(The Center Square) – Predictably, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s State of the State, broadcast Tuesday, didn't elicit much in the way of a positive response from the state's Republican leaders.
“New Jersey’s 2020 was very much a Murphy Meltdown,” the New Jersey GOP wrote in a statement. “The governor failed in his response to the pandemic, ordering COVID-positive patients back into our long-term care facilities, not protecting our veterans homes, and ignoring medical advice in favor of PR spin.”
Republicans also criticized Murphy’s handling of the state’s finances.
“He also chose his far-left ideology over the basics of his job – pushing a liberal wish list over running Motor Vehicles (Department), raising taxes instead of effectively delivering unemployment aid, and repeatedly telling people to leave New Jersey if they don’t agree with him,” the NJGOP said in their statement. “Our state is taxing and spending more than ever, and Murphy’s massive debt scheme will leave our children footing the bill.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said Murphy needs to work with Republicans in the Legislature.
“We could have prevented the policy failures that led to unnecessary deaths in our nursing and veterans homes, the closure of nearly one-third of New Jersey’s small businesses, and the unemployment of nearly two-million New Jerseyans,” Kean said in a statement. “If Governor Murphy truly wants to make New Jersey stronger in the year ahead, he should learn from the mistakes of 2020 and work to build consensus with other elected leaders.
Business groups asked Murphy to do more to help the state’s businesses.
Michele Siekerka, president and CEO of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association thanked Murphy and his administration for their efforts, noting they did not have an easy road.
“We are certainly excited about a new and balanced economic incentive program, signed by Governor Murphy last week, which will be a strong tool to both create and retain jobs in our great state,” Siekerka said in a statement. “For the sake of our affordability and fiscal survival, impactful fiscal reforms must now supplant the excessive taxation on our overburdened residents and businesses. Without that commitment, New Jersey’s considerable challenges will only grow greater.”
The state director of New Jersey’s National Federation of Independent Businesses called the speech “a lot of slick video production but there wasn’t much there for small businesses.”
“As a matter of fact, when he listed his accomplishments, many have been mandates that are harmful to small businesses because they raised the overall cost of doing business,” NFIB state director Eileen Kean said in a statement. “The Governor said small businesses are the backbone of the local and state economy but the incentive program he highlights really doesn’t offer economic relief to them, but instead to new startups or attracting businesses from out of state.”