Governor Murphy lays out priorities after first budget battle

Murphy is looking to the next several months to make major steps on his progressive agenda.

David Madden
July 14, 2018 - 10:00 pm
Governor Phil Murphy

Chris Pedota/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK

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ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (KYW Newsradio) -- With his first budget battle now behind him, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is looking to the next several months to make major steps on his progressive agenda. 
    
After addressing public and private sector labor unions in Atlantic City this week, Murphy laid out his legislative priorities. And they sound very much like those that helped him get elected in the first place. 
    
While not pretending to speak for fellow Democrats in control of the legislature, the Governor told reporters "I think we're all pretty committed to trying to solve the riddle of adult use marijuana, strengthening the medical marijuana regime through legislation. We've already done a lot of that through executive action. And minimum wage would be three things I'd hang my hat on that we're all committed to trying to get over the goal line, if at all possible sooner rather than later and that means this year."
    
Many pundits suggest the Governor was outplayed by legislative leadership, an idea he dismissed as the type of Trenton-based thinking he's trying to change.
    
But he particularly played up the move to a $15 an hour minimum wage in his speech to members of the Communication Workers of America, the state's largest public sector union.
    
"I think we work well with them and that's a priority," he added. "If it's a priority for us and it's a priority for them, typically something like that will get done. How it gets done and when to be determined."
    
On legalizing marijuana for adult consumption, Murphy insisted he wanted to strike a proper balance. But taxing cannabis could be a major economic benefit for a future Murphy budget to pay for much of his overall agenda, which also includes improving mass transit and finding a way to provide state funded community college for those who cannot afford it.