By James Shepherd
Rider’s first Fall 2016 Rebovich Institute event on Thursday, Sept. 29, featured possible Gubernatorial Candidate Jack Ciattarelli.
Benjamin Dworkin, the director of the Rebovich Institute, started off the ceremonies with a brief prelude, introducing the Rebovich Institute’s goals of “raising the level of political discourse,” and “training the next generation of political leaders.”
Ciattarelli took to the lectern following this brief introduction, which included remarks by Rider senior and public relations major Deborah McFetridge.
Ciattarelli was quick to compliment those who introduced him before launching into a speech of his own, going as far as to say, “Even if I wasn’t running for public office, I’d still come here to speak with Rebovich.”
Beyond this, Ciattarelli didn’t simply stand behind the lectern and speak; instead, he moved slowly around the room and only paused to pose questions to students who sat in the audience.
Ciattarelli spoke of his position in the 16th legislative district of New Jersey and primarily of why he enjoys working within it.
“My district spreads through four counties,” he said. “It has some of the most rural sections out in Delaware Township and some of the most urban areas in South Brunswick, and it has every ethnicity, every religion and everyone along the political spectrum. And I love it. I love it because when I’m in Princeton, I’m a country-club Republican, and when I’m in Hunterdon County, I’m a bleeding-heart Liberal.”
He spoke of his coming candidacy in the Gubernatorial elections. To this end, he spoke mainly of what he would do in the event of his election.
He pointed out his primary five-point plan created to bring New Jersey out of the slump that it has been in for the past few years, according to Ciattarelli.
The first issue he tackled was public school funding. He spoke of the $15 billion collected yearly, $10 billion of which goes to K-12 schooling. Ciattarelli didn’t want to place blame; instead, he offered an example. “When an $850 thousand home in Jersey City pays less in property tax than a $300 thousand home in Manville, New Jersey, we have a problem.”
He said his plans would inspire, if not require, bipartisan support to be successful and influential.
His second point was benefits reform. He was in favor of Chapter 78, a law passed in 2011 that made it so that public employees must contribute to their health insurance. He spoke out against the fact that there has been no reform surrounding the post-retirement healthcare benefit. To deal with the discrepancies within Medicare and other such functions, he proposed the abolishment of the state tax at the state level in order to opt for a state tax at the federal level.
Then he spoke of tax reform, and pushed for the concept of there not being a tax on the gain of a house, no matter if it’s the first house you buy or the second. He was even in support of abolishing the transfer inheritance tax.
“We should not tax the gain on the sale of your home. A home is not a stock or a bond. It is your home,” he said.
Ciattrelli also supports family run “mom-and-pop” businesses, with the long-term goal of inspiring entrepreneurship in New Jersey.
His final points were simple: better communication between state leadership and our representatives in Congress and the Senate, and creating a more efficient government. Indeed, Ciattarelli cited the twenty-year-old equipment at most, if not all, motor vehicle agencies throughout the state. But beyond that, he simply stated, “We need to reinvent our government.”
He left the podium with a few inspirational words: “I’m about people, not power,” he said. “None of us are as smart as all of us.”