Gov. Murphy: ‘The state of our state is stronger and fairer than ever’

Gov. Phil Murphy delivered his second State of the State address Tuesday, defending progressive policies he's pursued and promising again to raise taxes on the rich.

The first-term governor on Tuesday said that he is on the side of the middle class and all those who are working to get there. In his speech, Murphy announced a new program that will connect students and workers with jobs.

The speech focused on twin goals of progressive social policies combined with economic strength.

On the fiscal side of things, the governor said, “We built a surplus this state hasn’t seen in years. We’re watching literally every penny.”

 
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Regarding social issues, Murphy said that he was to “commit to codify a woman’s full reproductive rights in state law,” adding, “It’s about protecting a woman’s fundamental and constitutional right to full reproductive freedom.”

The governor also called on lawmakers to respond to citizens' “rightful cynicism" about government with greater transparency. He promised longterm plans for New Jersey Transit, as well as new offices for health care transparency and a task force to study wealth disparity.

He says he will seek a higher tax rate on incomes over $1 million when he unveils his next budget.

Murphy also touted new private-sector jobs that have come to the Garden State.

“We didn’t achieve this, by the way, despite our progressive economic policies. We achieved this because of our progressive economic policies,” Murphy said.

 
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The governor also vowed action against men who felt empowered, if not protected by Trenton’s culture.

“The pernicious sexism and abuse that still creeps across these hallways, at conferences and in meeting rooms,” he said.

Murphy said he wants to tear down the existing system and build one that encourages respect.

In a rebuttal, Republicans, who are in the minority in state government, said that they agreed with this point, but little else. They said that Murphy was out of touch and focused on the wrong issues.

Assemblyman Jon DiMaio said that the governor needs to spend more time with working-class families.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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