Western New Jersey

NJ gubernatorial candidates debate property taxes, labor disputes

NEWARK, N.J. - There was plenty of sparring at the first New Jersey gubernatorial debate, especially over property taxes.

"My platform quite simply is to lower taxes on the people that need the taxes lowered the most," says Kim Guadagno, the Republican running for governor and currently serving as the state Lt. Governor.

"They've chosen to give the wealthiest among us a tax break. All of that has come at an expense to the middle class," said Phil Murphy, the Democrat in the race.

According to a poll from Monmouth University, Murphy has a 14-point lead over Guadagno, however, there’s a catch.

"The key thing here is we are seeing an unusually high number of voters who have yet to tune in to this race," explained Patrick Murray, the Director of Monmouth University's Polling Institute.

Murray says according to polling, nearly half of voters don't have an opinion about either candidate because there's little to no name recognition for either candidate.

"Voters only have so much room in their brains for political information. And all of that right now is being taken up by President Trump," said Murray.

Perhaps equally as difficult for Republicans to overcome in this race is that Kim Guadagno is tied to Governor Chris Christie, the man she works for, and his approval ratings are low in New Jersey right now.

However, "She (Guadagno) is the only candidate that has a property tax plan for example which is the number one issue here in the state of New Jersey," said Murray.

On another topic, Murphy did not directly say whether he would support renewing an expiring two percent cap on what some police and fire officials can get in labor disputes.

Guadagno favors the extension citing a Christie administration report that says the cap saved taxpayers nearly $3 billion.

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