Nj has always been a barrel tapped at both ends. Since the 19th century, Jerseans have worked in Nyc and philly. Nj was their bedroom state. However Cities such as Newark,Jersey,Camden,Elizabeth,and Paterson emerged as potent industrial powers.
NYC became the white collar capitol of the world. Newark was the home of"famed industrial arts" ,independent of NYC influence, and the second most industrial major US city in America,second only to Detroit. [*]
Suburban New Jerseans hoping to prevent major cities from growing in NJ,voted in anti city representatives and senators. Also, the rules for political representation were based on square mileage,instead of population.This favored the rural townships with their hundreds of vacant square miles. It was a deliberate tool to rob the boundary strangled cities of political force. As a result,when cities needed to annex and expand,pass bonds,or anything..they needed permission from the suburban controlled state legislature.
When Newark and Camden tried to annex by fiat(still legally possible today because Camden won the Greenwald vs Miller annexation case,but no politician has the guts to support)to compete with NY and Philly,Nj came up with the home rule sham.They also restricted" in city "founded banks from expanding beyond the county. This is why Newark never developed a financial skyscraper district. National Newark and Essex was the only bank big enough to build a skyscraper for itself and the (1180) Lefcourt tower.""
If Newark,for example,were allowed to reunify with all Essex, the bad areas plus Irvington,East Orange,Orange,and old Newark proper only occupy 1/5 of Essex's land area. Thats a prosperous city with the average bad older core.Not only that, but the 500,000 wealthy/middle class new Newarkers from formerly suburban Essex would clean house in city hall and open Downtown Newark to real redevelopment and gentrification.
Nj is directly responsible for the fall of its cities.