Governor Phil Murphy said something Wednesday that is either bad or really, really bad. After cutting a deal with the Communications Workers of America where they get retroactive raises, bonuses and retroactive clothing allowances he says he knows little about the details.

NJ's biggest state workers union was at odds for years under the Christie administration who insisted on reining in costs. The CWA is 32,000 members and makes up almost half of the state's entire workforce. So cutting a 4 year deal with them where they get most everything they weren't getting under Christie and making it retroactive is a big deal for the state budget. It's the kind of thing you have to make sure you can afford. After all, 9,000 of these workers were already making between $40,000 and $60,000 annually and 9,500 more were pulling in $60,000 to $80,000. Throw in all these retroactive raises and bonuses and allowances, pretty soon we're talking real money here.

But just how much is this appeasement of the public unions going to cost us taxpayers? Murphy claims he doesn't know.

When asked that question at an unrelated public event yesterday, Murphy answered, "I don't know the exact number. But our folks are working on the details."

You...don't know...the exact number. You just cut a huge 4 year deal, 3 years of which are actually behind us because most of your appeasing the unions you are politically beholden to was to give them back pay, and you don't know what you gave them? By the way, after handing this love package to the union and calling it a 4 year deal keep in mind a new deal begins next year. So they are already in negotiations for that.

Murphy went on to say, "This used to be standard operating procedure in this state, on both sides of the aisle. This is not that big a deal. It's the right thing to do for workers and working families."

It's not that big a deal to not know what you just gave this union? It was standard operating procedure to give the unions whatever they wanted and you think it's good to go back to that? That didn't in part lead us to where we are now as a state? Are you kidding me Phil?

C'mon, Phil, you're a Goldman Sachs guy in an expensive suit. You understand money. You expect us to believe you don't know what this cost us?

Finally he said, "I'm very comfortable with where we came out. We're getting back to practices that used to be the norm in this state."

How are you very comfortable with "where we came out" if you "don't know the exact number?" And getting back to practices that used to be the norm in this state is why the state is in the shape it's in. You say that like it's a good thing, Phil.

So here's what we have folks. Only two ways to look at this ludicrous answer. He's either a liar or he's completely incompetent.

How did he budget for this if he cut a deal and only after the fact is having his folks "working on the details?" How did he cut a deal without knowing exactly what the deal meant for the taxpayers of New Jersey and what the bottom line was? It doesn't seem plausible. So first we can assume it is costing us taxpayers so much to stroke this union that he doesn't want to say it out loud. He doesn't want to answer the question. So he lied and pretended he has no idea. That they're (air quotes here) "working on" it.

Is it good to have a governor who would lie to our faces? No, it's never good. If this is indeed a lie it was done so cavalierly that it's worse than most. And this is a lie that impacts every single one of us who pays taxes. Basically, our money is being used to cut a deal with 32,000 CWA members and we're not allowed to know the details.

Now imagine it's not a lie. Of the two this is the more frightening possibility. Imagine we have elected to office a guy who is so wholly incompetent as to cut a major budget straining retroactive deal with the CWA and didn't even bother to know the bottom line impact before putting it to rest. He's either a blatant liar, or the most incompetent man for the job. He's either a liar, or he feels rewarding the union for backing him is far more important than us in the private sector who will be asked to cough up the money no matter what the total is. Mere details. Let us eat cake.

So which is it Phil? You know our number anytime you'd like to call in to the Deminski and Doyle show and answer this simple question...are you a liar or just this incompetent?

(Note: after this opinion piece was written, Murphy finally offered a number to the public on what this CWA settlement will cost. He kow says it will cost $149 million. You can read this update here.)

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