Murphy Renews Call To Tax Wealthy During State Of The State Address

WCBS 880 Newsroom
January 14, 2020 - 5:41 pm
Phil Murphy

Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com

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TRENTON, N.J. (WCBS 880/AP) — Gov. Phil Murphy delivered his second State of the State address in New Jersey on Tuesday, defending his progressive policies and renewing his call for a millionaire’s tax.

“I'm gonna fight every day for the middle class values that built New Jersey in the first place,” Murphy said. “It's why I am not giving up the fight for a millionaire's tax so we could ease the property tax burden.”

As WCBS 880’s Joe Avellar reported, Senate President Steve Sweeney sat stone-faced behind Murphy as many applauded the proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy in the state.

Sweeney has adamantly opposed the tax, but Murphy maintains that the promise would east the property tax burden, help fund public schools and has a majority of New Jersey’s support.

“The millionaires and corporate CEOs made out just fine in the last recession and I assure you, they will again with the next one hits,” the Democratic governor said. “Thanks to the federal tax system, the richest 400 Americans now pay a lower tax rate than the nation's middle class – that is the first time that is ever happened.”

Murphy, a former executive at Goldman Sachs and an ambassador to Germany under Barack Obama, stuck closely to themes he's outlined since his earliest days campaigning to succeed Republican Chris Christie: giving more money to schools to meet mandated education funding levels, paying the public pension and shoring up New Jersey Transit's operations and reputation.

“Even as the new year unfolds, our mission does not change,” Murphy said.

He also promised long-term plans for transit, which he said hadn't previously existed, as well as new offices for health care transparency and a task force to study wealth disparity. He said he is also launching an initiative called Jobs NJ aimed at helping workers and employers match up.

Republicans, in the minority in state government, panned the speech. GOP state chairman Doug Steinhardt said Democrats only argue over how much to raise taxes.

“New Jersey is in the throes of an affordability crisis and Trenton Democrats are tone deaf to its residents’ needs,” he said in a statement.

(© 2020 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)