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Gov. Murphy Makes Rare Exception For Aspiring 5th Grade Paramus Reporter

Jack, a fifth grader at West Brook Middle School, asks Gov. Murphy his opinion on PARCC testing Wednesday.
Jack, a fifth grader at West Brook Middle School, asks Gov. Murphy his opinion on PARCC testing Wednesday. Photo Credit: Contributed

Governor Phil Murphy took no questions from the press Wednesday in Paramus at his first town hall meeting since taking office.

Except for one.

Meet Jack: a fifth grader at West Brook Middle School.

The governor knew he was in the audience, diligently taking notes in his notebook.

"I know there is a reporter named Jack in this audience," the governor said after addressing the main points of his budget proposal.

"Jack, please raise your hand."

The aspiring journalist's hand shot up and the governor made his way over to him.

"Jack, what's your question?"

Wearing a red and grey baseball hoodie and a big smile on his face, Jack looked up and asked:

"What's  your position on PARCC?"

Murphy said he wasn't convinced that high stakes testing is the way to go.

Satisfied with his answer, Jack sat down -- still smiling -- and continued taking notes in his seat next to his mom.

Jack opened up his notebook revealing extensive notes on the governor's budget plan, which he discussed Wednesday in the Paramus High School gymnasium to an audience of Bergen County mayors, state legislators, school officials and community members.

The $37.4 billion proposal spends $2.7 billion more than the spending plan former Gov. Chris Christie signed into law last year. 

"It's not too late," Murphy said to the audience. "Our best days are ahead of us but we have to make investments and the right decision."

Some details from the policy proposal include:

10.75 percent tax on annual incomes over $1 million

Legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana sales 

Restore 7 percent sales tax rate

Begin phasing in free community college by 2021

Increase earned income tax credit to 40 percent of the federal credit

And more (CLICK HERE)

Murphy said that Bergen County is one of his favorite communities in the state "because it's a county that works and a community that works."

The goal is a "stronger, fairer New Jersey that works for everyone," the governor said. "If you get it in Bergen County, you get it right up and down the state."

Paramus Mayor Rich LaBarbiera said Murphy has always recognized the important role Paramus plays locally and statewide.

He welcomed him before his speech Wednesday with a personalized Paramus hoodie and hat.

"'P' for Paramus," he said in jest. "Not Patriots."

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