It’s no secret that Phil Murphy is completely out of touch with New Jersey taxpayers on what they really need and what they really want. But since he’s the guy in charge, he should be more transparent.

Case in point: the quiet way this latest raise for state workers was implemented seems sneaky. Now, I’m not saying that people who work in the public sector are not hard-working individuals who deserve a raise, just like the rest of us. The fact is that when the middle class in New Jersey is suffering, the Murphy tax-and-spend policy to give raises to public workers really feels like a slap in the face, especially when it seems it was done stealthily.

Soon after Murphy took office, he allowed a $15 million dollar cash “infusion” to give raises to his cabinet, state justices, Superior Court judges, and county prosecutors. When that measure was criticized by some lawmakers for enriching the state’s highest-paid employees while leaving the salaries of lower-level state employees (including legislative aides) unchanged, a cool $10 million more was allocated for them.

Again, my issue was not so much with the raises but by the sneakiness.

I agree with Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-Monmouth), who said to NorthJersey.com, “Whether or not it’s justified, allocating $10 million behind closed doors for such a controversial purpose comes off as deliberately evasive.” Handlin said the way the money was approved sends the wrong message to taxpayers.

“Since this will be my last term in the Legislature, I look at it as an ordinary taxpayer and ask, ‘What else are they putting on my tab without telling me? Why give them more and more of my money when I’m the last one to know how it’s spent?” added Handlin. This is exactly how we feel.

You and I have known how New Jersey state government works for a long time. So has Amy Handlin, and kudos to her for finally calling it out to the public. Like him or not, one of the positives of Chris Christie was his in-your-face, “I will do this if I want” attitude. People called this bullying, but you have to admit, at least there was a transparency to it. Everything that happens in the Murphy administration seems to be clouded under a shroud of secrecy. I’ll take bullying over smiling disingenuousness any day of the week.

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