Republican NJ gubernatorial candidates attack each other’s tax plans

EDISON -

With less than two months to go until the New Jersey gubernatorial primary, some Republican candidates have begun to attach each other’s tax plans.

New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the country, so candidates will have to convince New Jersey residents that their plans for state taxes are the best ones.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno says that she will get voters with her “circuit breaker” plan to cut property taxes. She says that her proposal would limit the amount a homeowner pays to school taxes to just 5 percent of their income.

“You will always know how much you're going to pay and that you'll never pay more than 5 percent of whatever your income is for your property taxes,” she says. “It’s immediate tax relief for people who need it the most in New Jersey. No one else has a plan like that.”

Guadagno says that the plan would benefit more than a million New Jersey residents. But it would also cost the state $1.5 billion. She says that the money could be made up with increased revenue and savings through audits of state government and school districts.

“We know that if we audit some of these school districts we will find savings no matter what,” she says.

But Guadagno’s closest Republican challenger, Assemblyman Jack Ciatarelli, says that the plan isn’t feasible.

“I think it’s disappointing, if not embarrassing. You think someone with seven-plus years on the job would have given more thought to this,” Ciatarelli says.

He says that he wants to reform property taxes by changing the school funding formula. 

Ciatarelli says that he is also proposing a deal with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to pay for transportation projects in exchange for the income taxes of the 200,000 New Jersey residents who work in New York.

“I think there’s a fair deal to be had but more than anything I’m tired of New Jersey getting the short end of the stick,” Ciatarelli says.

Ciatarelli and Guadagno are two of five candidates running for the Republican nomination. The others are Ocean County businessman Joseph Rullo, Nutley Commissioner Steve Rogers and Atlantic City engineer Hirsh Singh.

The primary is June 6.

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