Bramnick says baby bonds is ‘Murphy’s Florio toilet paper’ moment

By David Wildstein from New Jersey Globe

Thirty years ago, thousands of politically inactive New Jerseyans joined a grassroots tax revolt after Gov. Jim Florio proposed a $2.8 billion tax increase.

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick says Gov. Phil Murphy’s baby bonds proposal will receive Florio

“I think this is Murphy’s Florio toilet paper tax moment,” said Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick on the former governor’s proposal to make items like toilet paper subject to the sales tax.

Murphy proposed an $80 million plan to put $1,000 away for every child born in New Jersey to a family earning less than $135,000-a-year, giving those children access to the money with interest at age 18.

Bramnick told the New Jersey Globe that he things launching a new problem during an economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic – while borrowing $4 million to supplement state revenues – is a bad idea.

“You’re giving away a thousand dollars? What?” Bramnick asked. “This is how average New Jerseyans will react. It’s the worst economic disaster we’ve ever seen and he’s giving you $1,000?

Bramnick predicted that New Jerseyans will rebel against the proposal the way they did when Florio tried to tax toilet paper.

“I don’t understand it from an economic point of view, but I do know it’s bad politics,” he said.

The idea of providing people with one-shot payments is nothing new.

In 1972, Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern proposed an annual $1,000 payment – about $5,200 in today’s dollars – to every American.

“How’d that work out for him?” Bramnick questioned, recalling that Richard M. Nixon won everywhere but Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

Bramnick is mulling a bid for the Republican nomination for governor in 2021.

He said he doesn’t agree with a call by potential rival Jack Ciattarelli to skip a pension payment in the upcoming budget, suggesting instead that the $4.9 billion Murphy proposed in his budget could be reduced.

Democrats took a beating over Florio’s tax hikes, losing 10 State Senate seats and 21 Assembly seats in the 1991 mid-term elections.

Florio’s job approvals plummeted, but by 1993 he came within 26,093 votes of winning re-election to a second term.