New Jersey Is the Best-Run State in America. Really!

Asia's Tech News Daily

It’s not a golden era for America’s state governments.

New Jersey Is the Best-Run State in America. Really!
© Provided by Slate Like what you see? Phebe Khalil/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The governor of New York, regardless of who it is, only seems to exist to screw up in nationally humiliating ways. California’s leadership class is just getting around to dealing with the literally existential quandary of having too much housing for nature to sustain and not enough housing to sustain humanity. Blue states in the Midwest may be trying their best, but are held back by gerrymandered-in Republican legislators whose only goal is the continuous reinvestigation of voter fraud that did not take place. Red states are, obviously, also laser-focused on pretend fraud, but not to the extent of ignoring other priorities like making sure no one learns about racism in high school or has to get vaccinated during a death wave. If states are supposed to be laboratories of democracy, then flames are shooting out of the beakers, alarm klaxons are bleating horribly, and the scientists are running back and forth screaming.

Not in New Jersey, though. New Jersey—the home of Thomas Edison’s laboratory, by the way, which is usually considered the greatest laboratory of all time—is getting things done.

The state is belittled, in general, for many fairly sound reasons, and its politics have historically been associated largely with the phrase “multiple-count indictment.” But it has in recent years become a model of how to run a government that can respond to the United States’ myriad problems, old and new.

For real!

First, the coronavirus. When the pandemic exploded in the U.S., New Jersey was victimized by poor federal planning and what we now know to have been a fatal hesitancy to lock down New York City, where many of the state’s residents are (or were) obligated to travel for work. Since then, however, it has executed a consistent and successful strategy of shutdowns, mask encouragement, and vaccination. It’s going back and forth with New York for the distinction of having the highest vax rate of any state with an at least equally large population—both states have double-jabbed 66 percent of all residents—and it has one of the lowest rates of infection in the country. Pockets of vaccine hesitancy have been attacked proactively with school- and neighborhood-based outreach programs. (My colleague Aymann Ismail, who lives in Newark, confirms: “There are tents everywhere.”) In the midst of all this, New Jersey ran an entire presidential and congressional election in which mail ballots were sent to every voter and then—unlike in New York—counted quickly afterward.

As far ahead of the pack as not screwing basic things up puts an American institution these days, New Jersey also has a record of progress that exists apart from the pandemic. In 2018, the state passed a law guaranteeing 40 hours of annual paid sick leave to in-state workers. In 2019, it passed a law that will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. (It’s currently at $12.) In 2020, it passed a tax increase on individuals earning more than $1 million a year, a reform similar to one that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has failed to get through in his state, and which has helped New Jersey actually fulfill its social-spending commitments to a degree not seen in many years. 2020 also saw the enactment of bill, described by Politico as “a groundbreaking win for the environmental justice movement,” that requires regulators to consider historic levels of pollution in a given neighborhood or area before approving further risks. (Seems like a no-brainer, but progress is progress!) And in 2021, “the dirty Jerz” decriminalized marijuana and set up a process to begin the legal sale thereof.

One of the people who deserves credit for this is the state’s governor, Phil Murphy, who won office in 2017 and is currently up for reelection in voting that concludes next Tuesday. His entry into state politics did not at first seem like a populist triumph: He’s a former Goldman Sachs executive who has one of his super-expensive homes in Middletown Township, a classy-skewing, New York City-accessible part of the Shore. (He maintains other dwellings in Berlin and Italy, as one does.) But as Brandon McKoy—until recently the president of New Jersey Policy Perspective, a progressive policy group—told me, it quickly became clear that Murphy had retained the “lower middle class perspective” of his Boston-area upbringing and believed in a “bottom-up, middle-out” theory of growth. Noted McKoy, who’s now an executive with the D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities : “The first two major policies he was campaigning on were a millionaire’s tax and the minimum wage.”

As McKoy points out, none of the bills that Murphy has signed into existence are controversial ones. They’re popular not just with the Democrats who increasingly make up the local population—Fairleigh Dickinson professor Dan Cassino recently observed to New Jersey Spotlight News that the state is “exporting a lot of Republicans to Florida, while importing a lot of Democrats from Brooklyn”—but with voters as a whole. However, the Biden administration’s Build Back Better agenda, which is currently wedged between the House and Senate like a cargo ship in the Suez Canal, is a vivid reminder that even popular proposals can get pulverized into junk by special interest lobbies, the individual legislators who protect them, and the apparently ineradicable Democratic reflex to project “responsibility” by turning something that would help everyone into something that would help a smaller number of people and confuse and anger everyone else.

Murphy deserves credit for keeping his eye on the ball, then, as well as for prioritizing practical competence and large-scale reform over the presidential-campaign-minded accumulation of superficial résumé items. (Both Andrew Cuomo and Murphy’s Republican New Jersey predecessor, Chris Christie, were extreme offenders on this count, and look where it got them!) From a political perspective it’s impressive that he’s been able to keep his relationship with the state’s Democratic legislative machine in working order, although the cost of that good will, it was suggested to me, was his decision to support the renewal of expensive and dubiously useful “economic development” tax breaks. He’s also been criticized for taking a cautious approach to criminal justice and police reform, pandemic relief for the undocumented, and in-state Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention—issues, basically, that have the potential to alienate “conservative” white voters. Decisions on these subjects have considerable consequences in a place that is 15 percent Black and almost 25 percent immigrant; relative to other states, though, New Jersey’s baseline consensus on social tolerance and law-enforcement accountability is an adequate one.

Since before Murphy’s time, meanwhile—and before they became salient, middle-class-crushing concerns for national Democrats—the state has also been forward-minded (albeit in fits and starts) about housing and early-childhood education, two issues with racial-justice implications. In respective rulings related to two landmark decisions, Mt. Laurel and Abbott v. Burke, the state’s supreme court ordered local governments to attempt to use their zoning powers to create affordable housing and to (among other things) make education available to three-and-four year olds. Advocacy groups, crucially, have held governments accountable for actually following those decisions, whose mandates Murphy and the legislature have also recently begun funding at increased levels. The Fair Share Housing Center estimates that Mt. Laurel has helped create 70,000 affordable housing units and that 50,000 more will be built in the next decade; one legacy of Abbott is that many counties have free pre-K systems, which Joe Biden has cited as models for the rest of the country, in which the state covers tuition for children enrolled at privately run preschools that meet given standards. Somewhere between one-quarter and one-third of the state’s 3 and 4-year-olds are currently enrolled in the program, including your author’s three-year-old daughter. It’s like living in Scandinavia but with many, many more Italian-food options.

Does New Jersey have problems? Of course. Despite its efforts to build out affordable housing, and the rapid, dense development of Jersey City, the state still has some of the most cost-burdened renters in the country. Its unemployment insurance system suffered some of the same pandemic meltdowns as those elsewhere, and its wealth gaps are extremely noticeable even on short trips from town to town. One governance expert, Yale’s David Schleicher, alluded to a famous Chris Rock routine in noting to me that the state’s finances are kept afloat by its “millions of rich dentists”; it was an exaggeration, but not a huge one—the state has one of the country’s highest median incomes—and those dentists are interspersed with pockets of poverty from Trenton to Newark to Atlantic City. There are also the perennial issues of aesthetically off-putting factory sprawl and things like, you know, “the maple syrup event.”

But the big question about the United States’ future isn’t whether it will encounter economic and environmental crises. It’s whether it can react to its problems functionally. (We’re talking about addressing the challenges of being a post-industrial pluralistic democracy here rather than just, like, whose well-to-do urban neighborhoods look nicest, Massachusetts.) And the country would, jokes and stereotypes aside, be well-served by its other governments starting to keep up with the Bon Jovi Toxic Waste Sopranos State.

For real—seriously!

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


Richard scores 23 to lift Belmont over Samford 85-73

HOMEWOOD, Ala. (AP) — Will Richard had a season-high 23 points as Belmont got past Samford 85-73 on Sunday. Richard hit 9 of 10 from the free throw line. He ... Read more »

4 dead after single-engine plane crashes near California airport, authorities say

VISALIA, Calif. — At least four people are dead after a plane crashed near an airport in central California on Saturday, authorities said. Emergency crews responded after receiving a call ... Read more »

Family beats salary in pandemic times

© Provided by The Times of India Mumbai: A senior executive in a plum posting at a large organisation in Mumbai wanted to relocate to Bengaluru to be with her ... Read more »

Conference on ‘Recent Innovation & Challenges in Aerospace, Defence Related Mechanisms' concludes

© Provided by The Indian Express THE Pune chapter of Indian National Society for Aerospace and Related Mechanisms (INSARM) organised a three-day national conference in Pune between December 2 and ... Read more »

RBI expected to hold repo, may hike reverse repo rate

© Provided by The Times of India Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to hold its repo rate (currently 4%) in the forthcoming monetary policy on December ... Read more »

Homage paid to '71 martyrs on Navy Day

© Provided by The Indian Express Navy Day was marked at INS Shivaji on Saturday with a number of activities on the theme of Navy Week 2021: ‘Indian Navy: Combat ... Read more »

Delhi: Police bust gang that duped people of Rs 1.2 crore

© Provided by The Indian Express The Crime Branch busted an online extortion gang and arrested the gang leader for allegedly blackmailing at least 12 people in the last year. ... Read more »

Max Financial Services Rating: Buy- Growth rate expected to rise over next 5 years

© Provided by The Financial Express The past few years have been challenging for Max Life, with the management’s focus on simplifying the organisation structure. We hosted an investor day ... Read more »

Pension bill of PSBs may be an impediment for sale

© Provided by The Times of India Mumbai: Pension liabilities of public sector banks (PSBs) would impede prospective buyers should current provisioning norms continue. If a private promoter takes over ... Read more »

Omicron may influence rates of term insurance

© Provided by The Times of India Mumbai: The discovery of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus has delayed stability in the term insurance market. Insurers, who are raising ... Read more »

The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Monday December 6.

© Getty Images The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Monday December 6. Cleo Smith abduction accused in WA court Cleo Smith’s alleged abductor is set ... Read more »

Lethbridge Police Service hosts series of women's-only boot camps

The Lethbridge Police Service is trying out a new recruitment initiative aimed at increasing diversity within the service. © Global News The Lethbridge Police Service is hoping a series of ... Read more »

0:6! Gladbach kassiert historische Pleite +++ Shaqiri mit Vorlage gegen Petkovics Bordeaux

© SASCHA STEINBACH/ epa09624206 Moenchengladbach players (L-R) Marcus Thuram, Nico Elvedi, and Matthias Ginter react after conceding Freiburg’s 3-0 lead during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and ... Read more »

Silvan Rudolf mit Köniz schon bald auf Abschiedstournee

Erstligist Köniz muss auf Trainersuche gehen, der SC Langenthal gewinnt wieder, und Huttwil gibt eine Führung aus der Hand. News aus der Region. © Marcel Bieri Silvan Rudolf steht seit ... Read more »

Philippines faces another infection wave as Omicron looms

© Provided by BusinessWorld By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter and Norman P. Aquino, Special Reports Editor PAULINE F. CONVOCAR, a Filipino emergency physician, had to turn down patients upon ... Read more »

Talles Magno's late goal lifts NYCFC over Union, into first MLS Cup final

New York City FC celebrates after defeating the Philadelphia Union in the MLS Eastern Conference Final. Getty Images CHESTER, Pa. — Talles Magno scored in the 88th minute to send ... Read more »

Giants report card: This is getting ridiculous

Grading the Giants’ 20-9 loss to the Dolphins on at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday. Offense This has gone from bad to worse to ridiculous. No touchdowns, 250 total yards. ... Read more »

Verstappen given 10-second penalty for causing Hamilton clash in Saudi Arabian GP

© Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, battles with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12 Verstappen and Hamilton were involved in a number of incidents through Sunday’s ... Read more »

Lucid's Short-Term Victories Must Lead To Long-Term Success

© InsideEVs Production Lucid Air Highway and City Streets Drive (source: EV Nomads – Branden & Kalie) The startup has gotten over the major challenge of reaching production, but many ... Read more »

Vikings throw away key victory with late defensive collapse

DETROIT (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings are perfectly aware of what they wasted on Sunday afternoon. Needing a win to maintain a solid chance at an NFC playoff spot, they ... Read more »

Ham, lechon prices up as Christmas nears

soh-2 Prices of Christmas staples ham and lechon have shot up, due to high demand amid the holiday season and the impact of the African swine fever on the sector. ... Read more »

Darren Gough takes huge pay cut to leave talkSPORT and become Yorkshire director of cricket

Former Yorkshire cricket captain Darren Gough looks set to enjoy a surprise return to the county as their new director of cricket, marking his first role at the club since ... Read more »

No. 9 Iowa women beat MSU 88-61 for coach Bluder's 800th win

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Caitlin Clark had her second triple-double of the season with 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, and McKenna Warnock had 21 points as No. ... Read more »

Toni Kroos: A Master of Ball Progression

© Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images “Real Madrid’s games always run on Kroos’ rhythm” – Casemiro. Toni Kroos, Real Madrid’s midfield general, has played and won a lot with ... Read more »

Ethan Crumbley's parents ‘were helped after Oxford High shooting by artist who let them hide in his studio'

THE parents of alleged Oxford high school shooter Ethan Crumbley were helped by a Detroit artist who reportedly let them hide in his studio's basement after they were charged with ... Read more »

Omicron means it's time to switch to N95 masks

Omicron means it’s time to switch to N95 masks The omicron variant is spreading fast. According to the World Health Organization, at least 38 countries, on six continents, have confirmed ... Read more »

Vicky Kaushal & Katrina Kaif's wedding: Jewel Gamadia & Yasmin Karachiwala invited: Report

© Provided by Pinkvilla Finally, Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif’s royal wedding is just upon us. The couple is also starting their legendary wedding shenanigans from tomorrow (7 December) at ... Read more »

AP Top Stories December 5 P

Here are the top stories for Sunday, December 5th: Search for survivors continues after Indonesia volcano eruption; Belgian police use water, tear gas on protesters; Senate leader Bob Dole dies ... Read more »

The costs of Biden's war on oil include higher gas prices

President Joe Biden speaks on the economy during an event at the South Court Auditorium at Eisenhower Executive Office Building on November 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images ... Read more »

Tom Holland and Zendaya joke about height difference

© Provided by Cover Media Tom Holland Tom Holland and Zendaya have joked about how their height difference altered a stunt on Spider-Man: No Way Home. The real-life couple made ... Read more »

RUTH SUNDERLAND: LV's alarm call for mutuals

© Provided by This Is Money MailOnline logo Britain’s mutual building societies, insurance companies and co-operatives were once a potent force. A product of the Victorian era’s reforming zeal, they ... Read more »

Expats working in three countries may not be eligible for state pension from next year

Due to Brexit, workers who live in the EU, EEA, or Switzerland will have to recalculate the amount of “qualifying years” they have endured to see if they meet the ... Read more »

Liam Scales stakes his Celtic claim as debut goal has Irish rising star dreaming of regular place

Liam Scales admitted his phone was red hot after opening his Celtic account – but he’s hoping to get the call from Ange Postecoglou for Thursday. The former Shamrock Rovers ... Read more »

Keir Starmer says anti-vaxxers must 'think again' as NHS resources drained by unjabbed

Keir Starmer has urged anti-vaxxers and jab sceptics to “think again” as he prepares to get his booster vaccine. The Labour leader, who is due to have his third dose ... Read more »

Gambit top EMEA Pro League despite Alliance victory

© Provided by Dot Esports The final day of the first split’s regular season took place with concurrently running lobbies, so no teams would be handed an unfair advantage with ... Read more »

I'm A Celeb's Arlene Phillips becomes first campmate to be eliminated from ITV's 2021 series

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! has seen its first contestant, Arlene Phillips, eliminated from Gwrych Castle. The 78 year old, whose daughters recently said they weren’t “embarrassed” ... Read more »

How to unlock the Tropical Soda Islands and what it does in Cookie Run Kingdom

© Provided by GamePur In Cookie Run Kingdom, there’s a very helpful mode called Tropical Soda Islands. This mode can earn you a steady stream of items. However, it isn’t ... Read more »

Patrick Vieira outlines Ralf Rangnick impact during Manchester United victory

Patrick Vieira has revealed that the appointment of Ralf Rangnick had a major impact on how Crystal Palace approached their Premier League game with Manchester United. Having finally been granted ... Read more »

Speaker voices ‘deep concern' at reports of drug-taking in Parliament

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle is to raise reports of drug misuse in Parliament with the police “as a priority”. © House of Commons Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has ... Read more »

Overwatch fan creates Workshop mode to visualize the range of every ability

© Provided by Dot Esports Every Overwatch player has uttered the words, “there’s no way I was in range of that.” One fan decided enough was enough, so they went ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic