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Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli. Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe

Ciattarelli slams Murphy on handling of NJ economy

‘Two years on the job, the Governor refuses to address head-on what’s broken in New Jersey,” possible ’21 challenger says

By David Wildstein, October 03 2019 8:16 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy’s economic plan falls short of meeting the state’s need, according to one of his potential 2021 Republican opponents, former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli.

“Two years on the job, the Governor refuses to address head-on what’s broken in New Jersey – our worst in the nation property taxes, public employees’ pension system and business climate,” Ciattarelli said. “All three mean an underperforming economy and higher taxes.”

Murphy can “play the ‘stronger and fairer’ card all he wants,” Ciattarelli says.

“Fact is, with every passing week, citizens are waking up to the reality that all his progressive policy positions aren’t going to fix New Jersey,” said the former Somerset County legislator.  “On the contrary, he’s worsening matters by making new fiscal promises when we can’t afford the old ones.”

Ciattarelli believes the solution to New Jersey’s high property taxes is a fair school funding formula, an overhaul of public employee benefits, and changing the tax code to enhance the state’s business climate and encourage job growth.

“We also need to stop over-development from all the misplaced high-density affordable housing,” Ciattarelli said.  “Then, and only then, will New Jersey be stronger and fairer, for everyone.

A former Raritan Councilman and Somerset County Freeholder, Ciattarelli won a State Assembly seat in a 2011 special election.

Ciattarelli gave up his seat in 2017 to run for governor.  He raised nearly $1.8 million in his 2017 campaign for governor and won organization lines in Burlington, Essex Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties.

The front-runner, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, defeated Ciattarelli by a 47%-31% margin in a field of five candidates.

At the time, Democrats viewed Ciattarelli as the more formidable general election candidate and the Murphy campaign was relieved that Guadagno held her lead.

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