Volume 11/Issue 1 - Wednesday, January 15, 2020
  • Governor Murphy Delivers 2020 State of the State Address

 

GOVERNOR MURPHY DELIVERS 2020 STATE OF THE STATE OF ADDRESS

Governor Murphy delivered his 2020 State of the State Address, calling for cultural and ethical change in Trenton, while proudly promoting the progressive policy agenda he has championed since he took office. The Governor pointed to a series of progressive successes from an increase in the minimum wage to earned sick leave to funding for planned parenthood that had suffered under his predecessor. In looking to the year ahead, the Governor reiterated his call for a millionaire’s tax, his desire to pass a business incentives plan and his focus on continuing the investments in NJ Transit. These initiatives are all part of the Governor’s push for an economy and state that works for everyone.

The speech broke down into three central themes:

  • Making Smart Investments in the Middle Class
  • Restoring Fiscal Responsibility
  • Changing the Culture of Trenton

MAKING SMART INVESTMENTS IN THE MIDDLE CLASS

Contrasting his Administration’s work with President Trump’s health care policy proposal, Governor Murphy called for the establishment of an Office of Health Care Affordability and Transparency, within the Governor’s Office, to work across state agencies to reduce consumer health care costs, make insurance more affordable, and improve price transparency.

The Governor announced the creation of a new task force comprised of government officials, academic researchers, and faith and community leaders – with the specific charge to address wealth disparity.

He highlighted his Administration’s renewable energy accomplishments and their impact on both the environment and the economy. He specifically cited the progress on creation of an offshore wind industry in New Jersey and the path NJ has set for a 100-percent clean-energy economy by 2050. The Governor also announced that he will unveil the State’s Energy Master Plan in two weeks.

RESTORING FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

The central focus of the fiscal section of the speech was Governor Murphy calling on the legislature to pass a millionaire’s tax in order to fund public education and property tax relief for seniors and the middle class. The Governor said he was not giving up the fight despite the Legislature’s refusal to pass the tax in the last two budgets.

The other major announcement was the creation of a new plan called “Jobs NJ,”

“Jobs NJ” will focus on ongoing job training, so workers can continue to learn and compete as the needs of employers evolve with new technologies and new economic realities. It will also seek to close longstanding structural and racial equity gaps, especially for residents from historically underserved communities, for new immigrants, or for formerly incarcerated individuals reentering the workforce.

The Governor called for the legislature to work with him to complete the job on new economic incentives to retain and attract businesses to NJ.

Governor Murphy also made fixing NJ TRANSIT a central component of his speech, announcing that the agency will unveil a 10-year strategic plan, and, beyond that, a five-year capital plan, to guide the agency through this new decade. He foreshadowed that his FY 2021 budget proposal will also address NJ TRANSIT needs.

CHANGING THE CULTURE OF TRENTON

Acknowledging that it’s been more than a decade since the executive and legislative branches undertook a comprehensive ethics reform, Governor Murphy announced that he will propose a series of ethics reforms to, among other things, strengthen financial disclosures, tighten pay-to-play requirements, expand transparency, and increase awareness to the goings-on in Trenton.

He noted in his speech that “… nothing – more exemplifies that need to change the longstanding culture than the pernicious sexism and abuse that still creeps across these hallways, at conferences, and in meeting rooms,” in around and Trenton. He vowed to the women listening to his speech that, “we will listen, and we will act.”