Energy Conference: Decarbonization - A Business Perspective REGISTER

Conventional wisdom says if you’re running for public office, you should not get too specific during the campaign. Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli, however, believes people are ready to elect someone who is willing to put his policies out on the table for everyone to see, and he was not shy about sharing the specifics of his platform at NJBIA’s Meet the Candidates event this morning.

“I think the people are looking for something different. I’m an MBA-CPA. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a business owner,” Ciattarelli said.  “I think of myself as a roll-up-your-sleeves, hands-on CEO.”

Speaking before a room full of business leaders at NJBIA’s headquarters, Ciattarelli laid out a plan to tackle the issues that “punish New Jerseyans day in and day out.” It covered school funding, public employee benefits, streamlining government, and, of course, New Jersey’s tax code.

“On page after page after page of our tax code in this state is a disincentive,” Ciattarelli said.

For one, he said there should be no tax on the gains from the sale of a family-owned business (one owned by five or fewer people).  “Somebody starts a salon or a pizzeria for 50 or 60 grand, busts their butt for 18 or 20 years, and turns around and sells it for $350,000,” Ciattarelli said. “That’s their 401K.”

It’s not just for the sake of the business owners, but for the sake of the state’s economy, Ciattarelli said, arguing that small businesses drive growth and job creation. Eliminate the tax on family-owned businesses and “entrepreneurship will take off,” he said.

He pledged to phase out the corporate business tax 10 percent per year over 10 years, something Georgia and North Carolina have done this with great success.

On other specifics, Ciattarelli said he would make sure the state-level estate tax stays abolished (it’s being phased out and is scheduled to be eliminated next year), and work to get rid of the transfer inheritance tax, which he says impacts more people than the estate tax.

Taxes on capital gains of personal property are also on the list.  He wants the state to stop taxing gains on the sale of a home in New Jersey. “It’s not a stock or a bond,” he said. And he pledged to eliminate increases in property tax assessments for renovation work on a home that doesn’t increase its square footage.  And he called for a tax deduction for student loan interest so millennials will have an incentive to return to New Jersey.

Ciattarelli earned a B.S. in Accounting and a MBA in Finance from Seton Hall University and has created two successful businesses: American Medical Publishing and Galen Publishing. He has represented the 16th Legislative District in the Assembly since 2012.