Pub. 20 2021-2022 Issue 3


The 2021 New Jersey Governor’s Race: Jack Ciattarelli

When Henry Ford perfected the assembly line and the Model T, American life and transportation changed forever. The automobile suddenly became the backbone of the American economy and central to our way of life. Around that same time, my family was immigrating to the United States in search of their own American Dream.

New Jersey is home to nearly one million small businesses across a broad spectrum of industries. The franchised auto retail industry represents a unique and diverse sector employing nearly 36,000 men and women across the state in locally-owned and operated small businesses. These businesses, in turn, support an additional 33,500 jobs and more than $34.6 billion in economic activity for their communities.

Unfortunately, over the last four years here in New Jersey, the effects of Governor Murphy’s failed policies have been felt by everyday consumers, the auto industry, and the thousands of New Jersey businesses that could not exist without men and women like you.

This is why I am running to be your next governor. Under Governor Murphy, our way of life has become broken. Wherever you look, New Jersey ranks near the bottom or last for businesses. Today, New Jersey’s 7.3% unemployment rate is one of the highest in the nation. We hold the highest business tax rate, and our economy has ranked among the slowest growing economies in the United States. As a result of bad policies coming out of Trenton, inflation is on the rise, food is more expensive, gas is nearing 10-year highs, and it’s simply more challenging to run your business than ever before.

New car dealerships in New Jersey generated $1.44 billion in sales taxes last year and more than $1.73 billion in combined state and local taxes. Yet, just before jetting off for a 10-day Italian vacation, Governor Murphy announced a decision to increase the cost of unemployment benefits by nearly 20% on already overburdened New Jersey businesses.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have urged Governor Murphy to follow the precedent set by other states to use part of the $6.2 billion New Jersey received in federal aid from the American Rescue Plan to avert this business tax hike.

Yet their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. I earned my MBA/CPA and ran two small businesses right here in New Jersey. I know taxes affect business decisions, including job creation, location and competitiveness, and these costs are passed to consumers AND employees through lower wages or fewer jobs.

So, it makes sense when you read story after story about businesses leaving New Jersey. The latest victims of Governor Murphy’s job-killing policies are the 600 workers from Nabisco, following the announcement the Fair Lawn plant would be shutting down. I would argue that one of the reasons we’ve seen so many businesses leaving New Jersey is the string of new taxes on businesses. Since Phil Murphy became governor, he has enacted billions in new tax increases, including a rain tax.

Though no one should be surprised, Governor Murphy’s mantra has been if taxes are an issue, then New Jersey isn’t for you. This is a worrisome indication that there are yet more taxes to come.

Something that troubles many New Jerseyans is the lack of leadership with the Motor Vehicle Commission, a necessary service that isn’t working efficiently for the people of our state. What most do not see is the negative impact it has on your industry. Not only is the MVC obviously responsible for providing services that dealers need, but it also regulates them. The MVC is in dire need of great reform, and I will bring that as your next Governor.

Governor Murphy’s poor governance and mishandling of COVID-19 have collided calamitously, resulting in one out of every three of New Jersey’s one million small businesses closing their doors forever. He has squandered every advantage New Jersey provides, including a highly educated workforce and competitive location. Governor Murphy’s consistent blend of poor policy choices, high taxes and crippling red tape has been pushing businesses out of New Jersey throughout his first, and hopefully only, term.

Come November 2, you and other registered voters in New Jersey have an opportunity to make real change. As your next Governor, the lessons I learned on Main Street will be brought to State Street. Trenton needs an executive who understands what it means to sign the front of a paycheck. With Jack Ciattarelli as your next governor, we will roll back needless red tape, promote entrepreneurship, and bring down the overall cost of living and running a business here in New Jersey.

New Jersey doesn’t need to continue being the most expensive state in the nation for living and running a business. New Jersey is broken, but together we can fix it. Every one of us has our New Jersey story, and I will work every day to ensure your children and your grandchildren have the opportunity to write their own.