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Phil's Agenda

A Stronger Minimum Wage

Phil Murphy supports raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Raising the minimum wage would benefit nearly one million workers, equal to one-quarter of all workers in our state. New Jersey’s current minimum wage is grossly inadequate. The current minimum wage of $8.38 per hour is roughly 50 percent below a “living wage” — the amount an individual in NJ needs to meet basic needs. The argument that raising the minimum wage kills jobs is a myth that is simply not supported by evidence.

Innovate. Create. Grow. The Murphy Economic Agenda

As governor, Phil will focus on New Jersey’s core advantages to attract businesses, empower workers, and grow the economy by growing the middle class. Critical investments have been put off for too long by governors whose only interest has been the next election. Phil Murphy will draw on his diverse experiences in the business, non-profit, and public sectors to create a dynamic and innovative 21st century economy that works for all New Jerseyans.

Affordable Housing

New Jersey has among the most expensive housing in the nation. A minimum wage earner in the state has to work 100 hours per week just to afford an average, one-bedroom apartment. For 15 years, the courts have been misused to effectively stop the development of new affordable housing. At the same time, Governor Christie has cut much needed aid to seniors and low- and middle-income New Jersey residents struggling with the nation’s highest property taxes – which continue to increase despite a cap. We must support the development of new, affordable housing while adhering to a smart, sustainable growth model.

Innovative Job Training

New Jersey continues to struggle with long-term unemployment. As of 2015, our state had the third highest rate of long-term unemployed in the nation – more than 41 percent of all unemployed individuals had been out of work for 27 weeks or more. Last year, Phil Murphy began tackling this issue head on through the New Start Career Network, which provides free, personalized career services to long-term unemployed individuals over the age of 45, and already it’s having an impact. As Governor, Phil will develop partnerships with the private sector to expand job training and placement for individuals who are out of work.

College Affordability

One of New Jersey’s great assets is its higher education system. Unfortunately, Governor Christie has chronically underinvested in our colleges and universities. As a result, families of students at our public colleges now bear some of the highest costs in the country — which has produced extraordinarily high levels of student debt. 68 percent of NJ college graduates in 2014 had student debt, and NJ residents carry student debt totaling more than $30 billion.

Taking on New Jersey’s Opioid Crisis

Too many residents and their families continue to struggle with addiction. Too many communities continue to be ravaged by an epidemic of overdoses, particularly from opioids. Most tragically, over the last decade, 5,000 residents of our state have died from heroin and opioid overdoses alone. Phil recognizes that addiction is an illness, and that it is treatable with the right resources and focus in place. Treating and preventing addiction saves lives and allows people to return home to their families and get back to work.

Earned Sick Leave

One million New Jersey workers do not receive earned sick leave. Too often as a result, these individuals must choose between their health and their job. Opponents of earned sick leave claim it will hurt workplace morale and lower performance, a claim unsupported by experience. In fact, earned sick leave creates a more healthy and productive workplace. Phil Murphy will work to ensure that all workers have the right to earned sick leave.

Equal Pay

Women in New Jersey currently earn 79 cents for every dollar earned by a man performing equal work. This is unacceptable in 2016. Phil Murphy supports efforts to close the wage gap by banning unequal pay for substantially similar work, prohibiting employers from requiring applicants to disclose their current salary, increasing wage transparency, and strengthening legal protections for victims of wage discrimination.

Gun Violence

The gun violence epidemic is nothing short of a public health crisis. And yet, Governor Christie continues to stand in the way of sensible reforms. He has vetoed bills that had universal support from New Jerseyans. Governor Christie’s continued opposition to sensible gun safety regulations does not protect our Second Amendment rights. It simply makes us less safe. A truly comprehensive answer to reducing gun violence must come from the federal government. Yet that is not an excuse for inaction. Phil Murphy believes that sensible regulations can encourage gun safety and lower levels of violence while still preserving Second Amendment rights for law-abiding residents. As governor, Phil would sign every piece of commonsense legislation that Christie vetoed; mandate gun safety training; promote smart gun technology; and tax gun sales to fund law enforcement, mental health services, and drug treatment.

Making Retirement More Secure

New Jersey currently carries a $43 billion unfunded pension liability. This has been created almost entirely by the state’s failure to make its annual contributions. Eleven years ago, Phil Murphy chaired the first commission to evaluate the state’s pension system in light of a growing unfunded liability. One of our primary recommendations was that the state must meet its funding obligations going forward. Eleven years later, the problem has only grown worse. We must get our pension funds back on track to solvency — starting with the state living up to its commitments. As Phil said in 2005, when Governor Codey appointed him to chair an effort to address our pension problems, “a constitutional amendment guaranteeing state pension contributions should be part of the solution – but the solution must be comprehensive and ensure a reasonable payment schedule.”

Expanding EITC

The Earned Income Tax Credit encourages and rewards work by providing a tax credit to working and middle class families. Because the EITC puts money in the pockets of people who spend it immediately and locally, every dollar that we spend on the EITC creates $1.50 to $2 in economic activity. NJ currently provides an EITC at 30 percent of the federal award level. Phil Murphy would raise the state EITC to 40 percent of the federal reward level, which would create almost $180 million in new economic activity. It would also make our tax code fairer across all income levels.

Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit

New Jersey is an expensive place to raise a child. A typical New Jersey family with two children pays over $21,000 annually in childcare costs — 24 percent of the average family’s pretax income. Unlike 28 other states, however, New Jersey does not provide a Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. That needs to change. New Jersey is home to 400,000 children five years old or younger in families in which both parents work. Phil Murphy supports giving families a child and dependent care tax credit that would provide immediate relief to these families.
© 2017