Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey responded this week after Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas tried to lure the Garden State’s residents and businesses down South with a promise of lower taxes.
The Northeast Democrat penned an op-ed for the Dallas Morning News, refuting what he called “a cheap shot” that Abbott took a day earlier in a piece for the Star-Ledger of Newark.
Abbott, a Republican, extended his invitation to tax-burdened New Jerseyans after the blue state’s release of a budget proposal calling for $2.7 billion in tax hikes.
That drew Murphy’s retort, titled, “NJ Gov. Murphy to Texas Gov. Abbott: Back off from our people and companies.”
The newly elected governor opened by saying he was “moving New Jersey in a stronger and fairer direction” after Republican predecessor Chris Christie “failed miserably” by favoring the wealthy and big corporations over regular people.
Murphy quickly compared the two states’ economies, noting that “Texas’ ranking among state economies has plummeted” from 3rd to 21st, according to Governing magazine. He noted New Jersey was ranked 24th.
“Perhaps this is why he’s desperately trying to poach jobs from other states, instead of growing the Texas economy organically through increased investments,” Murphy quipped.
Murphy then gave Texans a counteroffer. He cited business advantages such as his state’s location “with direct access to 31 million consumers within 100 miles of Newark,” and an “unparalleled global reach” thanks to its ports.
Murphy went on to tout New Jersey’s investments in its classrooms and teachers “brings to the table one of the nation’s top three K-12 public school systems as ranked by U.S. News (Texas? No. 33).” He wrote his state “ranks No. 6 in the nation for college readiness (Texas is No. 21) and second for pre-K enrollment (Texas is No. 38).”
On the Lone Star State’s health care, Murphy cited U.S. News for its low rankings in both access and quality, falling in at 46th and 45th, respectively. Texas has “the nation’s highest rate of uninsured residents,” Murphy wrote, citing Governing magazine.
Murphy concluded that New Jersey still has “a lot of work to do” as the state digs itself out of a financial hole, but told Texans the Garden State “will be the best bet you’ve ever made.”
But Murphy’s budget proposal, outlined by Abbott in his op-ed, requested a $2.7 billion increase from the prior year’s budget. The tax hikes included a higher sales tax and raising income taxes on those making more than $1 million per year in the state where rates are already among the highest in the nation.
Abbott used New Jersey’s “fiscal crisis” to extend an invitation for those looking to ease the burden, touting his administration’s tax cut of $4 billion, Texas’ reduction in “regulatory burden,” and the “600,000 new jobs,” added since he was elected governor.
“That’s why I’d like to throw a lifeline to businesses and families throughout New Jersey who are looking for greater economic opportunity and relief from high taxes,” he wrote. “Come to Texas and be a part of our economic success story.”
Brooke Singman contributed to this report.