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HomeNewsJames Florio, former New Jersey governor and U.S. rep., dies at 85

James Florio, former New Jersey governor and U.S. rep., dies at 85

TRENTON, N.J. — Former New Jersey Gov. James Florio, who championed a plan that considerably raised the state’s gross sales and earnings taxes resulting in his re-election defeat in 1993, died Sunday.

He was 85.

His regulation associate Doug Steinhardt and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy confirmed Florio died in statements Monday.

“Governor Florio was a fighter who by no means backed down. He was a pacesetter who cared extra about the way forward for New Jersey than his personal political fortunes,” Murphy, a fellow Democrat, stated in an announcement.

Florio was a longtime public servant who held quite a few posts on the native, county, state and federal ranges.

The New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial candidate, James Florio, proper, debates his Republican challenger, Thomas Kean, at The New York Occasions constructing in New York on Oct. 13, 1981.AP file

A Democrat, he made three unsuccessful runs for governor earlier than lastly succeeding in 1989, when he defeated Republican Jim Courter and have become the primary Italian American to function the state’s chief govt.

Florio drew sharp criticism in 1990 when he pushed a $2.8 billion tax enhance by way of the state Legislature that prolonged a gross sales tax to, amongst different issues, rest room paper. It spawned large voter resentment and spurred the formation of Arms Throughout New Jersey, an anti-tax grassroots group that used rolls of bathroom paper as its image.

Florio was ousted after one time period by Republican Christie Whitman, who tapped into voter anger over the tax hike and gained the race by about 26,000 votes.

Earlier than changing into governor, Florio served 4 years within the state Meeting and 15 years within the Home of Representatives. In 2000, he unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, shedding to funding banker Jon Corzine in one of the crucial costly Senate primaries in historical past.

Former New Jersey Gov. James Florio, right, attends a New Jersey Transportation conference, on March 2, 2011, in Trenton.
Former New Jersey Gov. James Florio, proper, attends a New Jersey Transportation convention, on March 2, 2011, in Trenton.Julio Cortez / AP file

Corzine went on to win the Senate seat that yr and held it till he gained the governor’s workplace in 2005.

Lengthy after he left workplace, Florio continued to be an lively voice and weighed in on a number of points. He was an everyday within the halls of the Statehouse throughout legislative classes.

In February 2015, Florio and three different former New Jersey governors urged the state Senate to delay a vote on Gov. Chris Christie’s nominee for a southern New Jersey panel that oversees a million-acre pine reserve. They claimed the nomination would “undermine the independence” of the fee, however the Senate finally authorized the nominee for the job.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Florio attended Trenton State Faculty (now generally known as The Faculty of New Jersey) and graduated from the Rutgers College of Regulation in 1967. He additionally served as an officer within the Navy from 1955 to 1958 and continued as a reservist till 1975, finally reaching the rank of lieutenant commander.

CORRECTION (Sept. 26, 2022, 4 p.m. ET): A photograph caption in a earlier model of this text misstated the final identify of the Republican gubernatorial candidate in 1981. He’s Thomas Kean, not Dean. 

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