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No. 2: Phil Murphy POWER 100

The governor stormed to victory last November with an aggressive progressive agenda not seen in these parts for some time. In replacing a highly unpopular Chris Christie, Murphy cruised into Trenton with a clear mandate for change. And change is what he is offering. Here's a sampling:

  • Raising the marginal income tax rate to 10.75 percent for those making more than $1 million;
  • Restoring the sales tax to 7 percent from 6.625 percent;
  • Legalizing recreational use of marijuana by Jan. 1, 2019 and expanding medical use;
  • Increasing spending for public schools by $341 million — $57 million for preschools and $50 million for community colleges — and making community college free of tuition; and
  • Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

It’s no doubt an ambitious agenda, and getting even some of these proposals passed figures to be a long and arduous process. Since the Democrats control the statehouse, they will decide which of these planks they will throw their collective weight behind. They control the shape of the agenda going forward, not the governor. Meanwhile, the Republican opposition will happily dust off the old playbook and seek to paint Murphy as a traditional tax-and-spend liberal.

Neither side of the aisle is going to make things easy. But it bears repeating: Murphy won big and New Jerseyans want something different from their governor. So while the mandate is there, which battles Murphy chooses to prioritize and how he goes about fighting them ultimately will determine how successful he is. For now, we watch and wait.

Power 100: Class of 2018

No. 1: Jeff Bezos

No. 2: Phil Murphy

No. 3: George Norcross

No. 4: Stephen Sweeney

No. 5: Anthony Coscia

No. 6: Cory Booker

No. 7: Tammy Murphy

No. 8: Shiela Oliver

No. 9: Pete Cammarano

No. 10: Ras Baraka

Honorees: A-F

Honorees: G-M

Honorees: N-Z

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