The following editorial response by Senate Republican Leader Steven Oroho (R-24) to Governor Phil Murphy’s 2023 State of the State address was published by NJ.com on January 10, 2023:
Despite the rosy picture Governor Murphy is trying to paint, the state of the state is not good. And after five years of the Murphy administration and two decades of full Democrat control of the Legislature, the outlook for New Jersey continues to get worse.
Senate Republican Leader Steven Oroho and Assembly Republican Leader John DiMaio delivered the Republican response to Gov. Phil Murphy’s 2023 State of the State address at the New Jersey State House on January 10, 2023. (Assembly Republican Office/Jennifer Peacock)
We have the highest taxes, the most debt, and the worst business climate in the nation. Every year when national rankings come out, New Jersey is dead last.
We have a state budget process that’s out of control, with spending up nearly 50% since Governor Murphy took office. Democrats continue to show no shame in tacking on billions in pork every year with no legitimate review or oversight.
While they’re busy wasting billions on pet projects, they’ve failed to effectively manage the cost of benefits for hundreds of thousands of public workers. This year, that’s resulted in huge increases in health care premiums for local governments that will lead to spikes in property taxes across New Jersey.
And over the last three years, they’ve squandered billions in pandemic relief funds that New Jersey received through the CARES and American Rescue Plan acts. Instead of solving big problems with those federal relief funds, like fixing our broken unemployment and motor vehicle computer systems, Democrats have absolutely nothing to show for the windfall we received. We have to ask: where’d it all go?
Under President Biden, New Jersey families continue to struggle with the highest inflation in a generation, and that continues to be made worse by the economic fallout of Governor Murphy’s job-killing pandemic restrictions.
The Governor’s trying to increase the financial pain even more with an absurdly expensive green energy plan that New Jersey families and businesses can’t afford. He wants families to spend tens-of-thousands of dollars, and businesses millions of dollars, to replace their clean, efficient, and affordable gas appliances with electric versions that cost four times more to operate. The result will be huge increases in energy bills.
The Governor’s energy plan calls for massive wind farms to be built within sight of many beaches along the Jersey Shore. That will put New Jersey’s $45 billion tourism economy at risk, including half-a-million jobs that support families in our Shore communities and beyond.
We also have pandemic-related learning loss in our schools that the Murphy Administration refuses to address, made worse by school funding cuts to hundreds of school districts enacted by the Democratic legislative majority.
Instead of focusing on improving student achievement in reading, writing, and math, Governor Murphy and Democrats have politicized our schools by injecting their radical ideologies into state education standards, which ends up being a time-wasting distraction in our children’s classrooms.
Parents are upset about this. They feel like they’ve been denied a voice in their children’s education, and they’ve been mocked and chastised by Democrats when they’ve come to Trenton to express concern.
Those parents deserve to be heard, as do New Jerseyans who don’t want their tax dollars to fund Governor Murphy’s extreme abortion policies, which include turning New Jersey into a destination for abortion tourism, allowing non-doctors to perform abortions, and no-limits abortions at any time until birth.
We also have a major crime problem in many of our communities, including soaring rates of car theft. Our crime problem certainly wasn’t helped by Governor Murphy’s early release of thousands of inmates from our prisons, or restrictions he and Democrats placed on police that prevent them from stopping rowdy mobs of teens who are visibly breaking the law.
Instead of standing up for the rights of citizens to protect themselves and live in safe communities, the Governor and Trenton Democrats have enacted unconstitutional restrictions on law-abiding firearm owners. This week, a federal judge issued a scathing rebuke along with a restraining order to prevent parts of that unconstitutional new law from being enforced.
So whether you’re talking about our state’s high taxes, out-of-control spending, our dismal business climate, rising energy bills, lack of support for students, lack of respect for parents, extreme abortion policies, rising crime, or attacks on constitutional rights – all the direct result of Democrat policies – it should be clear we can do better.
Governor Murphy can start by listening to Republicans who have offered sensible solutions to all these problems. New Jersey may be on the wrong track for now, but we’re showing it doesn’t have to stay that way.
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