Murphy, Guadagno square off in South Jersey forum

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MOUNT LAUREL -

New Jersey’s leading gubernatorial candidates, Phil Murphy and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, spoke to members of the public Tuesday in a forum hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey.

With only 82 days to go before the election to replace Gov. Chris Christie, Murphy, a Democrat, and Guadagno, a Republican, both emphasized the need to attract new jobs and innovation to the state.

“Our goal must be nothing less than building a stronger, fairer economy for every New Jerseyans,” Murphy said.

“I am the only candidate running for office today who has said out loud that I have a plan to lower property taxes,” said Guadagno.

The candidates said that they were hoping to win over the business community during the forum. Guadagno has been speaking at business gatherings for years.

Murphy, a former ambassador to Germany, might sometimes be considered the favorite to win the election, but not all of his ideas were popular among the crowd Tuesday.

Murphy says that he is in favor of raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, something that some business owners say could put them out of business.

“Our economy simply works better when everyone can afford to participate in it,” Murphy said. “I realize we may not always agree. No two people ever do.”

Guadagno has made lowering property taxes her No. 1 issue. She says that her plan would cut taxes for homeowners who pay more than 5 percent of their property taxes to schools.

But Murphy says that her work in the Christie administration hasn't indicated that this will happen.

“If you’ve been there for seven and a half years wouldn't you think you'd have done something about it? Contribute in some way to a growing economy?” Murphy asked.

“For the last eight years I’ve been working on the biggest problem facing New Jerseyans, and that was the 9.8 percent unemployment rate and have successfully addressed that problem,” she responded.

Election Day is Nov. 7, 2017.

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