John Murphy Responds To The Record
1) Why are you the best candidate?
I am the only candidate with a detailed reform plan so that the politicians in Trenton are finally accountable to taxpayers. My reform plan is the most aggressive and comprehensive among all the candidates. It includes an elected state auditor general and elected state attorney general, two important, independent officials whose No. 1 responsibility would be to root out fraud, waste and abuse.
2) What do you think is the state's most pressing problem and what would you do to address it?
Making politicians accountable for the tax dollars they spend is New Jersey's No. 1 problem. Right now, there is no real accountability in state government. This leads to the financial mess we're in today. New Jersey during the 1990s was the economic engine of the Northeast, creating more new jobs than either New York or Pennsylvania. Our economic growth was driven by reducing taxes and onerous regulations on business.
3) What would your first executive order be?
I will call for an elected auditor general, but I realize that this change requires an amendment to the state Constitution and an election thereafter. Over the years state government has thrown good money after bad with no accountability. The auditor general will make an independent review of the current budget and will identify funding for programs that can be eliminated or reduced.
4) What would you do to combat high property taxes?
In my first year as governor, I would fight to increase property tax rebates by 50 percent because property taxes are spiraling out of control and taxpayer relief is needed now.
Long-term, systemic financial discipline has been sorely missing in New Jersey state government. I will fight to put into place the necessary controls and reforms to ensure 100 percent accountability for our taxpayer dollars.
5) How would you balance the budget? Which, if any, taxes would you raise? Which, if any, spending would you cut?
Balancing the state budget will require more than the desire to cut spending because the Democrats during the past three years have hidden pork-barrel programs and wasteful spending throughout the budget.
The Democrats have raised more than 50 taxes and fees in three years, making New Jersey one of the least business-friendly states in America. That's no way to encourage jobs growth and business development.
6) How would you replenish the Transportation Trust Fund?
The Transportation Trust Fund was raided beginning in 1990, a bad precedent that has not been corrected in the 15 years since. Every cent collected from the gasoline tax should be dedicated to the Transportation Trust Fund and not diverted to the general fund. In addition, 100 percent of federal Highway Trust Fund dollars to New Jersey must be dedicated to this fund and not diverted to other purposes.
7) What would you do to improve state government's image in terms of ethics and campaign financing?
Improving the state's image means enacting systemic, lasting reforms that establish true accountability for our tax dollars. We must make campaign finance more transparent to voters and lower the reporting threshold from $300 to $100. We must end the practice of "wheeling" campaign donations and we must lower the maximum allowable amounts of contributions to state and county political party committees and legislative leadership committees.
8) What would you do to end the bitter partisan fighting in New Jersey and the nation?
Partisan bickering has been part of American politics since George Washington's first inaugural. Healthy debate on the issues, while heated at times, is good tonic for this country and this state. But in recent years we have seen vicious attacks against our president. Through comprehensive, systemic reform the politicians will be more accountable to the public. This will force politicians to worry more about governing than campaigning.