TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Antwan McClellan criticized Gov. Phil Murphy’s elaborate new Statehouse furnishings for private spaces paid for by the taxpayers while previous governors used their personal finances for similar upgrades.
“Murphy is living large off the taxpayers’ dime and it’s not right. Lavish furniture for areas of the Statehouse that are private is unconscionable. It is clear no expense was spared to suit the stylings of millionaires,” McClellan (R-Cape May) said. “Other administrations paid for their personal desks in the Statehouse and fancy renovations, so I don’t see how these purchases can be justified.”
The Cape May County lawmaker said former governors like Chris Christie used the desk of former Secretary of State Nina Wells during his time at the Statehouse, while Jim McGreevey brought his Woodbridge mayor’s desk, Christine Todd Whitman worked at her father’s desk, and Dick Codey paid for his desk and took it home.
Additionally, former Gov. Jon Corzine personally paid for $53,000 in upgrades to the state-owned governor’s mansion in Princeton, as well as $30,000 to refurbish and redecorate the beachfront retreat used by governors at Island Beach State Park.
“Schools are still underfunded and residents are struggling financially, but taxpayers have to pick up the tab so Murphy and his wife can experience luxury at the people’s house,” McClellan added.
The Christie administration commissioned prison labor to refurbish “existing furniture” in the governor’s office, reducing yearly furniture expenses to $2 million from $6 million.
“The half million dollars spent on the Murphys’ new furniture could have been used for much more noble causes like addressing students’ learning loss, helping small businesses, or permanently cutting taxes,” said McClellan.