Sunday, May 27, 2018

Watch out, Gov. Murphy, you're about to get kneecapped

Star-Ledger Columnist Tom Moran writes:

After a killer career in the private sector, Gov. Phil Murphy is about to get an education in the frustrations of governing.

He's had a good run, so far. In four months, he's checked off several big items from the liberal wish list. Equal pay for women. Automatic voter registration. Funding for Planned Parenthood. A return to sanity on climate change. And a robust fight against President Trump on everything, from sanctuary cities and guns, to taxes and water pollution

"We will reclaim the progressive soul of this state," Murphy said in March.

I sat with the governor for an hour on Monday and came away with two main thoughts.

One is that he's a likeable guy, sincere and smart -- a bit nerdy, perhaps, but bursting with genuine passion to build a more just economy, one strong enough to bring everyone aboard. I root for him to succeed.

But I'm not betting on it. Which brings us to my second thought: I have a sinking feeling that we've already seen the best of the Murphy Era. This could get ugly fast.

Because all signs say the Legislature is going to murder his budget next month by refusing to raise the sales tax, leaving him a whopping $581 million short. Legislative leaders say that in public, and they emphasize it in private. And Murphy has built no reservoir of good will to fall back on.

They don't like him. They don't fear him. And they are convinced he's mistaken about the state's progressive soul -- at least when it comes to raising taxes.

Read the full column

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