By Briana Vannozzi
Phil Murphy laid out his plans for New Jersey’s economic future. Like many of his Democratic predecessors who have run for governor, he’s got a long list of progressive and optimistic proposals.
“A strategy for creating a new middle class and a commitment to put every resource at our disposal to get it done,” Murphy said.
He spoke to a room full of supporters on NJIT’s Newark campus, a city that’s already leaning in his favor. Perhaps the biggest item introduced today — his plan to create the state’s first public bank. New Jersey has more than $1 billion invested in banks overseas.
“And just as with your paycheck, the state has no control over how these banks use our state dollars. So this is how, ironically, one example, how New Jersey’s dollars have been put hard to work building the road and rail infrastructure of the future — in Japan,” Murphy said.
Murphy lambasted the banks for happily taking state revenues, while doling out few if any loans to businesses.
“This money belongs to the people of New Jersey. It’s time to bring the money home so it can build our future,” he said.
He said he’ll attract new jobs, but not by giving out corporate tax breaks and incentives. He called that method small minded and outdated, costing taxpayers millions.
“As one of my first priorities, I will convene an innovation cabinet bringing together people from inside and outside government as partners rather than adversaries to work toward a common goal of getting state government to move at the speed of innovation,” Murphy said.
Murphy plans to expand New Jersey’s STEM curriculum for K-12 students and offer incentives for those career paths. Drawing on his experience as U.S. ambassador for Germany, he touted that country’s strong economy even in the worst of times.
“We’ll raise the minimum wage, expand earned income tax credit, create a child and caregiver tax credit, provide earned sick leave and ensure equal pay for equal work,” Murphy said.
But he offered few details on where he’ll find the cash to support all these big plans without raising taxes. Or how he’ll get the business industry and legislators on board.
“I’m not someone who comes in with my own posse and thinks they know all the answers. That’s never been my style. I’ve thrown a lot of stuff up here today. I’ve been thinking about it for several years. We previewed what we said today with a lot of folks, including folks who are in the system here politically,” Murphy said.
“I’ve met all the politicians and unfortunately they all sound like politicians. This is the first one running for governor who talks about we the people, we make New Jersey a better place for all of us,” said Sharpe James.
One student passing by today’s event summed up the gubernatorial race this way, saying it seemed a bit early for campaigning with Election Day over a year away. But with all the issues facing New Jersey, the candidates can probably use every minute they get.