Sunlight recently published a research report entitled “Before You Go, Governor Murphy … There is Some Unfinished Business in the Garden State” where we remind our governor that before he leaves for the presidential campaign trail, there are four major problems he has not addressed: 1) student learning loss from pandemic school closures; 2) an underperforming economy, particularly regarding jobs; 3) despite a gusher of revenue, a chronic, serious structural budget deficit; and 4) a severely underfunded and unreformed pension system. As it happened, the Wall Street Journal‘s lead editorial on the same day pointed to a National Bureau of Economic Research paper that ranked New Jersey DEAD LAST when it comes to recovery from the pandemic, including learning loss, economic performance and mortality rates.
Now, also as if on cue, the American Legislative Exchange Council came out with its 2022 “Rich States, Poor States,” it’s 15th year of ranking state performance. New Jersey was ranked 49th out of 50 states for its economic outlook. This is New Jersey’s worst performance since 2015, although since then it has ranked in the bottom five states every year. For the record, under Murphy, New Jersey has ranked 46th, 46th, 48th, 48th and now 49th. So New Jersey’s economic outlook has worsened under Murphy – despite the billions of dollars of federal aid. This is simply a terrible performance by Gov. Murphy.
Specifically, New Jersey finished 47th among the states for domestic outmigration: a loss of -527,505 people from 2011-2020. This is people voicing their displeasure by talking with their feet and it is a terrible sign for the future of the state. New Jersey’s state GDP also greatly lagged the nation, ranking 39th, and New Jersey’s jobs market ranked 37th in terms of non-farm payroll growth. These all confirm what Sunlight argued in its report on Murphy’s failures.
The facts are piling up: New Jersey’s economy under Gov. Murphy has substantially unreformed the nation, and its outlook is even worse. It’s looking like our governor is going to leave our state in very bad condition to face the future. Apparently, New Jersey has served its purpose as a springboard for Murphy’s political ambitions. He’s ready to move on to bigger and better things.