Former New Jersey Gov. Cahill Dead at 84
Jul. 01, 1996
HADDONFIELD, N.J. (AP) _ Former Gov. William T. Cahill, who lured the New York Giants to New Jersey but couldn't persuade residents to accept a state income tax, died today. He was 84.
Cahill died in his hometown of Haddonfield, according to Diane Bedwell, a spokeswoman at his law firm. He had been ill with a circulatory system illness for some time, she said, but she had no details on cause of death.
Cahill was an FBI agent, prosecutor and six-term congressman before he served as governor from 1970-1974.
Opposition to his tax proposals and corruption charges against associates limited Cahill to one term as governor. Seeking a second term, he was defeated in the Republican primary _ the only time he lost an election for public office.
``I always considered it a civic duty to get involved,'' Cahill said in a 1988 interview. ``But I also said to myself, `Once the people tell me they don't want me, that's it. I'm out.'''
While governor, Cahill introduced the state lottery and the New York Giants football team to New Jersey, as well as wetlands and coastal environmental protection measures. He raised the sales tax from 3 percent to 5 percent to balance the budget shortly after taking office.
But overall tax reform was one of the major battles of Cahill's administration, a battle he fought and lost. Cahill went directly to the voters promoting a new state income tax, as recommended by a blue-ribbon commission he had appointed. But the Legislature defeated the income tax bill in 1972.
New Jersey eventually enacted a graduated state income tax four years later.
Cahill distanced himself from the Nixon administration and Republican hard-liners during his days in the governor's office. He praised students who protested the U.S. invasion of Cambodia and pushed for a softening of the penalties for possessing a small amount of marijuana.
He criticized President Nixon, saying he didn't pay enough attention to domestic problems.
``The federal government can no longer avoid its responsibilities to the Newarks of this country,'' he once said.
After filling various local and state prosecutor's office posts, Cahill served six consecutive terms representing Camden County in Congress. He also had served one term as state assemblyman from Camden County from 1951-1952.