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Gov. Murphy Delivers His 7th State of the State Address

By January 10, 2024No Comments
On Tuesday, Governor Murphy gave his seventh State of the State address before a joint session of the State Legislature. The Governor touched on familiar topics including affordability, economic growth, healthcare, affordable housing, organized labor, infrastructure, law enforcement and gun violence.

In a departure from his last State of the State address, and perhaps foretelling his higher political ambitions, Governor Murphy spent quite a bit of time on the culture wars. According to Murphy, “we have seen a resurgent, radical, right-wing agenda that is hellbent on coming after our fundamental rights”. He mentioned the Dobbs decision and women’s access to reproductive health. He pointed to New Jersey’s policies in comparison to Florida and Texas where they “rip away rights from our fellow citizens”, he said. He also mentioned LGBTQ and voting rights.

The Governor devoted a great deal of time discussing his plans for artificial intelligence (AI) and the tech industry in the state. His goal is to harness the state’s educational institutions, technology sector and businesses to turn the state into an international hub for AI.

On issues related to the climate, the Governor quickly mentioned that his administration is still firmly set on the state reaching 100% clean energy by 2035.

Also briefly mentioned during the address were public/higher education and the film industry coming to New Jersey.

The following are other topics the Governor discussed in greater detail during his address:

The ANCHOR Program and Affordability

The Governor mentioned that his administration, for the second year in row, has put nearly $2 billion “back into the pockets of more than a million-and-a-half seniors and middle-class families”, through the ANCHOR program. For each household, that means up to $1,750 in direct relief.

In addition to the ANCHOR program, as of this month, New Jersey’s minimum wage has officially reached over $15 an hour.

Economic Growth

According to the Governor, under his administration, New Jersey has doubled the growth rate of our state’s economy since the Christie administration and, at the same time, the state has created nearly 200,000 jobs.

Through the state’s pandemic relief and other investment programs, the Governor said the state has invested nearly $1 billion into helping small businesses stay afloat.

Since he entered office, “nearly 60,000 new small businesses have opened their doors in the Garden State,” he claimed.

He also pointed to a recent CNBC study that named New Jersey as the most-improved state in America for business.


Governor Murphy claimed that in New Jersey, more than one in ten residents has medical debt in collections and that the number is even higher in communities of color.

Murphy mentioned the state’s ongoing efforts to reduce medical debt. In last year’s budget, New Jersey invested $10 million into a medical debt relief program. “For every dollar invested, we can retire up to $100 in debt — for tens of thousands of people,” the Governor said.

Affordable Housing

According to Murphy, “Under our administration, New Jersey has emerged as a national leader in expanding affordable housing. However, today, we have a new challenge on our hands: New Jersey is popular!”

He even pointed to data illustrating the shift of people from NYC to New Jersey during the pandemic. He stated that “between 2021 and 2022, tens of thousands of New Yorkers made the move across the Hudson and set roots in New Jersey. It was the third-largest movement — from one state to another — in the entire country.”

Organized Labor

Governor Murphy explicitly voiced his support for pro-union policies: “In New Jersey, we have always been the organized labor state. And more than anything: We are pro-union because we are pro-middle class. When workers are strong — middle-class families are strong. Period. That is why, during our time in office, as union jobs have declined on a national level, here in New Jersey, we have actually increased — meaningfully — our unionized workforce.”

However, Murphy also pointed to the importance of apprenticeship programs; a position shared by ABC-NJ and one targeted by certain aspects of organized labor. This was reassuring to hear.


Another common topic during his various State of the State addresses is infrastructure, and this address was no different. The main focus was on the Hudson Tunnel Rail Project, which officially broke ground this past November.

He also poked at the prior administration for canceling it, calling it “one of the biggest policy failures in our state’s history”.

Going through the list of benefits of the project (safety, quicker commutes, etc.), he also mentioned the “roughly 70,000 good-paying, union jobs” that would be created from the project.

Law Enforcement and Gun Violence

The Governor started off this topic by claiming that “just last week, we received word that — in 2023 — we saw our lowest number of shootings in nearly 15 years”. He pointed to the increased resources given to community-policing programs in cities such as Newark, Trenton, Paterson and Jersey City as one of the main factors.

He suggested other factors included some of the strongest gun-control laws in the country, as well as some of the nation’s finest law enforcement officers.

Murphy referred to the failure of the War on Drugs and was looking to create a fairer criminal justice system that has failed the minority communities in the state. He hailed his administration’s efforts to restore voting rights to more than 80,000 individuals on probation or parole.

Voting Rights

Governor Murphy trumpeted a recent bill he signed that allows 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they will be 18 by the time of the general election.

He also asked the Legislature to send him two bills: one allowing same-day voter registration in New Jersey, and another bill that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in local school board elections.