Why Gov. Phil Murphy is No. 1 on our 2023 Power List

As if it didn’t know already, the business community learned just how powerful and influential the governor is during the pandemic, when businesses were either shut down, forced to go virtual or heavily restricted — virtually overnight.

We remind business owners of this not to recall the governor’s policies during the pandemic (and we’ll give him high grades for tackling something for which there was no playbook) — but to explain how these powers may come as an enormous help to businesses in the coming year.

Follow us on this. Murphy says he has been traveling around the country as the co-chair of the National Governor’s Association in an effort to support his fellow Democratic governors. And, while that’s true — it’s not the whole truth.

(We didn’t believe it when the former guy said it, so we won’t believe it now.)

Murphy appears to be testing the waters for a future national run, seeing how his policies in New Jersey play on a national scale. One thing he’s already learned: The idea of paying more to get more doesn’t sell.

Murphy knows he needs to drift closer to the center nationally, especially on taxes. That’s why he’s hinted at letting the Corporate Business Tax surcharge sunset (meaning we’ll only have incredibly high business taxes instead of astronomical ones). And there’s word that his upcoming budget address might have a few more gifts for business, too.

This is where the governor’s power and influence will help business.

What he has in mind remains to be seen. Whatever it is, we’re confident he’ll get it done. He’s that powerful.

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Questions about the list?