State Watch

Former New Jersey governor Jim Florio dies at 85

FILE – President Bill Clinton talks with New Jersey Gov. Jim Florio, left, prior to making an address on his national service plan at the Lewis Brown Athletic Center on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J., on Monday, March 1, 1993. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander, File)

Former New Jersey Gov. Jim Florio (D) died on Sunday evening at the age of 85, almost three decades after the end of his gubernatorial tenure.

Florio’s law partner Douglas Steinhardt wrote that he “passed away last night comforted by family & friends,” in an announcement on Monday.

Florio began his career in New Jersey politics when he ran for State Assembly in 1969 and was elected to a South Jersey congressional seat in 1972.

He was known for his efforts to reform public school funding, protect the environment and ban assault weapons.

His governorship lasted just one term after he went back on a campaign promise to keep state taxes level, ultimately passing a record tax increase after winning the seat.

The $2.8 billion tax increase aimed to balance New Jersey’s budget, pay for property tax relief programs and contribute to education in low-income school districts.

The former governor moved to private law practice after losing his bid for reelection in 1993, according to The New Jersey Globe, which first reported his death on Sunday.

Florio launched another Senate bid in 2000 but lost to former Goldman Sachs executive Jon Corzine, who would later go on to become New Jersey’s governor.

Florio and Steinhardt, the former chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee, worked together for years at Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Cappelli LLC.

“Our partnership was a constant reminder to me that ppl can disagree on fundamental tenets of gov’t & politics, but still be civil & still be friends. I will miss him,” Steinhardt added.

Florio is survived by his wife Lucinda and his children and grandchildren.

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