Murphy would do well to listen to former Governor Jon Corzine

While Governor Jon Corzine’s affair with Carla Katz and his near-death auto accident captured innumerable headlines, he nonetheless implemented significant progressive policies in the midst of America’s Recession.They still resonate today. Like Phil Murphy, Corzine came from Goldman Sachs, both spent lavishly on their campaigns, and the state budget was severely stressed upon their assuming office.

After leaving Goldman Sachs as Chairman and Chief Executive, Corzine spent more than $62 million to become a US Senator. In his campaign he urged government programs including universal health care, universal gun registration, mandatory public preschool, and more taxpayer funding for college education. (Sound familiar?) He pushed affirmative action and same-sex marriage. There he sponsored progressive bills on such matters as America’s forests, Medicare, financial privacy protection, and humanitarian relief.

Leaving the Senate only after being elected as governor in 2005 allowed him to appoint a Democratic successor – Sen. Bob Menendez. Corzine’s campaign was another lavish one which he won with 54% of the vote against Republican Doug Forrester.

After only a few months in office (2006-2010) and facing a deficit of roughly $4.5 billion in the state’s $31 billion budget, he and the  Legislature could not reach agreement on his proposal to help balance the budget. Needless to say his 8-day government shut-down was not popular. While It became an object lesson to avoid for future politicians, there will likely be tension between Murphy and the current legislature over spending priorities in our present starved budget.

The looming Great Recession soon put a crimp in his budgets, but he continued to promote progressive social issues. He signed into law legislation repealing the death penalty, creating a medical marijuana program,  racial profiling reforms, harm reduction syringe exchange, lead-safe maintenance requirements, the toughest U.S. carbon law, family leave insurance, a residential development solar energy program, and three bills to make it easier for former inmates to readjust to life outside prison.

In 2006 he signed a law making NJ the third state offering civil unions to gay couples. He later pledged to sign a Marriage Equality bill, and the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the proposal. (see picture) The full Senate voted down the bill and the House never voted on the matter. It took the NJ Supreme Court in 2013, against Christie’s wishes, to enshrine Marriage Equality into the law of our state


As is not unusual in politics, for some of his goals Corzine had to live with compromises. Although as senator he supported marriage equality he had to settle early on with civil unions to get the legislature to pass a bill. With syringe exchange he had to agree that the state would not provide any funding. Murphy would do well to heed former Governor Corzine. After leaving the governorship he told a group of graduate students: “Be ambitious but don’t be afraid to collaborate, and take the long view.” Good advice for Murphy who has equally expansive social plans, but will need to collaborate with the legislature, and with limited budget funds will be able to achieve many of his goals only gradually.

With property taxes continuing to rise and people tiring of the recession he ran for re-election but lost to Chris Christie 44.5% to 49% for Christie and 5.7% for Independent Chris Daggett. Veteran legislators said about key reasons for his losing: failing to rein in taxes and firm up the state’s shaky finances. ironic given his financial background. Nonetheless, he retains a legacy on a host of progressive policies.

Leading up to the inauguration of Governor Phil Murphy this series of articles provides a look back at past progressive NJ governors: Gov. Brendan Byrne, and  Gov. Jim Florio.

Comments (6)

  1. Loretta weinberg

    One small correction – the Legislature did finally pass marriage equality, but Christie vetoed it. Then the court got involved

    1. anthony

      Sweeney and Christie have been close throughout his entire 16 yeas as Governor and NJ AG

      Don’t trust Seeeney, he and Norcross divide democrats and fail to support them

      Sweeneybhas a lying tongue and a mindset of a child. he a gossip and a deceiver.

      He’s been helping christie from day one. Norcross Sweeney and Christie are thick as thieves and used the legislature to get what Christie, Sweeney and Norcross wanted

      If you want to fix NJ, Get rid of Norcross and Sweeney now that Christie will soon be out. STOP giving Norcross what he wants. NO MORE. ENOUGH of the Party Boss

      Don’t trust Sweeney and his political operatives
      Liars and deceiver who divide the democratic party
      he rand down dems who suooorted christie the first term because they were mistreated so badly by democrats in south jersey. Norcross gave then NO Choice. Christie claimed he was going to lock up Norcross, but he never did. Christie did what he does best “LIE”. christie appointed them in jobs and allowed norcross and sweeney to obstruct justice with their appointed position and violate their civil rights. christie did nothing but sit on his fat ass and laugh. people wrongfully list their jobs and reputations because of this dirty political boss, corrupt state senator and a crooked immature vengeful governor. God stepped in and allowed Christie to get exposed and destroyed forever with bridgegate: that cracked his fat face in half.

      Norcross thought he was going to hurt people with the inquire but he Lost the Bid. His creepy dirty duaughter Lexie was FIRED immediately and eackrted out of the building for her cyber manipulation to the inquire and other criminal actions. Her father george was immediately sent in his way out the building. Katz had massive evidence in the cyber trolling and wrong they were vindictive while at the inquire. God made sure Norcross lost the bid for his evil acts and he fired that creepy daughter for her wickedness. Karma bit them both and more will come

      Sweeney is so unpopular in south jersey that he has to rely on a corrupt group of people frauding elections to win. Christie never investigated anything Norcross and Sweeney did, they got away with winning over and over again which was all fraud

      people in south jersey dislike these men and want them to go to jail. they are hated by everyone eexcelt those they control and fear them and even they can’t stand them.

  2. anthony

    Don’t make deals with George Norcross. NJ would love to see a Governor start investigation on both Norcross and Sweeney for all the crumunal activtities and pay to play corruption. Sweeney and Norcross need to be indicted. We need Murphy to make this happen, if not, then we will be in the same mess we are still in.

    Norcross Sweeney and Christie destroyed NJ. they are toxic and dangerous. These men DIVIDE good democrats in the South.

    Norcross and Sweeney deceive and lie and destroy the reputations of good democrats who don’t want to participate in their corruption. It is really bad in South Jersey. Norcross and sweeney are both high school drop outs with NO education. Norcross is a member of Mara lago and did not support Buono or Hillary. Sweeney is a snake who divides and destroys democrats in his paid off media sites,; courier post and patch. It’s pathetic how Sweeney and Norcross pay off trolls to create negative SEO and hire corrupt editors of those sites to manufacture these negative stories that they orchestrate to purposely harm others than plaster on google. Norcross Sweeney and christi bully, stalk and harass people with these media stories they’ve manufactured and abused with negative seo
    it is time they be exposed for all the criminal activities. by meddling in state jobs and lining up with christie

    Sweeney was with Christie from day one. sweeney LIES
    They ruin democrats and separate them then christie comes in like he care but he really just used the democrats than discarded them and allow nkrcross and sweeney to commit horrific crimes and abuse against people. it is an unjust state with no one to help this who have been wrong led by christie norcross and sweeney

    Sweeney took out good democrats like Codey; Nia Gill; Oliver; Minor; Evans; Sanchez; Katz; Buono; Clinton; Corzine; Kirwan; teachers Unions etc… Sweeney misleads people with his made up orchestrated stories and lies.

    sweeney divides and uses vengeance to punish the Democratic party. He’s a racist and he’s evil.

  3. anthony

    Get rid of Norcross and Sweeney if you want to be the Hero and Succeed. Don’t let Norcross and Sweeney control South Jersey. Remove Sweeney as Senate President. Appoint a AG to help indictment proceedings in Norcross and Sweeney and keep Christie out of interfering with helping Norcross and Sweeney avoid prosecution and investigation.

    Investigate christie. reopen bridgegate and take out ALL appointees of norcross and sweeney. Get a new senate president. reappoint Codey or someone Norcross can’t control and someone who won’t be a troublemaker and abuse democrats. Bring the party together and eliminate all ni cross /sweeney democrats who are nothing more than troublemakers No More Deals for Norcross

    Get an investigation on these men and an indictment proceeding against them for all their criminal activities
    Appoint all new people the elections department; and various state offices. This is how he maintains control. he has his spies

    Get rid of norcross sweeney and christie
    this will certainly clean up nj

  4. Bill Orr (Post author)

    In an article to be published at 11:30 I write about Governor Woodrow Wilson who was elected with party boss support, but while governor went on to weaken the bosses’ power. A good example for Murphy.

    1. anthony

      amen on that. we need a governor who will stop giving Morcrpss and Sweeney what they want.

      Norcross and sweeney are reckless and uneducated.
      they have no college education or degree and they both were ousted out of high school. because they were nothing but bullies and troublemakers then and they still parade that grade school mentality today. Bully Norcross and Sweeney form their Corrupt Clicks to pick on those who can’t defend themselves. Norcross and sweeney use corrupt police; the legal system ; crooked judges and dirty law firms like Archer Greiner and others to lie and mislead people with his paid off favorable rulings and paid off negative online digital media stories and corrupt editors. Lewis Katz saw what Norcross was doing and he was planning on going public after he outbid Norcross for th Inquire. Norcross didn’t want to be exposed so he had Katz killed

      NO Governor needs Norcross’s dirty money fundraisers, they come with an evil cost of a demonic dictator.

      NJ is so fed up with Sweeney who should NOT be senate President. Sweeney didn’t complete high school and a GED doesn’t cut it. it was probably paid for and made up from some BS controlled college in South Jersey.

      Norcross uses negatives against governor and punishes them. he used those carla katz tapes agai st corzine. he hacked into clinton’s emails and acted like he supported her just like he acted like he support Barbara Buono and he didn’t. Norcross supported Trump and Christie. why would the head of the democratic party be a member of the republican presidents Mar a Lago. why?????

      Sweeney is controlling state jobs and having proper illegally terminated and fired then plastering it on digital media sites. This shows the level of immaturity and stupidity this clown has. Sweeney is a vindictive childish bully with an 7th grade mentality

      Norcross has made it clear he loves his friend Trump
      and Sweeney. Christie gave them everything they wanted and they made sure he got elected twice.
      Christie allowed Norcross and Sweeney to run NJ for 7 Tears and he protected them for another 8 years from investigations and indictments when he was the AG

      Is murphy going to keep letting Norcross abuse people and destroy lives or is he gong to do the right thing and shut Norcross and Sweeney you down

      Remove sweeney from senate president
      Remove appointments Sweeney and Norcross controltjroughour the state
      conduct a serious investigation on public corruption on Norcross, Sweeney, Christie and Trump

      shut them down. You will find a lot of that corruption and wrong doing in south jersey

      Atlantic City
      Gloucester Township
      Cherry Hill
      West Deptford
      Cape May


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