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Gov. Phil Murphy Delivers New Jersey State Of The State Address, Promises No Increase In Taxes

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- In his State of the State address, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy reinstated a public health emergency due to the Omicron variant, effective immediately.

It comes as the state on Tuesday reported more than 21,000 new cases. More than 6,000 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 and the state reported 142 new deaths, CBS2's Meg Baker reported.

For the second year in a row, Murphy gave his State of the State virtually due to the pandemic.

"In consultation with my partners in the Legislature, I have taken the necessary step of re-declaring a public health emergency to ensure we keep moving forward, guided by facts and science," Murphy said.

Murphy says his declaration does not mean lockdowns, business restrictions or limits on gathering.

The governor touted the fact that 90% of eligible individuals have gotten at least one dose of vaccine, and, "We have more accessible and affordable health care and child care, stronger public schools, and more affordable higher education."

Watch the full address --

Republican Leader Sen. Steve Oroho said the Legislature should have been included in making decisions about mandates.

"Into our second year now talking about the executive orders where one person, one individual, has been basically mandating or ruling by dictate, and we're a co-branch of government," Oroho said.

New Jerseyans had some thoughts on the current state of affairs as well.

"I think that Gov. Murphy is doing a fabulous job right now with what he is doing with children and schools and I think there should be a mask mandate in schools," Danielle Pace of Fanwood.

High taxes is the main complaint Baker has heard from most people who live in the state.

"The voters of New Jersey made it very clear in a very close race that they are sick and tired of higher taxes, and that New Jersey needs to get back to normal so people can afford to live here, and they are tired of mandates," political expert Jeanette Hoffman said.

"It could be more affordable, but you look at other states where you don't have quite so many taxes and their services aren't up to scratch," said Bruce Dykes of North Plainfield.

"I commit to you now that the state budget I propose in a few weeks will not raise taxes," Murphy said.

The governor touted progress in combating gun violence, protecting the right to reproductive freedom, climate change, and maternal health. He said many jobs in the cannabis industry await, and that the state's real estate market is strong.

Murphy said he will move the state forward through opportunity, affordability, and fairness.

CBS2's Meg Baker contributed to this report.

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