the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Mountain Lakes NJ, Jack Ciattarelli sounded very much like a man running for governor Wednesday night as he addressed the first “Brotherhood of Business and Labor” reception hosted by the New Jersey Organization for Economic Growth in Morris County.
Ciattarelli, who ran for the Republican nomination for governor last year, presented his ideas to cure New Jersey’s economic and tax ills, which included the elimination of the state tax on capital gains, phasing out the corporate business tax, and ending the practice of raising property taxes on people who update their homes without increasing the size of the house.
Ciattarelli’s philosophical approach is to not punish people who take risks or who invest in projects that create value and jobs. That philosophy was enthusiastically received by NJOEG Chairman Joseph Caruso, who said he welcomed Ciattarelli’s bold candor.
When Caruso asked the keynote speaker of the event if he was running for governor, Ciattarelli smiled and reeled off the exact number of months and days until the next gubernatorial election before admitting that he would run.
Ciattarelli was warmly received at the Brotherhood event, which included a number of elected and appointed officials including New Jersey State Republican Party Chairman Doug Steinhardt; State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio; Business Manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 102 Patrick Delle Cava; and NJOEG Labor Liaison Christian Barranco
“I think Jack will be a great candidate and will make a tremendous governor. He understands economics and investment and he is willing to tackle tough issues without pandering to the special interests that are largely responsible for New Jersey’s horrid economic condition,” said Caruso, a business executive from Wayne.
Ciattarelli, a former assemblyman from the 16th Legislative District, stepped into the quagmire that is the state’s ongoing property tax crisis; saying bluntly, “You can’t fix the property tax problem in New Jersey without fixing the state’s school funding formula.”
Ciattarelli’s fix entails providing the same amount of per student funding for every child regardless of where they live.
He also waded into the pension crisis saying: “The state pension plan is busted. It was not designed to pay lifetime health benefits to people who live into their 90’s,” he said.
Ciattarelli took a few jabs at Gov. Phil Murphy and his progressive policies and tax increases, saying: “Murphy lights the fires of socialism.”
Della Cave, representing labor at the event, pointed out how his union is backing incentives for business investment because “businesses are not expanding in New Jersey without them.”
Delle Cave, who represents 2,500 electricians and has $1 million budget for political activity, said there are two main issues important to his members besides creating a robust economy. “Don’t do away with prevailing wage laws and don’t make this a right to work state,” he said.
Steinhardt said state officials need to address New Jersey’s problems by “resisting the temptation to do what is easy and what feels good.”
The State GOP chairman offered a few reforms he would like to see including a 2 percent cap on state spending (which now applies to municipal and county governments), public sector pension reform and a reduction in regulation that is killing business investment.
Barranco, who served as master of ceremonies for the event called it highly successful in furthering the dialogue among government, labor and business.
“New Jersey’s present economy is imbalanced with the few good things going to relatively few people, while everyone else – including private sector workers, homeowners, young people and business all getting squeezed to the breaking point. Through more events like this and more honest dialogue we can fix what’s wrong with New Jersey,” said Barranco.