Kim Guadagno, the Republican nominee for governor, said Monday that part of President Trump’s tax plan would be a “disaster” for New Jersey, criticizing her own party’s biggest legislative proposal because it would eliminate a property tax deduction that benefits Garden State residents.
Guadagno said she had “serious concerns” about the GOP tax overhaul during an unrelated — but still property tax-themed — news conference in Boonton. She said she started lobbying New Jersey’s congressional delegation to oppose the elimination of the property tax deduction, a popular provision in the federal tax code that allows taxpayers to write off state and local taxes. New Jersey has the highest property tax bills in the nation.
“It would be a disaster for our economy in New Jersey and I believe everyone in our congressional delegation understands that,” Guadagno said.
Guadagno has at times been reluctant to criticize Trump, even though polls show he is deeply unpopular in New Jersey. She trails Phil Murphy, the Democratic nominee for governor, by double-digit margins and likely can’t afford to alienate GOP voters who are Trump supporters.
In addition to eliminating several deductions, Trump’s tax proposal would reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three and eliminate the estate and alternative minimum taxes. Guadagno, who has made lowering property taxes the core of her campaign, said she was not sure if the president’s proposed tax cuts would bring a net benefit to New Jersey residents.
“We’re still trying to parse out what that means for New Jersey with the property tax deduction in it and without the property tax deduction in it,” she said.
Murphy has made opposing Trump a major part of his campaign and blasted the president’s tax plan Friday during an unrelated news conference in Jersey City. He said the plan was thin on details and would benefit the wealthy while hardly helping the middle class and poorer residents.
“It looks like if you’re really wealthy you’re going to do really well,” Murphy said. “If you’re in the middle class it’s a mixed bag at best and if you’re striving to get into the middle class there’s nothing for you.”
He also criticized the proposed elimination of the property tax deduction and implied the move was political punishment for blue states such as California, New Jersey and New York. He said it “is not an accident” that those states would be most adversely affected by the president’s plan.
Other elected officials and advocacy groups have come out against eliminating the state and local tax deduction. State Sen. Kip Bateman (R-Somerset) said Wednesday that scrapping the deductions could lead to higher federal tax bills for New Jersey residents.
“I’m gravely concerned that tax reform efforts that are intended to ease the federal tax burden will instead have the opposite effect for many New Jerseyans,” Bateman said in a statement.
The New Jersey State League of Municipalities opposes eliminating the write-offs because doing so would result in a “double taxation” and would increase constraints on local budgets due to a lack of revenue, the group wrote on its website.
“The principle that no government should tax another strikes at the heart of federalism, and any reversal would be an overreach by the federal government,” the statement said.