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James Florio, former governor of New Jersey and US Representative, died at 85

By The Environmental Protection Agency - The Environmental Protection Agency

Former New Jersey Gov. James Florio died Sunday at the age of 85 after championing a plan that significantly raised the state's income and sales taxes.

According to statements released on Monday, Florio's law partner Doug Steinhardt and New Jersey governor Phil Murphy confirmed his death.

In addition to holding various positions at the local, county, state, and federal levels, Florio was also a long-term public servant.

In 1989, after losing to Republican Jim Courter, he was elected governor after three unsuccessful runs for the office. He was the state's first Italian-American governor.

During his tenure as governor, Florio increased taxes by $2.8 billion in 1990, including the extension of a sales tax to toilet paper. With Rolls of Toilet Paper as its symbol, Hands Across New Jersey emerged from voter resentment and formed an anti-tax grass roots group.

As a result of voter anger over the tax hike, Florio was ousted after one term by Republican Christie Whitman.

After winning the Senate seat that year, Corzine held it until 2005 when he won the governorship.

Florio continued to be an active voice even after leaving office. Legislative sessions saw him regularly in the statehouse. Formerly a member of the state Assembly and House of Representatives, Florio served four years as governor before becoming governor. His unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for Senate, which ended in defeat to investment banker Jon Corzine.

27 September 2022


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