NJ Politics Digest: Murphy Goes on Offensive Following Release of Tax Break Report

Gov. Phil Murphy went on the offensive after the panel he convened to investigate the state's tax break program released a report that took aim at the governor's political opponent, George Norcross.

Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy.
Gov. Phil Murphy. ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

Gov. Phil Murphy went on the offensive Tuesday after the panel he convened to investigate the state’s tax break program released a report that took aim at the governor’s political opponent, Democratic power broker George Norcross.

Murphy’s outrage, however, hasn’t swayed the state legislature, which is moving ahead to extend the tax break program, even though Murphy has said he’ll veto it.

Murphy said he was “horrified” by the task force report, which he said indicated a “rigged system,” according to a report by The Record. The task force report indicates that Norcross and his associates allegedly helped write the tax break legislation and then benefited from the incentive program, according to the Record. The task force, however, never questioned Norcross or allowed him to testify.
Norcross is a staunch ally of Senate President Steve Sweeney. While a Democrat, like Murphy, the more moderate Sweeney has thwarted Murphy’s progressive agenda in a battle of wills that has consumed Trenton.

The task force, and the threat of legal action stemming from its investigation, is one of the few clubs Murphy has been able to wield against Norcross and Sweeney. Murphy convened the task force after state Comptroller’s Office issued a report critical of the tax incentive program. State Comptroller Philip Degnan was appointed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Quote of the Day: “All options remain on the table,” — Gov. Phil Murphy, on the possibility he’ll veto a budget proposed by the Democratic legislature that doesn’t include his plan to raise the state millionaire’s taxes and other taxes.

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