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Murphy’s second term begins – New Jersey Business Magazine

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Gov. Phil Murphy was sworn into office today, officially becoming the first incumbent Democratic governor in 44 years to serve a second term in New Jersey.

A week after his 2022 state address, in which he promised no tax increases and touted first-term successes like raising the minimum wage and strengthening the state’s offshore wind industry, Murphy acknowledged one of the state’s most pressing issues: affordability.

“[The people] want a New Jersey that listens to them,” Murphy said. “[They want] a New Jersey that’s more affordable, especially when it comes to three of her family’s biggest expenses — health care, higher education, and property taxes.”

Murphy, who narrowly defeated Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli on Election Day, said that while property taxes are not set by the state, his administration’s decisions and investments directly affect their development.

“Every dollar of new government funding for our schools and communities, for local roads and libraries and for countless other areas is a dollar that stays in your pocket as a property taxpayer. With that mindset, the first four years of our administration ranked among the four lowest year-over-year increases in wealth taxes on record. But I won’t settle for just slowing property tax growth. I want to take us to a place where we can start to see her sink,” he said.

Despite the slowdown in property tax growth, New Jersey still ranks #1 in the unenviable position of having the highest property taxes in the country.

Lt. gov. Sheila Oliver, cementing her second term, echoed Murphy’s sentiments, saying, “I still see the need for more affordable places for New Jersey families to call home. I still see seniors and working families worried about being able to heat their homes this winter, and I see community leaders coming to us for advice as they work to improve the cities they represent and their residents to serve better. I promise you that we will not distance ourselves from the commitments we have made.”

New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) President and CEO Michele Siekerka said, “While we congratulate the Governor today, we must continue to emphasize our ongoing concerns about policies that impact affordability, hamper regional competitiveness and the burdening businesses even more, as we have seen with several of the bills signed today. These are

Examples of ongoing actions that will continue to challenge our business climate.”

One such bill is A-1659/S-1559, which establishes the New Jersey Insurance Fair Conduct Act, also known as the “Bad Faith” Act. Siekerka said that while the bill has been presented as an attempt to ensure car insurance companies are acting in good faith, legal mechanisms are already in place to do so.

“Instead, this law will now open the floodgates for lawsuits, which tip the balance of bargaining power into the hands of plaintiffs’ attorneys, regardless of the merits or frivolity of the case,” she said, adding that the bill will result in a significant increase in the number of cases Costs to insurers, which will lead to an inevitable increase in auto insurance rates for New Jersey residents and businesses.

“We hear our policymakers talking about prioritizing affordability amid the highest property taxes, highest corporate tax and one of the highest personal income tax rates in the country. Now, in the search for a hassle-free solution, this law (A-1659/S-1559) will increase the burden on New Jerseyers across the board,” Siekerka said.

“NJBIA looks forward to continuing to sit at the table with the Murphy administration on policies and issues impacting our businesses and residents, especially as we emerge from the pandemic,” she added.

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