- Associated Press - Saturday, March 4, 2017

New Jersey’s next governor will face some budget holes when he or she takes over from Republican Gov. Chris Christie next year.

The pension would balloon by about $1.5 billion under the schedule Christie is currently using; the school-funding formula has been underfunded by about $1 billion over Christie’s seven years and there’s an estimated $1.1 billion budget hole from the estate and sales tax cuts Christie enacted.

The Associated Press reached out to Democratic and Republican campaigns and asked how candidates would specifically deal with those items. Here are some highlights from the responses.

DEMOCRATS

Former Clinton administration treasury official Jim Johnson: Spokeswoman Aleigha Cavalier said Johnson would raise at least part of the estate tax. “Johnson recognizes that we’re going to have to make many tough decisions to put the state back on better financial footing, including both cutting spending and increasing revenue,” she said.

State Sen. Ray Lesniak: Lesniak responded by referring to his campaign website. “Cutting waste in government, public employees, reducing property taxes,” he said.

Former Obama administration ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy: Spokesman Derek Roseman said Murphy favors raising taxes on incomes over $1 million, and closing tax loopholes. Roseman also said Murphy supports divesting the state pension funds of their hedge fund holdings and reinvesting the money.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski: Spokesman Greg Minchak said Wisniewski would seek to end the estate tax cuts, freeze corporate tax incentives, raise taxes on income over $1 million and end Christie’s four-year $300 million statehouse renovation. Minchak added that Wisniewski would also end hedge fund holdings by the pension, with the aim of saving money from fees.

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REPUBLICANS

Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli: Ciattarelli calls for phasing out the corporate business tax but “restructuring” rates on incomes over $750,000, which he argues would earn bipartisan support from the Democrat-led Legislature. He also calls on closing “corporate loopholes,” which he estimates would boost revenues by up to $500 million. He says he would renegotiate a tax agreement with New York that would pay for a new train tunnel and bus terminal, cut pensioners’ health benefits and abolish the transfer inheritance tax.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno: She says she would scrap Christie’s $300 million statehouse renovation plan. Spokesman Ricky Diaz said she favors cutting public worker health benefits, which would save the state money. She’s ruling out raising any taxes, he said.

Nutley Commissioner Steven Rogers: He says he will cut the income tax, spending and regulations. He argues that will halt residents leaving New Jersey and increase state revenue.


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