EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Republican gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno was in town Thursday, touting her signature property-tax reform plan that she says could save average New Jersey residents about $1,000 on their annual tax bill.
Speaking at a roundtable of residents on Robert Best Road, Guadagno said her plan would cap the amount homeowners pay in school taxes to 5 percent of the household’s income.
The homeowners would receive a tax credit for any amount above that cap, up to $3,000. For example, if a household making $100,000 per year has a school property-tax bill of $6,000, they would receive a $1,000 credit.
School taxes are often the largest portion of tax bills. In Egg Harbor Township, 64 percent of tax money goes to the school district, Mayor James “Sonny” McCullough said.
“People in New Jersey just can’t afford to live here anymore,” Guadagno said, adding schools will not lose funding under the plan because it will be supplemented by the state.
New Jersey consistently ranks among the highest property taxes in the nation. Guadagno said the next governor must make bringing down taxes one of their top priorities, and said her opponent, Democrat Phil Murphy, will only raise taxes on residents.
A spokesman for Murphy did not return a request for comment Thursday.
Opponents have questioned how Guadagno will pay for the plan, specifically because schools being supplemented by the state come from taxpayer dollars anyway.
Guadagno said the payment will come from savings generated by a state audit on spending, specifically by stopping sick-pay abuse by public workers, reforming health-care costs, and forcing shared services on municipalities to cut costs.
In the Republican gubernatorial primary, Guadagno’s opponent, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, R-Somerset, said funding the plan through undetermined cost savings was irresponsible.
But Guadagno pointed to other states that have successfully passed tax reforms that mirror this proposal, including Massachusetts and Illinois.
“It works in Massachusetts and it works in Illinois, and those are both blue states,” she said. “One of the reasons we picked this program is because it was passed by legislatures in blue states, and we would be working with the same kind of scenario.”
Guadagno’s visit to the area came a day after Murphy sat down with the firefighters union in Atlantic City over state-imposed cuts to contracts and proposed layoffs of 100 firefighters.
Murphy also toured Stockton University’s Gateway project in Atlantic City and ate lunch at Ducktown Tavern.
Guadagno, meanwhile, traveled to Avalon after the roundtable in Egg Harbor Township for the official opening of the Icona Golden Inn.