Governor Murphy gave his State of the State Address today. Those of us who live and work in NJ already know the state of the state.

Governor Murphy gave his State of the State address today.  I was reminded of Obama blaming Bush for everything that went wrong in the first half of his term and left wondering how long Murphy will blame former Governor Christie for Murphy’s failures.  Murphy could have saved the effort.  Those of us who live and work in New Jersey already know the state of the state and it is not good.  Murphy is far out of touch with the hard working law abiding citizens of New Jersey.

New Jersey 101.5 radio reported on a Statehouse rally yesterday where progressive groups complained about Murphy and his inaction on issues important to them.

Rev. Charles Boyer Pastor of Bethel AME Church in Woodbury said “New Jersey believes itself to be a shining light of progressive principles and forward thinking.  “Yet in a government monopolized by one party we find ourselves virtually at a standstill on some of the most pressing policies of our day.”

Marcia Marley President of BlueWaveNJ emphasized the lack of progress on a $15 minimum wage,which was passed in 2016 but vetoed by then Governor Chris Christie.  “Over the last year, major legislation that has been promised or passed has been delayed or not introduced once we have a governor that will sign it,” Marley said.

Ryan Haygood President and Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice noted that 2019 is an election year for the state Assembly and said “not a seat in the Assembly is safe” unless incumbents earn the support of progressive activists.  “We have all in one way or another been deeply disappointed by the lack of progress that we’ve made in the last year even as other states have made major steps in the direction that we were supposed to lead,” Haygood said.

Agnes Marsala President of the group People Over Pipelines said Murphy committed as a candidate to address natural-gas pipelines but that his Department of Environmental Protection hasn’t taken action. “Your pussyfooting around sends a message to those career professionals that you don’t intend to steer the ship and state back towards safety and sanity,” Marsala said.

On a first-year environmental scorecard issued Monday, the Sierra Club gave Murphy a grade of D for disappointment, said its Director, Jeff Tittel.  “We’re running out of time and we’re running out of patience. You’ve made commitments to get things done in this state,” Tittel said. “Instead what we have seen has been more and more delays, excuses and a lack of action.”

While I am not a supporter of all of these issues it’s obvious that Murphy’s first year as Governor is being judged a failure by both Republicans and Democrats.  I have found it telling that State Senate President Steve Sweeney seemed to have a better working relationship with Governor Christie then he does Murphy.  Murphy came into this State of the State today with something to prove.  Unfortunately for all of New Jersey his address was as big a failure as his term as Governor.

I won’t recite Murphy’s address word for word but I will comment on parts of it.  If you missed Murphy’s address see the video below.  If you intend to do a drinking game and take a shot every time he tells us what a great job he’s doing you may not make it to the end.

Murphy began his address and put considerable emphasis on New Jersey’s tax incentive programs.  “I had planned to give a very different speech today but after reading the audit of New Jersey’s corporate tax incentives released last week this is not a time for business as usual”.  Instantly you could surmise that this address would focus on Murphy highlighting what he feels are the failures of the prior administration not his own.

In talking about the tax incentive programs Murphy said “This is taxpayer money. For the same price as these tax breaks New Jersey could have funded our public schools, funded NJ TRANSIT, met our pension obligations, provided more property tax relief or all of the above. We could have rebuilt the entire Portal Bridge on our own seven times. We could have built the ARC Tunnel or at least financed nearly the entire length of the Gateway Tunnel”.  Murphy doesn’t mention the $2.1 million he’s put aside for the legal defense of illegal immigrants who are facing detention or deportation.  I wonder that that taxpayer money could be spent on?

Murphy called himself a “pro-growth progressive” and said “proudly so”.  Murphy continued “I am working every day to support companies and start-ups that want to grow, create jobs and thrive in New Jersey”.  Murphy is in his own (marijuana induced?) dreamland.  Murphy is creating an unfriendly business environment in New Jersey.  His policies are chasing the job creators out of the state.  The $15 minimum wage will destroy small and service related business and increase costs for everyone.  While New Jersey holds the title of the #1 state that people leave they are taking a talent base with them.  Businesses in New Jersey now pay 60% more in taxes.  Some may welcome businesses paying more in taxes without realizing that many of these business are small and cannot afford the combination of increased taxes and a $15 minimum wage.

Murphy didn’t miss a chance to take a shot at President Trump.  In referring to Alfa Demmellash who heads up Rising Tide Capital Murphy said “By the way, Alfa came to America from Ethiopia at the age of 12. She ultimately graduated from Harvard, and is now a game-changer in our state. I hope you are watching, President Trump, because her life is the American Dream”.  Could Murphy be any more disingenuous?  The President has said repeatedly that he doesn’t want to ban immigration into the U.S. but wants to make sure immigrants come here legally.  It is in the best interest of the safety and security of all Americans to ensure that those who come into our country are vetted and do so legally.  Murphy knows that.  He garnering support for this sanctuary dream by playing to the uninformed.

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Murphy continued “Companies want to stay and grow and locate in a state that allows them to flourish and for their workers to prosper in all parts of their lives”.  I guess Murphy hasn’t read the news lately.  Companies are leaving New Jersey.  The talent pool is leaving New Jersey.  Or when he says that “companies want to stay and grow and locate in a state that allows them to flourish” maybe he’s not talking about New Jersey.  Murphy fails to mention that 2,611 upcoming layoffs in New Jersey were announced between November 30, 2018 and December 8, 2018.  I’m positive there are many more to come.

Murphy said “I can proudly say that the state of our state is stronger and fairer than it was one year ago”.  I ask for who Governor?  Illegal immigrants?  Criminals?  Certainly not for the hard working law abiding citizens of New Jersey!

The Governor then took credit for President Trump’s job number saying ”
Today, more New Jerseyans are working and fewer are unemployed”.  Murphy said “last year from the time I took office through November 2018 our economy created 50,000 new private-sector jobs.  Our unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 2001”.  Governor thanks to President Trump the national unemployment rate is at it’s lowest since 1969.  Your policies are killing jobs in New Jersey.  More New Jerseyans are working despite you!

“Today, our communities are safer because we have strengthened common sense gun safety laws” Murphy said.  Many disagree Governor.  Your gun control laws have restricted the ability of law abiding gun owners to protect their families.  Criminals by definition break the law and could care less about your control measures.  Criminals still acquire and use guns.  Former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik said that your high capacity magazine ban was putting the lives of law enforcement officers in danger.  Your misguided gun laws did not save the life of John Bertram who was killed in an armed robbery while working an overnight shift at an Edison gas station in December.

Murphy pitched his $15 minimum wage saying the “More than one-third of all New Jersey households encompassing all ages and races, in every county, still can’t earn enough to afford basic needs. The fact that many of these households are headed by someone working full time including at more than one job shows us the need for action”.   Murphy continued “putting the minimum wage on a clear and responsible path to $15 an hour” will strengthen our businesses”.  The  governor knows that a $15 minimum wage will kill jobs, kill small business and raise prices hurting the very people it is intended to help.  Study after study has shown the negative effect of a dramatically increased minimum wage.  Murphy should be focused on providing minimum wage workers the job skills they need to be more valuable to employers not putting the burden of a $15 minimum wage on New Jersey employers.

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Murphy then moved to Obamacare saying that while some in Washington continue their assault on healthcare he safeguarded Affordable Care Act.  The ACA is failed legislation that increase the healthcare costs of hardworking Americans and the businesses that employ them across America.  Murphy fails to mention that the ACA was ruled unconstitutional by a Federal court in Texas and enrollment being dramatically down despite a push by he, Booker and Menendez.  Murphy also failed to mention that he apparently thinks he’s more powerful then the United States Congress since he reinstated the health insurance mandate.

No Murphy address would be complete without him talking about recreational marijuana.  After all it’s those who support legalized recreational marijuana who got him elected.  Murphy says that by legalizing marijuana “we can reverse the inequality and unfairness left from years of failed drug policies and shift public safety resources to where they can do the most good”.

Marijuana is federally illegal.  While disappointingly the federal government has not enforced federal law in the thirty states and the District of Columbia that have “legalized” marijuana and a total of 46 states that have some form of marijuana laws   (laws regarding “legalized” marijuana, “decriminalizing” marijuana and “medical marijuana”) these states have done so in directly conflict with federal law (See the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) (21 U.S.C. § 811)).  Under federal law marijuana is treated like every other controlled substance, such as cocaine and heroin. The federal government places every controlled substance in a schedule, in principle according to its relative potential for abuse and medicinal value. Under the Controlled Substances Act marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which means that the federal government views marijuana as highly addictive   Federal marijuana laws are very serious and punishment for people found guilty is frequently very severe. Federal law considers marijuana a dangerous illegal drug despite not enforcing marijuana laws.

I take issue with Murphy saying ” We must ensure that those with a past mark on their records because of a low-level offense can have that stain removed, so they can move forward to get a stable job or an education”.  Those who break the law suffer the consequences of a criminal record.  What if Murphy decided tomorrow that auto theft is a “low level offense”?  He is going to expunge offenders records?  Breaking and entering?  Armed robbery?  Oh that’s right.  Criminals don’t have guns.  Murphy outlawed them!  Please note sarcasm.

In anticipation of a law “legalizing” marijuana dozens of municipalities in New Jersey have pre-emptively banned marijuana sales including Oceanport, Hazlet, Parsippany, Middletown, Brick, Barnegat, Garfield, Mahwah, Pont Pleasant Beach, Toms River and others.  The New Jersey Association of Police Chiefs opposes “legalized” marijuana legislation.  John J. Zebrowski, Chief of the Sayerville Police Department stated in an article posted on “our membership believes the legalization of recreational marijuana will adversely impact the quality of life of our residents”

Despite Murphy apparently believing he is more important than the Federal Government marijuana cannot be “legalized” or “decriminalized”.

In referring to legalized marijuana Murphy said “it will also allow us to broadly benefit from creating an entirely new and legal industry, much as we did last year with sports betting”.  Did Murphy take credit for the hard work Governor Christie did to bring sports betting to New Jersey the same as he took credit for President Trump’s job numbers?  Let me get this straight.  When President Trump or Governor Christie did something good it’s to Murphy’s credit.  When Murphy does something bad it’s Trump or Christie’s fault.  Got it.

Murphy had more to say just as we knew he would!  “Let’s restore voting rights for individuals on probation or parole so we can further their reentry into society by allowing them to exercise the most sacred right offered by our society the right to vote”.  I assume that someone told Murphy that ex-offenders tend to vote Democrat.

In today’s address Murphy didn’t mention making New Jersey a sanctuary for illegal immigrants, the danger the AG’s sanctuary rules are putting New Jerseyans in, the cost of illegal immigration on New Jersey tax payers, providing $2.1 million in tax payer funds for the legal defense of illegal immigrants facing detention or deportation, college tuition assistance for illegal immigrants, driver licenses (including Real ID compliant licenses that allow recipients to board airplanes) for illegal immigrants, our tax dollars subsidizing the horse racing industry, redistricting efforts or Snowgate.

You can’t blame me.  When Murphy spent his Christmas vacation in Africa I pleaded with the people of Tanzania to keep Murphy and make him their leader.  My pleas seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

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Republican legislative leaders quickly responded saying that Murphy failed to address the state’s high taxes and poor affordability.  Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick said the Governor is a “nice man with a big heart” but the state doesn’t have enough money to address its financial issues including public pensions and health benefits.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. said Murphy is wrong to believe higher taxes will help lift the state’s economy and address budget constraints.  Kean said “If you ask many New Jerseyans if they believe we have a state that is stronger and fairer than a year ago I think you’ll find the answer to be no.  For the past year, Governor Murphy has ignored basic fiscal reforms that would lower the cost of government and make New Jersey more affordable for residents and taxpayers”.  Ken continued “It’s not surprising, but it is disappointing that he failed to demand action on any of those reforms today too.  The result of this ongoing failure is repeated over and over in headlines that highlight the continued flight of residents and employers from New Jersey”.

On Murphy’s emphasis on tax incentive programs Kean said “He spent much of his speech focused on those programs because he has little else to highlight that’s positive from an affordability standpoint.  Kean finished by saying “It’s not surprising then that a clear agenda for the next year that reflects the taxpayers’ priorities was missing from the Governor’s speech.

New Jersey GOP State Committee Chair Doug Steinhardt responded on Facebook saying “New Jersey is headed in the wrong direction. Businesses and jobs are leaving our State at alarming rates because the Governor’s ultra-liberal policies make New Jersey the most inhospitable state in the country in which to live and work.”  Steinhardt continued “New Jersey’s communities were once made up of multiple generations of families living in the same neighborhoods, having Sunday dinners and growing up together. Today, our kids can’t afford to get their start here and our grandparents can’t afford to retire here.  I will not be one of those parents or grandparents who is forced to visit his children or grandchildren on Skype or Facetime because they can’t afford to live here, work here or find a job here.  I know we can do better, we have to do better, and our Republican leaders are committed to doing just that”.

Governor Murphy showed us yet again that he is out of touch with the hard working law abiding citizens of New Jersey.  He is not focused on solving the problems facing New Jersey.  While New Jersey was recently ranked the #1 state people are leaving Murphy continues his push to job and revenue creators out of the state.  With them will go talented workers.  Murphy is going to force small businesses either out of existence or out of the state with high taxes and $15 minimum wage.

Murphy continues to be more focused on defying President Trump then serving the people of New Jersey.  His vision of a “fairer” New Jersey puts illegal immigrants, criminals and low wage workers before business, job creators, revenue generators and hard working law abiding New Jerseyans.  His gun control measures put law abiding gun owners and law enforcement officers in danger while criminals ignore them.   He continues to push Obamacare despite it being failed legislation, ruled unconstitutional by a federal court and enrollment being dramatically down compared to prior years.  He believes himself more powerful than Congress  by reinstating the health insurance mandate.

Murphy continues pushing for legalized recreational marijuana despite it being federally illegal (Murphy does not trump federal law – pun intended) and the challenges other states that have done so face.  Hakes credit for President Trumps low unemployment numbers and Chris Christie working hard to bring sports betting to New Jersey.

The Governor is pushing his sanctuary dream on New Jersey.  It’s no longer “Welcome to New Jersey the Garden State” but “Welcome to New Jersey the Sanctuary State”.  New Jersey law enforcement is no longer allowed to cooperate with federal immigration officials, $2.1 million has been allocated to the legal defense of illegal immigrants facing detention or deportation, illegal immigrants get tuition assistance at New Jersey colleges and now Murphy wants to give illegal immigrants driver licenses (in some cases Real ID licenses that would allow them to board airplanes).

Even some Democrats in New Jersey rate Murphy’s performance as low.

Murphy is wrong for New Jersey.  I fear that by the time he is done with us New Jersey will be a wasteland and the people of New Jersey will envy the people of Detroit.

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