Jim Florio dead – His massive NJ tax hike gave birth to NJ 101.5
The former governor who sparked a revolution in New Jersey, and in the process gave birth to New Jersey 101.5, has died at the age of 85.
James Florio was a former state legislator and a popular South Jersey congressman when he ran for governor.
Elected in 1990, Florio says he was immediately confronted with a huge budget deficit. His solution? A $2.8 billion tax hike.
Passed and signed into law in the middle of the night, when the public first learned of the massive increase, there was outrage.
New Jersey 101.5 was in its infancy. Public outcry began with a few phone calls to our program hosts. A man named John Budzash was among those calls. He went on to co-found "Hands Across New Jersey" with Pat Ralston.
As the anti-tax sentiment continued to build, a massive protest was organized for the State House.
Florio would be a one-term governor from 1990 - 1994.
He frequently blamed New Jersey 101.5 and the station's support of the tax revolt for him losing the election.
He was born in Brooklyn, but moved to New Jersey for college and law school. A navy veteran and amateur boxer, Florio's biggest fights were in the political arena.
During his first few months as governor, Florio proposed the strictest gun control measures in the nation. It included a total ban on assault weapons and a strict gun registry that would have forced residents to declare their guns were for target shooting only, or prove they were inoperable or turn them into police.
After narrowly losing the 1993 election to Republican Christine Todd Whitman, Florio focused on his law practice but remained a frequent visitor to the State House.
His built a legacy as a champion of the environment.
New Jersey Globe was the first to report Florio's death, but no cause was given.
Current and former elected officials in New Jersey are remembering Florio as an elder statesman who sought to improve life in the Garden State.