, the assets,” is really not understanding economics. It’s that kind of reasoning that got our country in the trouble in the first place — the shortsighted behavior of the banks that got our country in trouble in the first place. And to me, I just view those kinds of statements as totally irresponsible.”

    Bravo (and good luck), Governor Murphy!

  115. The voters of NJ had a choice between Murphy and a lackluster Republican candidate (what was her name again?) who was closely associated with the despised Chris Christie. Of course he won. He should not confuse that with a win for his - especially tax and spend - progressive policies. NJ is a center-left state on social policies but already taxed to the hilt and far more to the right on fiscal matters. If the governor aggressively pursues his policies of tax and spend he will quickly find himself leading a charge with very few followers.

  116. Thank you Governor. Would also love to have a municipal smoke- and vape-free parks law, previously vetoed by Christie but now doable and important in normalizing health behavior for children at our playgrounds and ball fields, as vaping is starting to take over our schools.

  117. “'He’s not liberal, he’s extreme,' said Jon Bramnick, the Republican minority leader in the State Assembly."

    If Murphy is extreme, I'd love to know how far-of-Right Bramnick thinks the center is located.

    NJ is already overtaxed, so I'd love to see Murphy fulfill the bulk of his agenda without raising property taxes (he's already proven himself creative and flexible on countering the federal GOP tax bill with a "charitable donation" component to our property taxes). And of course I'd rather not see the sales tax rise, since it was cut to balance the gas tax increase last year. But...

    ...after the Christie era, it's a boon for NJ to have a governor who knows you can't cut your way to prosperity (hello, Sam Brownback), who grants environmental issues the priority they deserve (which is why his opposition to the attempted overturning of the $225M Exxon settlement is troubling and disappointing), and who recognizes the urgency of upgrading our transit infrastructure. And New Jerseyans welcome his policies on legalizing marijuana and equal rights for racial, ethnic and gender-based populations that the current presidential administration has no qualms about marginalizing/vilifying.

    Murphy is hardly extreme. Many of us hope he can be a sufficient antidote to the deficiencies of his predecessor and the current GOP in Washington.

  118. You think legalizing Marijuana and sports betting are going to save this state?

    Murphy is yet another member of the all-boys network, coming from Goldman where he made a living back-slapping clients and towing the company line while building his fortune thinking that he actually has the temerity to govern a state.

    He is a joke. He thinks he can solve major budget deficiencies by taxing a specific portion of the population that is leaving the state in droves.

    New Jersey does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. Something which Christie tried to curb by imposing a 2% cap on property tax raises and Murphy has clearly stated he wants to abolish.

    How much are property taxes on your property? I bought my home in NJ in 2008 and as of 2017, my property taxes have gone up almost 40% in that time.

  119. Gravity will curb this big spender. The state pension promises are unaffordable as the taxpayers will soon find out. The weight of these promises will drag the ship of state down. So much for promises with other peoples' money, there is no such thing as too much taxation...

  120. NJ can't help itself from self destruction... :)
    Someone's (NJ) loss is always someone else's find...
    Benz picked up its tent with 800+ employees and went to Atlanta... Pharma is moving out in droves and remaining are not expanding...
    Some economic plan... But let's not stop there and give good education to the illegals... And free Pre-K...
    I think next step should be chicken in every pot, free Labor Day weekend at Jersey Shore, ... all on taxpayers dole...

  121. Woodrow Wilson, for all his faults, helped bring the Progressive Era to New Jersey. Good to see that tradition continuing, especially after the abrasive careerist Christie.

  122. The definition of liberal is in question here
    As a white woman I could agree with this article but to really be liberal then you would have to look at the race issue

    It doesn’t sell papers but the race gap is larger than the gender gap effect. Are you liberal by ignoring things like police brutality?
    WHat does liberal mean?

  123. Well, what do you suggest? A very large number of blacks don't have the skills ad education to compete in an ultra-competitive economy. I don't see where any of the Democrats' programs address this issue.

  124. It seems New Jersey is a place where wealthy Wall Streeters, Corzine, and now Murphy, have made so much money they buy themselves a governoship, in a state they no little about. Why the NJ people elect super rich outsiders to make their rules is beyond me.

  125. Anything, ANYTHING I'd better then what NJ had sitting in the Governor's seat (I mean the beach).

  126. Unfortunately, every politician who is successor to an unpopular predecessor believes they have a mandate for *all* of their policies, when in fact what the electorate wants is for the predecessor to just go away. I argue that a move to the center from the previous left or right is what is actually desired.
    But these idiots would rather proclaim that they have the undying love and backing of all voters, and need to go off the deep end in the opposite direction.

    Can't we just get someone who wants to steer towards the middle ?

  127. I hope the new governor will fast track the hudson river rail tunnel, which Trump has said is too expensive. It's been years since the initial proposal which Christie made sure would not happen. Republicans don't like things like rail tunnels; they smack of 'socialism'. They prefer automobiles and big oil, symbols of 'freedom'. They engage in denial. The oil industry has been subsidized since the 19th century by graft, lobby and war. The auto industry was enabled by bridge construction and interstate highways. We paid for the pollution this generated and still pay for the lung disease especially in W. Virginia coal mines. The entire issue of government creating and paying for infrastructure is seen in a warped manner which only works if people remain ignorant. Tunnels and trains: SOCIALISM. Highways and cars: FREEDOM. Will we ever wake up?

  128. Liberal bulwark? New Jersey vies with Massachusetts in aspecting an American socialist republic. The quaint holdovers from the colonial era, such as its infamous Freeloaders, and its labyrinthine tax structures where real estate taxes are paid only to vanish without a trace, notwit'standing.

  129. Liberal Bulwark. Product of the vampire squid Goldman Sachs politician farm system. Equipped with the commensurate hefty personal fortune. Suitably unopposed in the Democratic primary. An extreme left-wing agenda? Not likely.

  130. Don't ask for what you want you may get it.

    NJ threw out the scandal plagued, loud mouth, Trump loving Christie in favor of Murphy.

    They want a moderate progressive that will consolidate gains made but do not want a tax raising, spendthrift, ultra liberal, identity obsessed person like Murphy.

    Keep it up and you will get a Christie type in the next election.

  131. Yes, but it's still New Jersey isn't it?

  132. This guy is irrational and potentially unstable. It is sickly amusing that he ran on a platform saying "I'm going to raise the heck out of YOUR taxes! Vote for me!." And he won.
    Well, he is a man of his word.
    We already have some of the highest taxes in the country. Luckily everyone moving out won't have to pay tolls leaving.
    Florio Part II

  133. Republicans think equal pay is a far left agenda. Hilarious.

  134. not true. but it has to be equal pay for equal work and or equal talent. thats what makes america the land of opportunity. study hard, work hard and you can do better than the next person. otherwise it's just socialism.

  135. The problem with "equal talent" is that it's usually been defined and gets determined by a heterogeneous group -- making it naturally subjective.

  136. Sandy...that governor we elected has killed all desire in me

    We heard him in 2012 and now we won't be on the Jersey shore anymore.

    He was always the guy screaming down the beach with his microphone on.

    Kids saw him last night on Fox and later dancing for dinner with Trump at the RNC

    Oh Sandy, the old roller sits in the water.

    The pier lights and carnival burned in autumn.

    Our taxes have doubled as services died.

    I remember Sandy girl.....my poor Jersey.....

    I love it tonight, and promise to love it forever.

  137. $119 billion in debt, but let’s go on a spending spree!

  138. Maybe he’s actually a Democratic Trump? I mean the federal government cut taxes and raised spending. Why not NJ?

  139. Yeah like the two trillion in debt the Republicans passed to give corporate America and the 1% a big tax cut.

  140. "He did endorse Levi Sanders, the son of Senator Bernie Sanders, for Congress in Vermont ..."

    Levi is running in New Hampshire.

  141. Go Phil go! Don't listen to the haters.

  142. I think Governor Phil is going to do it. He is going to take NJ from the state with the 49th worst fiscal health in the country to # 50! You can do it Phil!

  143. Dear ScottG,
    Actually New Jersey was ranked #50 for fiscal health in 2017, thanks apparently to Gov. Christie. So the only way Gov. Murphy can go is up, and he probably will manage it. Legalizing and taxing marijuana should provide a few dozen billion in tax revenue, for example.

  144. Oh my God! NJ is one of the worst run states in the country & judging by the comments people want higher taxes with no fiscal responsibility or accountability. Just to further the liberal agenda.

  145. Yay!!

  146. NJ already has the highest taxes in the nation after NY and CA, so I guess Murphy is aiming for a dubious No. 1 position with his suggested tax hikes. Somehow raising taxes, increasing regulation and feeding an already bloated and corrupt government is not the path to economic or social dynamism. Murphy will take a declining economy and run it into reverse, much like his colleague Daniel Malloy in CT. Expect a GOP bounce back after four years of tax and spend extremism .

  147. NY and CA? Good company.
    Beats the republican basket cases of Kansas and Oklahoma. And Kentucky and Louisiana and Arkansas and Mississippi and...

  148. Here we go. Brownback and Jindal have provided us with the appropriate control experiments to compare the one NJ is about to undertake with Phil Murphy. More importantly, we have watched those experiments fail miserably already by any metric you care to apply. I am looking forward to the counter-example Governor Murphy has set out to put in place. Not that many on the right have ever been particularly swayed by actual data but eventually more and more people are going to have to take notice and concede that one approach is inherent superior to the other in improving the lives of the greatest number of people.

  149. As a New Jersey resident I can say thus far there is little change in life sice Murphy took office. I hear a lot of rumblings, like legalized weed, like a $15 minimum wage, but nothing so far. Only real changes thus far are ever-increasing gasoline prices (I see no demonstrable improvement in the roads since the gas tax went up) and now, apparently legalized sports betting. Those things would have happened under Christie, too. What is it with New Jersey and gambling?

    Still, Murphy holds himself with some decorum and he scores a few points just for that. Those points are earned in contrast to his predecessor, who turned every public appearance into a loudmouth photo-op. Murphy has thus far not had any cringe-worthy moments.

  150. You mean he didn’t solve all of NJ’s problems in the 5 months he has been in office and first legislative session? What a shock! Also gas prices are determined by oil prices which is set by the global marketplace and traditionally gets more expensive with saber-rattling Republicans in the White House. They have nothing to do with state politics. 95% of the increase you have seen is due to free market forces, not gas taxes! Lastly, road construction season just barely started. Were you expecting your brand new governor to repave all the highways In February when they were covered in ice?

  151. MartinX .. you are certainly right about the roads. I have never seen it this bad. They raised the tax and yet I have only seen a couple projects being done. The parkway which is usually very well maintained has pot holes and cracks. People were afraid this might happen. Raise the gas tax and still not much gets done.

  152. Michigan: hold my beer. ;)

  153. All good ideas until someone has to pay for them, and if the gov raises the tax rate too high on the wealthy, they will continue to leave and take their oversized tax payments with them. Not all, but enough to make a big dent in revenues.

    While we are on the topic on taxing rich people more and commenting how they should pay higher taxes, can we hear some comments about how those two big liberal leaning corps in Seattle , Amazon and Starbucks , are screaming and fighting Seattle's plan to implement a tax on these very profitable companies to help the homeless. Seems like a very noble cause that Jeff Bezos would usually be 100% behind - until he is asked to chip and and pay for some of it. So typical....

  154. Corporations are responsible for creating value for shareholders. Some ‘left leaning’ corporations believe they can create shareholder value by investing in their people, operations and infrastructure. However, since taxes always hit the bottom line and therefore reduce shareholder value, ALL corporations will ALWAYS fight for low taxes regardless of ideology. It is their fiduciary duty so let’s please not act surprised by this or create false moral equivalencies.

  155. Amazon is one of the most unprofitable companies in the US. It's easy to grow to enormous size if you sell your goods at cost.

  156. New Jersey already has the highest taxes in the nation, which is why there's a net exodus of native born citizens to lower-taxed states. A "Millionaires' Tax" will only encourage those with the most money to leave the state faster, taking their tax revenues with them.

  157. An exodus of people who can't afford it. Let 'em go.

  158. Here's a proposal to cut down property taxes: consolidate many of the 565 municipalities within New Jersey.

    For example, does Teterboro, with its population of 67 people and a bunch of private jets, really need its own mayor, 4-member council and other public employees?

    The property taxes in New Jersey are so high because too many redundant public employees' incomes depend on collecting them. It's time for some mergers and amalgamations - something a Goldman Sachs alum is sure to appreciate.

  159. I can once again hold my head high as a New Jersey resident. New Jersey has issues which will not easily be solved until we revise many of our policies. We have too many who draw simultaneous pensions while still holding a government job (and accruing another pension). The state policy of allowing government employees to accrue sick time over entire career and receive lump payout ($2 billion owed is solely accrued sick time). Our high property taxes might have something to do with having 565 municipalities - some as small as 22 residents . Many of these small places with redundant services could share services even if they don't wish to merge. And of course, we need to reverse the damage done by Chris Christie. New Jersey will get there - we once again have a decent captain steering the ship.

  160. I'm a native New Jerseyan who left 5 years ago. When I left 5 years ago I was paying $20,000 a year in property taxes on a house worth $540,000 on the tax rolls. Outrageous. The only things I miss are the Shore, Pizza, and Bagels. Murphy is a disaster and unfortunately he's going to take NJ over the edge. I don't even recognize my home town any longer.

  161. So you escaped to the tax haven of San Francisco?

  162. Murphy’s been in office only a few months. The things you complain about happened under Christie.

  163. I grew up on food stamps and SSI but did very well in school which allowed me to pursue my dream job in finance; money doesn’t buy happiness, but after growing up poor I very well knew that having money would likely be better than not having any. And now after 25 years as an investment banker- suffering NJ Transit every day into NYC - I recently retired. My wife and I seriously considered Florida for many reasons including of course the tax advantage. But ultimately there was no way we’d move to a state where Stand your Ground gun laws and other conservative stances seemed to hold sway. We stayed put in NJ, are here now for the long haul, and are so happy with Murphy as Governor. As one person insightfully pointed out to me, if you have enough money to move to save taxes, you have enough money to live wherever you want. If someone wants to live in a conservative state with weak gun laws, underpaid school teachers and antipathy to every minority, they can choose to do so, but for me I will happily pay taxes for the betterment of my state.

  164. @ Jim T.:
    " ... for me I will happily pay taxes for the betterment of my state."
    Bravo! If only more folks looked at it this way - particularly re public education, so that *every* child gets a fair shot at succeeding.

    Out here in (urban) CA, taxes are similarly astronomical; public schools deserve to get a bigger, better-managed share of that pie. I'm good with that.

    It's nice to see a sister state coming back to the liberal fold, NJ!
    Love,
    your big bro Cali ;)

  165. Well reasoned and inspired, Jim T.

  166. You live in Spring Lake -- you will be fine. I will be fine as well ... but, what about all the retired middle class individuals who built this state and now can't afford the 10k in RE taxes every year in more modest towns. I needed to help both my aunts and now my sister pay RE taxes -- the state is broken.

  167. It's pretty funny to me that there is an abundance of comments here grousing about New Jersey's property tax being the highest in the nation. This is true, but it ignores two major points, 1) this was true before Gov. Murphy was elected and thus it has nothing to do with him, and 2) none of his proposals include increasing property tax. Thus, all the complaints about property tax have absolutely nothing to do with this article, and fall into the commonplace GOP tactic of deflection and ignoring what is actually being discussed.

  168. Of course when you promise unlimited free stuff you have to pay for it somehow

  169. The point being made is that with property taxes so high, adding more tax elsewhere is a burden.

  170. He just got in and may very well have to raise property taxes. His first reaction was to raise every other tax. We'll see ... but the complaints certainly have to do with this article.

  171. NJ is apparently one of the highest taxed states.

    Does it provide education, social services, policing, roads and railways and other public goods commensurate with that high spending?

    I'm hearing not exactly.

    I found this ranking: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings/infrastructure/transpor...

    and: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings/quality-of-life

    I think the fundamental problem is unfortunately the "cost disease" found in high cost of living regions. In the NYC and Philly metro areas, you find more affluent people and so you find higher cost of living as housing prices are bid up. So you have to pay teachers, cops and construction workers more to keep up. You end up with the same level of talent and services but at the higher cost necessary to attract workers to the high COL area.

    I'm not sure there is a solution except maybe policies intended to reduce housing prices and expand public transit options. Or perhaps an exceptionally well run and efficient state bureaucracy.

  172. I feel like Murphy is just bringing Jersey to it's proper place after being held back for eight years by Christie. The conservative agenda that Christie needed to run for president was soundly rejected as evidenced by his historically low poll numbers.

    Funding for Planned Parenthood and tough gun laws are not radical in NJ. Returning the sales tax to where it was two years ago was predicted by the very same legislators that lowered it. NJ was once proud to be the most highly educated state in the nation. Providing affordable quality higher education for the everyone has no downside.

    How to pay for it? Well I ask: Is NJ overtaxed or just poorly taxed?Christie and Whitman thought lowering taxes was the answer and were clearly wrong. Property taxes in the cities soared and wealthy communities benefited. Raise the income tax on the richest earners. You know the ones that have a car drive them to work and don't use NJ Transit. The people who send their kids to private schools and are mad that they have to pay to educate other peoples kids in public schools.

  173. They're paying 9% already - and it's not even deductible any more. If they moved to Florida, they would pay 0%. How long do you think they'll stick around?

    For that kind of money, it would pay to move your whole hedge fund or investment bank to Boca Raton.

  174. New Jersey was fiscally stable through the Byrne Administration, when it had a AAA bond rating. However, with the Kean Administration, special interest voices began to be heard, and short term fiscal tactics and policies were implemented that started the state's demise. Kean left office, leaving Jim Florio with a leaky bucket to fix. When he did so, voters revolted and elected Christie Whitman, who announced tax cuts and other policies without any analysis of how they would be paid for. New Jersey went beyond the tipping point, and has been reeling ever since. And the economy is just too large for its leaders to resist the temptation of corruption. Its ethical standards are spotty, and most heavily enforced on the serfs on the bottom of the organization pyramid.

    I think of a mouse in the bottom of a tall empty milk bottle. It wants to get out, but there is no traction. I moved to Vermont 15 years ago. Vermont is considered a high tax state. But if my house and land were in New Jersey, the property taxes would be triple what I pay here.

  175. But VT doesn’t have jug handles, does it?

  176. Bramnick thinks this is an extreme left agenda? What does he think about the extreme right wing actions by the GOP in Washington? His party delivered significant tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans while the middle and working class received small cuts. Don't even bother mentioning the tweets. I won't go there. Maybe Bramnick should move to Texas for a more sympathetic audience and kindred spirits, who gladly welcome his way of thinking. The late Molly Ivins once called Texas, "A laboratory for bad government." Our present elected national leaders have already racked up a steep debt giving billions to people and corporations who don't need it. Why is Bramnick whining about someone spending money to help working families? I wish Texas had a governor with a kind heart. Our state license plate should read, "At least our cows are sane."

  177. I like the Democrats social agenda, but Murphy’s fist steps were to raise the sales tax, raise the income tax and proposing to eliminate the partial refund seniors get on property taxes. Higher gas taxes and tolls are in the pipeline. By contrast, Trump doubled the standard deduction on income taxes. As much as I like the Democrats, I won’t be voting for them.

  178. You don't like the Democrats. True Dems know that taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society...and we're able to look beyond our own self interest. 35 years of Reagan brought us to this moment in time.

  179. You live in Summit? 85 extra dollars a year to give schools help I think we can all spare,no?

  180. You do know that Trump's tax cut is all borrowed money, right? Eventually it has to be paid back with interest, perhaps by your kids.

  181. We'll see how "progressive" it feels when one the most heavily taxed states in the nation absorbs a fresh round of increases...even as it lurches toward bankruptcy due to its cradle-to-grave nurturing of government employees (at everyone else's expense).

    There aren't enough "rich" people to pay the tab, so get ready for the sales tax hike, the property tax hike, the toll and fare increases, etc etc etc.

    Glad I got out. Florida is open for business...

  182. Editor or Mr Corasaniti,
    While Murphy may have endorsed Levi Sanders for Congress in Vermont, it seems unlikely as Sanders is running in New Hampshire. That is the state on the right, not on the left. Thank you for reading this.

  183. Pensions, Pensions, Pensions. This guy will take NJ right "down the drain", just like upstate NY. It's a simple formula, tax people, agree to exorbitant pensions to get elected, rich people and industry leave, so you have to raise taxes and repeat the cycle. This feels like Europe. I live in PA now, 3% income tax and 3% capital gains. So many NJ government employees retired at 55 with 30 years pensions at their highest salary, meanwhile the "working people" Murphy is trying to help would need $3 million in their 401k accounts to earn the same amount. This is the problem. You want to tax the rich Murphy, they'd be a lot more sympathetic if the government pensions started at age 65. Take the savings and educate the poor. These pensions will kill NJ.

  184. I think Murphy is going to have to lower his expectations a bit, it is okay to shoot for the moon but you are also have to realize the limitations, too. On the other hand the republicans trying to be the party of 'moderation' isn't going to help them much, when the GOP tax bill comes home to roost, and with just how extreme the national GOP is (anti science, anti climate change work, pro hate and bigotry, pro loose gun laws, anti education), a republican other than at the very local level is going to have a hard sell that the GOP has anything to do with moderation; Not to mention that whatever Murphy does, no matter how out there some of it is, with the taste that Chris Christie left in NJ's mouth, and with what the GOP is going to do to the state with taxes, they are going to be labelled as what they are, maybe nice people in a party that represents the meanest, greediest and ugliest among us.

    Personally I would love Murphy to figure out how to break the tie between property taxes and school funding, that is the largest part of the tax burden most people face, but I won't hold my breath, too many complain about property taxes but then want "local control' of schools, and places like Mendham and the like will fight to the death for their high taxes so they can maintain their 'advantage' over less wealthy areas.

  185. Yes, property taxes are high where I live. 70% goes for schools and we don't have children. But I'm okay with it because 1) I appreciate an educated populace and 2) good schools, which we have, keep property values high and make Wyckoff an attractive community for young couples with children.

  186. Imagine that, a politician who needs his mandate. If only Obama had heeded his, we would have never gotten a President Trump.

  187. Simple solution, send the bill to the RNC.

  188. So long as Murphy operates within a balanced budget, I am largely indifferent to the details. Political labels are meaningless, too. Labeling an issue simply indicates what fool-osophy is promoting it at the moment.
    As I do, I suspect many citizens weigh the benefits they receive for the taxes they pay. Then they make "guess-timates" about the school quality, the abode they reside it, their employer's location and their commute.

  189. But why is it that those services can’t be high quality AND reasonably priced? Why can’t cops do their jobs without a union card in their pockets? Why do teachers demand to be treated like educated white collar professionals by acting like illiterate blue collar thugs? Why is the extensive landscaping at town hall done by $50,000/yr people who only passed a test while just as good a job is done at the office park next door by day laborers?

  190. Longtime NYCer, now in the Jersey ‘burbs, and all I can say is Yay!
    (And let’s make the trains run on time ok? Happy commuters are key).

  191. It amazes me how people react negatively to good ideas that fit the concept of justice as fairness. Increasing taxes to improve the quality of life by providing better education, healthcare, infrastructure and mass transportation is logical and desirable for rational human beings. The moment a decent politician (and Phil Murphy is one) steps in and tries to do something economically rational that improves people's utility, the chorus of doom pointing to some failure (Connecticut in this case) emerges (and gets picked by the Times in the comment sections). Why is that? People still don't understand that politics in this country and of course the media that supports it, belongs to a very tiny fraction of the population. Somehow this tiny minority manages to create some sort of false consciousness which make everyone support ideas that are against their own welfare. Murphy, an ex-banker and ambassador is a person of maximal integrity and intelligence. I wish him and the State of New Jersey well.

  192. How is he going top pay for it. Like any progressive would. By raising taxes. Duh.

  193. New Jersey is inherently ungovernable. The mass of tiny towns and school districts is massively inefficient, with a crushing burden of overhead costs per student or citizen. To have any hope they need to reorganize everything by county as in
    Northern Virginia, which is a paradigm of productivity. Certainly all those liberals in Short Hills will be happy to support their Newark neighbors.

  194. They already do. Short Hills and Newark are both in Essex County.

  195. You go, Murph! Haters gonna just hate. I grew up in the '60's also. I remember when America prospered and government was respected. Make New Jersey government work for the people again! I am rooting for you out here in Colorado!

  196. I feel like my lungs can breath again. However, the stench of Christie will hover over NJ for years. How anyone could vote for that bully is the same asinine mentality that made tRump president. The new tunnel between NJ & NY would have been finished by now and it hasn't even begun yet. Go sit on your beach by yourself Christie. We don't need backward thinking leaders like you anymore. Go Phil!

  197. Well of course NJ is a liberal bulwark. It has consistently had one of the best public education systems, from pre-school to university, in the country. Conservatives take note. This can be remedied. Michigan has effectively wrecked it's education system thanks to the leadership of people like Betsy DeVos and her family, and the state is now safely in the hands of a radical libertarian cabal that will take care of those liberal namby pamby school teacher types. Survival of the fittest is the watchword.

  198. The comments on this article are an excellent kaleidoscope into the minds of NJ residents, republican, democrat and centrist. Some key debates I found interesting:

    a) Liberalism vs capitalism
    b) How come Wall Street execs are running on liberal agendas
    c) The interconnected nature of NYC & NJ
    d) Are people really moving out of high tax states like NJ

    I believe my views on all of these is progressive but I do want to caution Gov. Murphy to focus on the blight in South Jersey in AC & Camden.

    We have the critical mass in population density in North/ Central Jersey and not merely our proximity to NYC which is so critical for those regions' economic successes.

    AC & Camden have the right ingredients in terms of population density. If we could address chronic crime and talent readiness and infrastructure in these two cities, they will solve our budget issues.

    Good luck Governor Murphy.

  199. Readers here forget NJ's problems started long ago. Previous governors and state legislators pillaged the pension fund for their budgets and were irresponsible in their spending.

    Municipal taxes are high, yes, but contrary to the state, their fiscal health is much better. Although I agree some public services and workers get paid too much, not to mention the level of corruption of state officials in NJ.

    It's easy to blame a governor, it's 1 person, 1 target. But in the election, we also re-elected 95% of incumbents in the legislature, who were responsible for our state shutdown (recall Christie on the beach) and who can't fund education or lower taxes to help businesses set up here. If we keep electing the same people, we'll keep having the same problems. Phil Murphy is really no different from Corzine, the state will end up in worse health than when he started...sorry Nick and liberals, that's the hard truth, but it's not all Murphy or Christie's fault. Being governor of NJ is like being dealt a losing hand. And while Christie was bad, he did merge Rutgers with UMDNJ and prevented property taxes from going up more higher than they could've.

    We have too many townships, too many illegals we're subsidizing. Also cities drive a lot of economic growth, but in NJ, cities are crime-ridden, drug infested while other states, they're safe and economic engines. That has to change.

  200. Jersey City begs to differ.

  201. I wouldn’t mind paying higher taxes if there were benefits for all. I’m listening, governor murphy.

  202. Was thinking of buying a vacation home in Point Pleasant Beach for upcoming retirement. But most of my extended family there plans to leave NJ and I am taking my retirement plans (and taxable income) to a friendlier place. It’s too bad but NJ will become a place where people with good jobs live in Montclair, Princeton and similar towns and solid middle class towns trend towards looking like Trenton, Camden and AC.

  203. Yes, and that is why I moved from NJ to NC right after Murphy's election.

  204. And I bought in Asheville, NC as a result of Christie.

  205. New Jersey lurches left and. Right but it is basically a moderate state. It will come back to the middle, as always.

  206. I live in NJ. I pay a lot of taxes. This might eventually cause me to leave the state, but not anytime soon. So if I am going to pay a lot of taxes, none of which is Governor Murphy's fault, then let my money go to propel a liberal agenda and redistribute the wealth,and help people less fortunate than I.

  207. The problem of funding is NOT a liberal dysfunction. All politicians in both Parties are unwilling to pay for the stuff they want. All states plus Washington. Free lunches win elections.

  208. Friends in New Jersey have raved to me about the change in tone, let alone the policy proposals of the new governor. There is reason to be very hopeful.

  209. New Jersey is internally Balkanized into a vast political patronage network. Savings from reorganizing local governance could pay for more visible results of spending taxpayer dollars.

  210. The issue for me and my family, frankly for New Jersey, is whether it can remain live-able. I am on the cusp of leaving NJ because it’s too expensive. Any state with lower property taxes looks extremely attractive.

  211. Since, within the context of the article, the mention of two Sikh "firsts" in the state is made to correlate with its progressive/leftward leaning, it's worth noting that the first Sikh elected governor was Nikki Haley in South Carolina — FWIW, hardly a bastion of progressive politics.

  212. Glad I moved out of NJ three years ago. Soon more folks will pull the ripcord and bail.

  213. NJ is in a death spiral ... I actually think it is past the point of no return. It's broke and the governor needs to spend more? ........maybe he is correct ... the state does need to do more because so many can't afford to live there .. lets make everything free.

    I grew up in NJ/NYC ..... My dad had a great job in Manhattan. Returned after school and started a related business .... did well. Bought in my home town (SJ) .. weekends at the shore. I'm leaving ... The taxes on my very nice house just hit 30k ... my beach house is 17k. Neither property has returned to 2006 value levels. I'm tried of running a business in NJ w/ all the regulations.

    Bought in PA. House just as nice .. taxes are 8k and the business climate is better. I will gladly pay the 2% that NJ charges residents when they leave the state ..... Yep, they thought of that as well.

    Unless you have to be in NJ -- there is no reason to stay.

  214. I wish he'd get the marijuana thing going. It's actually Democrats that are holding that up And the sports betting will add to the coffers, Again it's Senate President Sweeny holding that up. He should be replaced. I thing Murphy's one strange dude. And his first answer is to raise taxes. But I am willing to give him a chance. And although it was Christie who got the sports betting case to the Supreme Court, anything is better than the last 8 years.

  215. '“He’s not liberal; he’s extreme,” said Jon Bramnick, the Republican minority leader in the State Assembly.' This from someone whose elected president undid eight years of progress from Barack Obama in just a few days of Executive Orders, trashing the environment, education, diplomacy, taxes, health care, food stamps, et. al. Let's get real: if there is anything that George W. Bush taught us after squeaking to a court ordered electoral college victory, and Donald Trump taught us after losing the popular vote by 3 million votes, it's that Republicans are the epitomeme of extreme even when they don't really win. It's nice to see those favors being repaid in New Jersey. I am proud to see my blue state truly going blue.

  216. At least any city or NJ state as a whole can forget obtaining Amazon's 2nd HQ.