Phil Murphy's Not So Good, Very Bad Month

Goldman Sachs Millionaire Phil Murphy's campaign has been dogged by questions, miscalculations and missteps as we enter the home stretch of the campaign for New Jersey governor.


1. Murphy declined to back tax credits to recruit Amazon HQ and 50,000 jobs even though Goldman Sachs received millions in state incentives

This week, legislative leaders from both parties announced they would support efforts to change New Jersey's incentive program in an effort to attract Amazon. While Kim Guadagno joined in supporting these bipartisan efforts, Murphy "did not say whether he would specifically support the tax credit overhaul" according to Politico NJ

But while he refuses to support tax credits for Amazon, Goldman Sachs received millions in grants and incentives from The State of New Jersey while Murphy worked in upper management at the firm. According to the liberal New Jersey Policy Perspective, Goldman Sachs received nearly $58 million in state grants between 1997 and 2010. In 2004, Goldman Sachs also built the tallest building in New Jersey with state tax credits worth $164.3 million over 10 years from New Jersey's Business Employment Incentive Grant program.

The Amazon project would create 50,000 jobs and have an estimated $9 billion impact on New Jersey's economy.

2. Murphy didn't embrace arbitration cap despite report showing it's working 

After saying he needed to wait for the final report before deciding whether to support an extension of the interest arbitration cap, Phil Murphy again dodged the issue despite the newly released report showing it saved New Jerseyans $2.9 billion since 2011 and property taxes would explode if it is allowed to expire. 

Guadagno has called on the legislature to extend the cap and slammed Phil Murphy for dodging the issue. "If Phil Murphy is allowed to repeal the arbitration cap, our property taxes will go even higher, services will be cut and more of our friends, families and neighbors will be forced to move out of New Jersey."

3. Murphy refused to say if Senator Menendez should resign if convicted

Bribery. Corruption. Favors. Senator Menendez is facing serious charges during his trial in Newark. But Phil Murphy refused to say if he should resign from the U.S. Senate if convicted, saying he has not "really thought" about it. Kim Guadagno responded by announcing a sweeping package of ethics reforms to increase accountability and transparency in state government.

4. Murphy fumbled the cost of his free college proposal, which would increase taxes on New Jerseyans

After first saying his free community college proposal would cost $400 million, his spokesman later said it would actually cost $200 million. The campaign later said it was impossible to know the actual cost of the proposal. Kim Guadagno's campaign responded by sending Murphy a box of calculators to help him find the true cost of his campaign promises.

Murphy never explained how he would pay for his proposal.

5. Murphy said he didn't know when NJ should notify the federal government of crimes by illegal immigrants

During a forum yesterday at the Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics, Phil Murphy stumbled over question about the case of Jose Carranza and sanctuary city policies in New Jersey. Phil Murphy was asked when police should notify the federal government and immigration authorities about crimes such as rape and drunk driving committed by illegal immigrants. He dodged, saying, "I'm not sure what the right point of notification is this is,” but then said, "My bias is going to be having their back." Carranza was previously charged with raping a 5-year-old before being convicted of shooting and killing three young college students execution style in Newark. He had a fake social security number and was in the country illegally from Peru. 

6. Murphy dodged questions on if he supported Governor Florio's plan for more tolls and higher MVC fees

After Governor Florio released a report calling for adding additional tolls, raising MVC fees and privatizing the Turnpike, Phil Murphy's spokesman issued a statement saying they "greatly welcome" the ideas in the report. Kim Guadagno has rejected the proposal, but Murphy's campaign over the weekend did not respond to requests for comment or clarification on his position. 

7. Murphy criticized for turning High School pep rally into a political campaign rally

Phil Murphy appeared with Shaquille O'Neil at a Newark High School, but the event complete with campaign signs and political speeches raised serious questions about the misuse of state government funds. Kim Guadagno slammed Murphy for turning an innocent school pep rally into a political rally.  

8. Sweeney, top NJ Democrats slammed Murphy for failing the leadership test amid growing party turmoil 

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney and top Party leaders took a big swing at their party's nominee for governor for failing the leadership test amid an internal party fight that's only intensifying as Election Day nears. The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), which heavily backs Phil Murphy's campaign for governor, is spending millions to topple Sweeney and boost his Republican opponent. 

Murphy is trying to play both sides, and it is upsetting top New Jersey Democrats. "It's disappointing," says Sweeney. "He's the leader of our party. And one of his biggest supporters (the NJEA) is being allowed to try to shrink our majority." 

9. Murphy sided with anthem protesters

Wading into the national controversy, Phil Murphy sided with NFL anthem protesters. "I take my hat off to the players," Murphy said.

10. Jewish leaders slammed Murphy and Oliver for anti-Israel record

Jewish leaders slammed Phil Murphy and Sheila Oliver for backing boycotts of Israel. Oliver was one of only three legislators to vote against the landmark anti-BDS law last year which banned pension investments with companies that boycotted Israel. 

Mark Levenson, a longtime Jewish community activist and a leader in the successful effort to pass New Jersey’s Anti-BDS legislation said, “On this critical issue, you are either with us on the right side of the issue or you are against us. There is no middle ground."