TRENTON, N.J. (PIX11) – As Gov. Phil Murphy made his grand entrance into the Capitol’s Assembly Chambers for the State of the State address, he pointed the spotlight on what he calls the “next New Jersey” and how he says the “American Dream” is alive and well in the state.

“As we start 2023, and embark on year six of our journey together, the State of our State is just that,” said Murphy. “We are stronger and we are fairer. We are moving confidently in the right direction – forward.”

Murphy touted some of his administration’s accomplishments, like raising the minimum wage to $14.13 an hour, affecting nearly half a million workers.

“They are better off because we worked together to strengthen the road to the middle class,” said Murphy. “Thank you.”

 Murphy also touted the historic, $2 billion ANCHOR property tax relief program.

“This is money going right back into the pockets of roughly two million New Jersey middle-class and working homeowners, seniors, and tenants – households in which well more than half of all of our residents live,” Murphy said.

In the Assembly GOP response, Republicans call on Murphy to lower taxes, saying fewer people would end up leaving new jersey for a better life.

“Despite the rosey picture Governor Murphy is trying to paint, the State of the State is not good,” said New Jersey Senate Republican Leader Steven Oroho. “After five years of the Murphy administration and two decades of full Democrat control of the legislature, the outlook for New Jersey continues to get worse.”

This was Murphy’s first in-person State of the State address since 2020, just before COVID-19 lockdowns took effect.