TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Lunch time at the Bridge-Way Diner in Old Bridge, New Jersey cooked up a lot of opinions on Gov. Murphy’s first year in office.

“For the amount we have to pay I think much more should be done for schools, for roads, and for people… teachers,” Arlene Loschiavo of Manalapan said.

“Shouldn’t legalize marijuana… they’re just looking at it money wise,” Bill Loschiavo added.

Down in Trenton, the governor started out criticizing the state’s use of taxpayer dollars during his state of the state address on Tuesday.

“Between 2010 and 2017, $8 billion in corporate tax breaks were given away… The comptroller could not prove that New Jersey got back benefits anywhere near what it handed out… Meaning money flowed from taxpayers’ pockets into a black hole,” Murphy charged.

The governor plans to fix this and promised to bring more jobs to the garden state.

Political experts say despite his own Democratic party having control, Murphy had a difficult year in office.

Murphy did not get most of campaign promises done. He had struggles with some in his own party and has sexual assault cases looming over his administration, according to political expert  Jeanette Hoffman.

Gov. Murphy also addressed those big ticket campaign initiatives.

“Let’s start 2019 by finishing what we began in 2018 — putting the minimum wage on a clear and responsible path to $15 an hour and legalizing adult-use marijuana.”

CBS2’s Meg Baker spoke to college students who say raising the minimum wage will help them balance school with work and help them start saving so they can stay in New Jersey after they graduate.

Other residents CBS2 spoke to in Monmouth County said they’re hoping for tax relief this year.

“Taxes are too high, property taxes are too high, and he isn’t doing a thing about those,” Kristen Gentile added.

“To help our property taxpayers, we are also taking steps to promote common sense shared services,” Gov. Murphy said Tuesday.

The governor also touted passing stricter gun laws and focusing on commuters in 2018. He says NJTRANSIT will continue improving communications, service, and reliability.


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