Updated 28 Oct 2016
Jack Ciattarelli, NJ Assemblyman (R-16 Somerset) and Assistant Republican Whip says he will announce next month his candidacy for governor of New Jersey in 2017.
Now that the gas tax increase is a certainty, Ciattarelli is in favor of a constitutional amendment to dedicate the funds to the Transportation Trust Fund. Â That will lead to more state borrowing.Â Details here. Â Ciatterelli is in favor of borrow and spend.
Teacher Pension System
Ciattarelli describes a pension obligation of $5 billion per year under the current plan.Â Ciattarelli recommends that 25% of the pension load for current teachers be transferred to the towns.Â The townships would require to assume 100% of cost of pensions for teachers hired from now on. Â In the alternative, he recommends that new teachers get a defined contribution plan, rather than a defined benefit plan.Â The logic is that towns which pay teachers more should bear the cost of their pensions.Â He also recommends that retirees with higher pensions have reduced medical benefits.Â They should bear part of their medical costs.
Ciattarelli describes an expectation that many teachers will have more years of retirement than years of service.
Ciattarelli is opposed to the estate tax.
Ciattarelli points out that it is easy to avoid the estate tax by moving for six months and one day to Florida.Â Forcing rich retirees to move out of state makes no sense, he says.
People leaving New Jersey
Ciattarelli says 580 school districts is too many.Â Of those school districts, some are almost fully funded by local real estate taxes.Â Others are mostly funded by federal and state aid.Â The Abbot decision, he says, leads to perverse incentives that cost the state dearly.
Ciattarelli is in favor of an increase of the minimum wage.Â He is opposed to an inflation-adjusted minimum wage.Â He is reticent to support mandatory sick and family leave.
Ciattarelli says that high taxes are the reason businesses are leaving and failing to develop in NJ.Â Taxes need to be reduced, he says, especially the corporate income tax.Â NJ competes with other states and countries for corporate headquarters.
Ciattarelli understands that schooling is the primary driver of real estate taxes.Â The majority of school boards are funded by local property tax.Â Ten percent are funded by state and federal sources as a result of the Abbot decision (now SDA).
North Jersey Casinos
Ciattarelli believes that North Jersey casinos are inevitable.Â He believes that the North Jersey casinos reward current unsuccessful Atlantic City operators.Â He believes that 100% of casino taxes should be delivered to the host community.Â In Jersey City, casino taxes would supplant state aid to schools in Jersey City.
Is Ciattarelli serious?
Ciattarelli offers up a relatively conventional Republican plan which he says would lift all boats. His understanding of financial matters is strong and clearly articulated. Â His challenge is name recognition.Â Guadagnoâ€™s name is on every NJ government document and signs all over the state.Â Whether Ciattarelli can distinguish himself from her remains to be seen.