Former Mayor Gina Genovese, an experienced property-tax reform advocate, lifelong New Jerseyan, and longtime business owner announced on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, that she is running for governor of New Jersey.
“I am running for governor to speak to and represent the over 50 percent of residents struggling to pay their property taxes. I am running for governor this year to force this conversation with the other candidates. We need clear, actionable solutions for our state. We cannot afford another four years of inaction,” said Ms. Genovese, who has an in-depth knowledge of the property tax issue from her many years working to reduce the property tax burden on New Jersey's residents.
The owner of Gina's Tennis World in Berkeley Heights, Ms. Genovese served as mayor of Long Hill Township in Morris County, ran for the NJ State Senate, and is the founding executive director of Courage to Connect NJ, the state’s only non-profit (501c3) dedicated to accomplish what she hopes to do as an independent gubernatorial candidate – make government run more efficiently in order to reduce property taxes. That reform can come from the regionalization of services, consolidation and reduction of the number of administrations in our schools, towns and county governments.
In her work with Courage to Connect NJ, Ms. Genovese supported the Princetons’ municipal consolidation, helped the South Hunterdon School District combine four school districts into a single regional district and created legislation to facilitate the municipal consolidation process. Her organization also has initiated three taxpayer driven municipal consolidation study commissions, and one ongoing study for town and schools in Mount Arlington and Roxbury. She has worked with Republicans, Democrats, mayors, school board members, fire commissioners and taxpayers. In addition, she has led dozens of statewide seminars and presentations on the topic of property tax reduction.
Ms. Genovese also realizes that there is not a single solution to the state's property tax crisis. "It will take a comprehensive, multifaceted approach to reduce our taxes and put our state back on a path to fiscal health. New Jersey needs a candidate who is not afraid to tackle the issue of property tax reduction and is not handcuffed by partisan political bosses. I am that candidate."
With our nearly $30 billion statewide property tax bill (10 percent of what the entire nation pays in property taxes), the economic well being in the state is at risk. If all the other 49 states can deliver government cheaper, why can't New Jersey? People are working 8-12 weeks to pay their property taxes. Should we ask taxpayers to work another week in a few years to cover their property taxes? Is our only option to move out of the state? This depletes our skilled work force, reduces the incentive for businesses to stay and new businesses to arrive, chills retail demand, and ultimately impacts the excellence of our higher education and health care institutions.”
Ms. Genovese never has shied away from challenging the status quo. As the first Democratic mayor of Long Hill Township and the first openly gay mayor in New Jersey, she has plenty of experience with political challenges. With her longtime spouse Wendy McCahill supporting the Genovese foray into statewide politics, Ms. Genovese said “We need a governor in the State House willing to reduce property taxes. We can no longer wait to address this issue head on. I hear the people's stories and I hear their struggles. I am ready to make NJ work for all of us."