NOW PHIL’S WORK
BEGINS FOR REAL
phil murphy began campaigning for
governor almost two years ago. Thanks
to a winning smile, a deep war chest
and a sackful of promises, the Democrat from Middletown cruised to victory in November by more than 13 points
over GOP candidate Kim Guadagno,
our soon-to-be ex-lieutenant governor.
Once he’s taken the reins in Trenton,
Murphy (like a former Atlantic City
casino developer who now lives in the
White House) may long for the simpler
days on the campaign trail.
Let’s face it: The Garden State is
a troubled state, deeply burdened by
public-pension debt, weighed down
by excessive taxes, hampered by a neglected infrastructure and threatened
by an ongoing exodus of wealth. It’s not
a pretty picture.
Is there reason to believe that
Murphy can make progress where his
predecessor, Chris Christie, fell short?
We’d like to think that a chief executive fully focused on the state’s issues
(rather than national politics) has an
immediate advantage. Murphy’s business background may also prove more
helpful than Christie’s experience as
a prosecutor. Further, Murphy has the
advantage of working with a Legislature controlled by his own party.
Still, we have to wonder whether
the 6-foot- 3 Wall Street millionaire
will stand tall when the state’s many
special interests come knocking at
his Trenton door—especially those
groups that helped sweep him into office. And we wonder if key ingredients
of his recipe for new revenue—a tax
increase on the wealthy and legalization of marijuana—will move through
the Legislature as quickly as Murphy
would like, if at all.
Whatever your politics, it’s time to
give Murphy a shot. We offer him our
best—plus some advice from five former
governors in this month’s installment of
Steve Adubato’s Only in New Jersey.
We know Murphy is a great cam-
paigner; let’s hope he’s a good listener.
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