Government

Challenges Abound for Gov. Murphy, Say Rutgers Experts

4a4a2b37b85d6c74b98e_best_crop_bf38466fc46ba1bca7d7_Murphy800px-Philip_D_2x._Murphy_2x.jpg
4a4a2b37b85d6c74b98e_best_crop_bf38466fc46ba1bca7d7_Murphy800px-Philip_D_2x._Murphy_2x.jpg

From legalizing marijuana to funding the public employee pension system, New Jersey’s incoming governor faces challenges that require investments of time, leadership and communication

Phil Murphy, who today becomes New Jersey’s 56th governor, takes the helm of a state facing numerous challenges – fiscal, infrastructure, and transportation, to name a few.   Murphy supported a $15 minimum wage and the legalization of marijuana during his campaign, and now faces the difficulties inherent in bringing those priorities to fruition. Rutgers Today asked several faculty experts about the long road ahead for the new governor.

Q: What advice do you have for governors in general, and for Governor Murphy in particular, for their first year in office?

Sign Up for E-News

John Weingart, associate director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics; director of the Center on the American Governor: Governors are important because state government is important. It is the level charged with melding national laws and policies with local jurisdictions and issues. Its perspective must be broader than that of municipal or county government, but still able to appreciate situations facing neighborhoods and even individual families in ways that generally are inaccessible to federal officials.

Governors themselves are unique among elected officials in the United States by being highly visible and powerful like a president, but also familiar and approachable like a local mayor. While the legislature and sometimes judiciary can play a major role in determining policy, the governor is seen as the voice and face of government in her or his state. And, even in a state of nine million people like New Jersey, it is often relatively easy to put yourself in the governor’s presence at an event in your community or as part of an organized interest group, and feel something of a personal relationship.

Q: During his campaign, Murphy prioritized raising New Jersey’s hourly minimum wage to $15. How strong is public support for this initiative, and what challenges will it face from businesses or other sources?

Heather McKay, director, Education and Employment Research Center, School of Management and Labor Relations: Recent data from the U.S. Census ranks New Jersey 12th highest in the nation in terms of income inequality. Raising the state’s minimum wage would go a long way in bridging that inequality. The workers who would receive a pay increase are overwhelmingly adults who work full-time in regular jobs. Research by New Jersey Policy Perspective notes that one New Jersey worker in four would benefit from the change. This increase will improve their chances of making ends meet and providing for their families in this high-cost state. While some, including the Protect New Jersey Jobs Coalition, have noted their opposition to this policy change, there is a vast amount of research both in New Jersey and in the country demonstrating the benefits of raising the minimum wage on economic activity, job growth and employment. The benefits of this policy change for New Jersey workers and communities far outweigh the perceived drawbacks.

Q: Murphy also said he will seek to legalize marijuana.  What safety and/or health concerns should be addressed if this is to happen?

Cristine Delnevo, vice dean, Rutgers School of Public Health:  Research suggests marijuana has both therapeutic and harmful effects. Marijuana may affect brain development in young people, so there should be age restrictions on its sale. Many people see marijuana as less dangerous and more socially acceptable than alcohol, and there is data to suggest that opioid-related deaths are fewer in states where marijuana is legal. If New Jersey legalizes marijuana, our lawmakers should ensure that we have good public health surveillance data on patterns of use – not just of marijuana but other products such as alcohol and opioids. The legalization of marijuana in New Jersey may very well impact the use of these products which, when used in extreme ways, are much more harmful than marijuana. There are 88,000 deaths from excessive alcohol use every year, and we are in the midst of a serious opioid epidemic. In contrast, the National Institute on Drug Abuse tells us there are no reports of people dying from marijuana overdose alone. However, we are seeing a rise in morbidity and mortality from driving under the influence of marijuana. Although this is a small fraction of what we see for alcohol, driving under the influence needs monitoring, education and enforcement.

Q:  New Jersey’s public employee pension fund is chronically underfunded, contributing to multiple downgrades to the state’s credit ratings. Governor Chris Christie has signed a law requiring that the state make quarterly payments into the pension system.  How will Murphy meet this challenge, and how will it affect his ability to meet other budgeting needs?  

Marc Pfeiffer, Senior Policy Fellow, assistant director, Local Government Research Center, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy:  The unfunded liability of our employee pension and benefit systems are the elephants in the state’s budget house. Add to it school aid funding, rationalizing and resetting services to meet current needs, investing in the economy, fixing a deteriorating infrastructure, and the challenge is huge. We should consider the state’s budget as a whole. Everything is connected, short- and long-term. And the unexpected plays a role; losing the federal income tax deduction of state taxes makes raising those state taxes more challenging than before.

There is no easy budget fix. Solving it requires consultation, leadership, motivation, clear and honest communication with the public, no blame, some shared sacrifice, time, and a sincere desire to get the state on a sustainable fiscal path forward. It’s clear that continually kicking the can down the road will further deteriorate the state’s fiscal condition, its economy, and the confidence of the people in their leaders.

Q:  One of the most vexing challenges Murphy must face is transportation funding. NJ Transit reportedly struggles to fund its operations and capital improvement program.  Meanwhile, funding for the Gateway Program to expand train capacity under the Hudson River is uncertain.  What options are available to Murphy as he addresses these issues?

Jon Carnegie, executive director, Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy: For at least 20 years, New Jersey’s transportation capital and operating needs have exceeded the funding available to support investment.  There has been no political will to face this challenge.  Finally, last year, New Jersey’s elected leaders took a big step by increasing the gas tax, and that provided a much needed infusion of capital. Unfortunately, the increase will not be enough to meet a growing list of critical transportation needs, such as the on-going costs of operating public transit services and such projects as the Gateway Tunnel, a new midtown Manhattan bus terminal, and replacing the Lincoln Tunnel Helix.  Governor-elect Murphy and his new transportation team will need to tap into non-traditional funding streams, such as increasing rental car fees and creating “transit benefit districts” that permit the assessment of fees on commercial and even residential properties in areas that benefit from public transit services. They might also consider innovative project delivery and financing techniques that bring in private capital to support transportation projects.  The governor and legislature may even have to consider some unpopular approaches such as introducing tolls on facilities that are currently toll-free. 

TAPinto Bloomfield is the only locally owned news organization in the township. TAPinto Bloomfield is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association.

Sign up for our FREE daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BloomfieldTAP. Download the TAPinto App!   Click here for Android.  Click here for iOS.

Have a news tip? Reach us at Bloomfield@TAPinto.net

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Bloomfield

Bloomfield's Francesco Paladino hosts Live Stand Up Comedy Thursday at the Old Canal Inn

July 22, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - The laughs start at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday as the Old Canal Inn hosts 'Canal Comedy Night LIVE!'

Bloomfield's Francesco Paladino will host the two hour comedy event featuring some of the best known and up and coming comedy talent from the area. 

Headliner Tom Paciaffi will be joined by Doug Max, EC Winkler, Tom ...

Here Comes the Rain Again, Starting Saturday July 21 and Continuing On and Off All Week

NEW YORK, NY - The National Weather Service is predicting a mostly wet week for Northern New Jersey with showers starting Saturday night and continuing on and off all week.

Today (Friday July 20) and Saturday until around 4 p.m. are expected to be sunny and partly sunny days. For Saturday there is a 30% chance of showers after 4 p.m. On Saturday night, expect showers and possible thunderstorms ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_e8caf8f288f950009ca3_library_montclair_ants_in_pants

Mon, July 23, 4:00 PM

Bellevue Avenue Branch, Upper Montclair

Ants in the Pants: Children’s Author Jolie Della ...

Education

Carousel_image_b3cfb9d1c9647a4f98fa_mountainside_logo_meridian

Mon, July 23, 7:00 PM

Hospital Auditorium, Glen Ridge

Tour of the Birthing Center

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_894baa8375cb9dd2f0cb_mini_magick20180718-26014-1b0psr8

Tue, July 24, 2:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Auditorium, Montclair

What’s All That Jazz About? with Shenole Latimer

Arts & Entertainment Education

Carousel_image_71f510c1d4958086ac22_z_verona_summer_concerts_2018

Wed, July 25, 7:00 PM

Verona Civic Center Square, Verona

Verona Summer Concert Series!

Arts & Entertainment Business & Finance Food & Drink Government

Carousel_image_839567c057b5b1db93e9_bill-boat_504x353_web

Thu, July 26, 6:00 PM

River Barge Park & Marina, Carlstadt

Meadowlands Discovery Sunset Eco-Cruise

Education Green Travel

Carousel_image_b4f18dfd4f07fd561026_letslisten7-ellington-mplspecs-revised

Fri, July 27, 6:00 PM

Montclair Public Library Auditorium, Montclair

Let's Listen to Jazz

Arts & Entertainment

The New Pioneer Spirit in Bloomfield

The initial patent for the land that would become Bloomfield Township was granted to the English Puritan colonists of Newark, and the area assigned to Essex County in 1675, and Newark Township in 1693. From the 1690's to about the 1720's, much of the northern and eastern land was sold to descendants of New Netherland colonists who had settled Acquackanonk, and the remainder mostly to ...

Bloomfield Police Department Blotter June 25 to July 1, 2018

July 6, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The following police blotter has been issued by Lt. Anthony Sisco of the Bloomfield Police Department.

Shoplifting:

6/26/18- Robert Jimenez Age 37 of Paulsboro, NJ-Officers were dispatched to 60 Orange Street (Home Depot) on report of a shoplifter in custody. Mr. Jiminez was observed attempting to leave the store with unpaid merchandise valued at $417.00. He was ...

Those Boarded-Up Homes in the West Ward? Newark Has a Plan for Them.

July 20, 2018

Newark, NJ - The city is using the power of eminent domain to reduce the number of condemned homes and vacant lots scattered throughout the West Ward.

The redevelopment plan for the West Ward was introduced in 2016 and encompasses properties from the border of Irvington to South 13th Street between South Orange Avenue and 16th Avenue. One of the main goals of the plan is to support new ...

Newark's North Ward: The Center of the City's Car Culture

NEWARK, NJ—It started six years ago with a September car show and family friendly community event on Mt. Prospect Avenue. Today, Thursday evenings at the Mt. Prospect Marketplace feature Cruiser Nights in season. A second car show event in June attracted nearly 100 classic cars and auto enthusiasts of all ages. 

Now, the busy North Ward corridor has become the center of car culture ...

An Evening with Dianne Grossman, Mallory's Mom & Founder of Mallory's Army

July 20, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Mallory Rose Grossman, a 12-year-old girl from Rockaway, NJ, took her own life on June 14, 2017, after enduring horrific bullying. Following the pain of this senseless tragedy, her parents, Dianne and Seth Grossman, started a charitable foundation called Mallory’s Army™. Its mission is to change behavior, provide education to parents, and create enrichment ...

CAIR-NJ Condemns Fliers Posted in Bridgewater, Surrounding Area by White Supremacist Group Identity Evropa

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The New Jersey Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) has condemned the distribution of fliers promoting Identity Evropa, a white supremacist group, in Bridgewater, Somerville, Morristown and other areas, according to a release Wednesday.

"The promotion of a racist and white supremacist group should not be tolerated in our ...

Indie Street Film Festival in Red Bank Starts Wednesday, July 25th

July 21, 2018

RED BANK, NJ - The third annual INDIE STREET FILM FESTIVAL, taking place throughout Red Bank July 25-29, will include screenings of more than 70 different independent feature and short films from around the world.

Open up your mind full of mush for five days of art, discussion and inspiration! 

Explore and discover cutting edge films and filmmakers who prove that the story is ...

Shore Report: End of an Era for Landmark Schneider’s Restaurant in Avon-by-the-Sea

AVON-BY-THE-SEA, NJ — Nearly 10 months after it was ravaged by fire, Schneider’s restaurant in Avon-by-the-Sea was demolished this week — piece by nostalgic piece.

The demolition, which began on July 16 and took three days to complete, attracted dozens of onlookers who shared stories about the iconic German restaurant at 801 Main Street. For nearly five decades, ...

To Our Current and Future Representatives

July 18, 2018

To Our Current and Future Representatives - Wherever They May Be:

We can never forget we are a nation of immigrants. 

We cannot fall prey to fear, ignorance and anger when we  have been historically driven by freedom and justice. 

We must have the courage and will to fight hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

We must not wake up to what we hoped was a bad dream and ...

Entrepreneurs Continue Bloomfield's Centuries' Old Pioneering Tradition

To the Editor:

The initial patent for the land that would become Bloomfield Township was granted to the English Puritan colonists of Newark, and the area assigned to Essex County in 1675, and Newark Township in 1693. From the 1690s to about the 1720s, much of the northern and eastern land was sold to descendants of New Netherland colonists who had settled Acquackanonk, and the remainder mostly ...

Thursday Movies Continue to the end of July at the Bloomfield Public Library

July 19, 2018 - BLACK PANTHER This American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name is a financial and critical blockbuster! After the death of his father, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T'Challa's resilience as king - and as ...

Monday Movies Continue Through The End of July

July 16, 2018 - SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME

Successful businessman Ron Hall (Greg Kinnear) and his wife, Deborah (Renee Zellweger), discover a renewed sense of purpose when they begin to volunteer at a local mission in Fort Worth, Texas. Their lives change forever when they develop an unlikely friendship with Denver Moore (Djimon Hounson), a homeless man who inspires them to save their ...

The Jaffe Briefing - July 19, 2018

TRENTON - Once the state budget is adopted June 30, you'd think the governor gets a break from scrutiny. Unless you are former Gov. Chris Christie, sitting in that beach chair. Or, now, Gov. Phil Murphy, getting wacked for having the players on his Sky Blue FC pro women's soccer team living in alleged squalor. Living in houses with plastic bags for windows, sleeping in bunk ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

July 16, 2018

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little (Dog Ear Publishing, 2015)

 

Rich Little is a national treasure; a living encyclopedia of movie stars, comedians, and former presidents all wrapped into one dynamic package. Recently, my husband and I had the good fortune to see Little perform at the Tropicana in Las Vegas, where he has been doing his uncanny ...

Lucia, Lucia by Adriani Trigiani

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2003)

 

If a summer romance novel is what you are craving to read as you sit by the pool or beach, Adriana Trigiani's Lucia, Lucia is a perfect choice. Set in 1950 New York City, the novel is about a young woman, Lucia Sartori, who is determined to have a career and be able to support herself, an unusual choice for a girl who was ...

The Anatomy of Escape by Mike Blue

The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure by Mike Blue (Available on Amazon)

 

Imagine that you could just say, “Chuck it,” and walk away from the bonds that keep you tied to what Mike Blue, author of The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure, defines as the restrictive Work-Consume-Die cycle. To most of us, becoming what Blue terms “a ...

The Death of Koko the Gorilla

Koko's Kitten, Koko's Story, The Eduction of Koko all by Dr. Francine Patterson

 

Last night when I heard about the death of Koko, the lowland gorilla who was educated to communicate through American Sign Language by Dr. Francine Patterson, I went numb with grief. I have followed the life of Koko, her two gorilla companions, Michael and Ndume, as well as Dr. Patterson for forty ...

HMH Mountainside Medical Center to Host Free Film Screening, Aug. 29

July 21, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair Film today announced a partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center for a free screening of MILK (2015) on Wednesday, August 29th at 10:30 am at Montclair Film’s Cinema505.

The screening, presented in celebration of World Breastfeeding Month, seeks to educate and promote breastfeeding among nursing and expecting mothers. Parents and ...

Matarazzo Farms Farmers Market Every Tuesday in Cedar Grove

CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Join Matarazzo Farms for its Farmer's Market every Tuesday through the fall at the new Cedar Grove Park on Fairview Avenue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. directly in front of the Robert J. O'Toole Community center in Cedar Grove.

Matarazzo Farms will have fresh local produce naturally grown plus some other specialties like fresh cut ...

Edison Based India Day Parade Kick's Off in Washington D.C.

In a “Kickoff Event” for the annual India Day Parade, taking place this year on August 12th in Edison, members of the Indian Business Association descended on Capitol Hill to promote national awareness of the annual celebration and highlight policy issues affecting Indian-Americans.

 

The event, held in the conference room of House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, was ...

Montclair Health Department Offers Free Cancer Clinic to Eligible Essex County Women, Sept. 27

MONTCLAIR, NJ– The Montclair Health Department is offering a Women’s Clinic/Cancer Screening event on Thursday, September 27, at the Montclair Municipal Building, 205 Claremont Avenue, third floor, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 

The following will be offered:

Pelvic Examination and PAP Smear testing for early detection of cervical cancer (age 21 and ...

Obituaries

Mar 9, 1978 - Jul 13, 2018
Christopher J. Barra, Sr., lifelong resident of Bloomfield, passed away on July 13, 2018 at the age ...
Read more
Jun 10, 1983 - Jun 17, 2018
Ryan M. Lucas, 35 Proud Marine Veteran and Nutley Firefighter Ryan M. Lucas, a lifelong ...
Read more