Ciattarelli Op-Ed: Star-Ledger: When it Comes to Taxes, Gov. Phil Murphy Just Doesn't Get It

By Jack Ciattarelli
August 29, 2021

During an event at Rowan University, Governor Phil Murphy said: “If you’re a one-issue voter, and tax rate is your issue…we’re probably not your state.”

Probably not your state?! Who says that?!

Rarely does a single sentence give such a clear window into how a politician thinks. To me, Governor Murphy’s comments were proof that he just doesn’t get it.

We should all strive for success, so I do not begrudge Phil Murphy’s. But let’s be honest. Phil Murphy has proven that as a multi-millionaire Goldman Sachs investment banker who lives in a gated mansion with servants’ quarters and who skips vacations down the Jersey Shore to jet off to his 23-room estate in Italy, he doesn’t understand or appreciate the tax burden New Jersey families face.

His extreme agenda has raised the taxes New Jerseyans pay every day, increased the state budget by $11 billion – more than 30% – in less than four years, and saddled future generations with billions of dollars in debt. What are we getting for it? Can anyone really say they’re better off today than they were four years ago?

It’s not just taxes. Time and again, Phil Murphy’s four years have been marked by failure. In our nursing homes. On Main Street. Our kids not being in school. Long lines at motor vehicles. Painful waits for unemployment benefits. “Help Wanted” signs everywhere. Corruption. Scandal. Failing women. Failing the Black community. Failing police officers.

All this is why I’m running for governor, with taxes as a primary focus. I’ll lower property taxes, expand our economy by creating more opportunities and jobs, and shrink the size and cost of state government.

The cornerstone of my campaign is a plan to fix our property tax crisis by comprehensively reforming the current school funding formula, which funnels 54% of all state school aid to New Jersey’s 31 Abbott school districts — which make up just 5% of the state’s school districts.

Because of the imbalance in our school funding formula, a majority of the state’s students routinely see reductions in school aid, which forces teacher layoffs, cuts to after-school programs and even makes some parents pay an extra fee if their child participates in school sports.

Just as bad, working-class families and retirees on fixed incomes in most districts are forced to endure ever-rising property taxes to make up for the school aid they don’t get from Trenton. The result is the highest property tax bills in the country and an average property tax bill that is now over $9,100 per year, with bills approaching $15,000 a year for some modest homes in parts of the state.

People often ask me, “Well, what is your plan to fix property taxes?” And I say, “I’m glad you asked.” As an MBA/CPA and two-time Main Street business owner, I am all about fixing problems with detailed solutions that can win bipartisan support.

Without leaving any student or community behind, and without adversely affecting the quality of education anywhere, my property tax plan will:

  • Shift extraordinary special education costs to the state
  • Restore state aid to struggling suburban, shore area and rural schools
  • End property tax increases as a result of home improvements
  • Freeze property taxes for all homeowners at age 65
  • Allow a mortgage interest deduction for first-time homebuyers
  • Prohibit taxing the gain on the sale of a home or second home

I’ll also restructure and simplify all income brackets to reduce everyone’s taxes; make all retirement income tax-free; replace the child tax exemption with a child tax credit of up to $500 per child and make student loan interest tax-deductible. My entire plan to fix New Jersey can be viewed at

New Jersey’s future is at stake. We can fix our broken state. All we need is competent leadership, which I’m determined to provide. I ask New Jersey voters for their support in this year’s race for governor.

Jack Ciattarelli is the Republican gubernatorial candidate in New Jersey. He’s a former state assemblyman and ran previously for governor in 2017.

Jack 4 NJ