SNOWFLACK: Murphy Calls an Audible in State of the State Speech

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Phil Murphy says he had his speech prepared, but then news got in the way. So, he called an audible. And what began the governor’s State of the State address Tuesday was a harsh condemnation of one of Chris Christie’s favorite programs – tax breaks to help businesses. It’s true that Murphy never mentioned the former governor by name. That may have been because of his low-key, “I’m a nice guy” speaking style. After all, Murphy is one who likes to make corny jokes – OK, some are better than others – and who punctuated his speech by proclaiming “amen” and “yeah” multiple times. But make no mistake. The first part of his speech was a condemnation of Christie incentive programs,. The former governor’s administration created a variety of programs to challenge the belief – especially prevalent among Republicans – that New Jersey is bad for business. Two of the most popular initiatives gave tax breaks to companies moving to New Jersey and to those who stayed here and created jobs. Murphy ordered a review of the programs soon after taking office and a recent audit by the state comptroller determined that tax breaks were granted, but not many jobs created. Ouch. In fact, the report said that during the Christie years, $8 billion in tax breaks were doled out with apparently little, or no, return to the state. “This, simply put, is nuts,” the governor said. Former governors often attend the State of