N.J. GOP counters governor’s address with demands for less spending

The state of the state is ‘extreme, extreme, extreme,’ GOP senator says

By: - January 10, 2023 6:33 pm

Sen. Steven Oroho, right, the Senate's Republican leader, called the state of the state "extreme, extreme, extreme" following Gov. Phil Murphy's annual address. (Hal Brown for New Jersey Monitor)

Minutes after Gov. Phil Murphy bragged about new boardwalks, breweries, and a burgeoning film industry during his State of the State address Tuesday, state Republican leaders said nearly every one of Murphy’s claimed victories make New Jersey one of the nation’s priciest places to live.

While Murphy touted things like a tax-relief program called ANCHOR, Assemblyman John DiMaio, the Assembly’s GOP leader, said that program was just one example of how the state of the state isn’t as rosy as Murphy suggested.

“Government spending increased more than $16 billion since Gov. Murphy took office, and taxes have been raised 60 times, but people are still waiting for that ANCHOR check,” said DiMaio (R-Warren). “We lead the nation in out-migration, and people with real dollars leave the state to go to other states.”

He added: “We need to make New Jersey more affordable, and year after year, it’s become more expensive to live here.”

Sen. Steven Oroho (R-Sussex), the Senate’s Republican leader, joined DiMaio at the Statehouse to deliver the official GOP response to Murphy’s address.

Oroho railed against policies the Murphy administration has pushed or enacted in the past year — things like codifying abortion rights, accelerating green-energy goals, updating state standards on school health curriculum, and criminal justice reforms — that he condemned as extreme.

“Abortion to the day of birth. Energy master plan four times more costly to families and businesses. Inappropriate sex education. Handcuffing law enforcement instead of criminals. Worst-in-the-nation taxes,” Oroho said. “The state of the state is extreme, extreme, extreme.”

The GOP leaders urged Murphy and legislative Democrats to give some Republican proposals a shot, like slashing the corporate business tax, cutting pork spending, and devoting federal pandemic relief money to funding the state’s troubled unemployment and motor vehicle computer systems.

“After five years of the Murphy administration and two decades of full Democratic control of the Legislature, the outlook for New Jersey continues to get worse,” Oroho said. “We have the highest taxes, the most debt, and worst business climate in the nation.”

He added: “It should be clear, we can do better.”

Plenty of other Republicans piled on.

Alexandra Wilkes of the New Jersey Republican Party called Murphy’s address “just another laundry list of far-left policies designed to set the stage for his presidential run.”

“Murphy’s rosy picture of New Jersey as a progressive paradise is our everyday nightmare,” Wilkes said in a statement. “It is more difficult than ever to afford to put food on the table, heat our homes, and run a business. Today’s speech particularly showed the importance of electing Republican majorities in the state Legislature this year to place a badly needed check on Murphy’s governorship and to stop his presidential campaign dead in its tracks.”

New Jersey Republicans hope to make gains in the Legislature in November, when all 120 legislative seats are up for grabs.

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Dana DiFilippo
Dana DiFilippo

Dana DiFilippo comes to the New Jersey Monitor from WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station, and the Philadelphia Daily News, a paper known for exposing corruption and holding public officials accountable. Prior to that, she worked at newspapers in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and suburban Philadelphia and has freelanced for various local and national magazines, newspapers and websites. She lives in Central Jersey with her husband, a photojournalist, and their two children.