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Of the Newest Governors, New Jersey's Has the Bigger Financial Bind

By 2016, the state had about $168 billion less than it will need to cover all the benefits that have been promised to employees. Among all 50 states, New Jersey has the most underfunded pension system in the country, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

It will be a challenge to pay that down, said Lisa Washburn, a managing director at Municipal Market Analytics.

"It seems like a millionaire’s tax is going to be woefully insufficient to make those payments and fund other spending priorities," she said.

The state will need to balance spending on social programs that Murphy has highlighted, such as more investment in community colleges, with keeping up with pension and OPEB costs, Washburn said.

"I don’t see personally in the near-term credit rating boosts coming New Jersey’s way," she said.

Tim Holler