(WEST ORANGE, OCTOBER 28) - Schundler for Governor campaign manager Bill Pascoe issued the following statement following the fifth and final debate this morning between New Jersey gubernatorial candidates Jim McGreevey and Bret Schundler:
“This morning, during a special one-hour edition of Gabe Pressman’s ‘News Forum,’ New Jersey voters had the opportunity to see Bret Schundler and Jim McGreevey debate one another about the important issues in this election - terrorism, taxes, and economic security. In each of these areas, Bret Schundler convincingly proved that he is the only candidate with the leadership skills necessary to lead New Jersey in these uncertain times.
“On the issue of terrorism, there was no debate at all because Jim McGreevey essentially plagiarized Bret Schundler’s five point plan to enhance New Jersey’s ability to defend itself against terrorism. Since imitation is the highest form of flattery, I guess Bret should be honored.
“However, when the debate turned to taxes, the contrast between the two candidates could not have been clearer. Once again, Jim McGreevey refused to pledge to the voters of New Jersey that he would not raise taxes, even though raising taxes in these uncertain times would force New Jersey’s already weak economy into a deep recession. Instead, Jim McGreevey repeatedly vowed he would ‘not cut taxes,’ and that he would only raise taxes ‘in the case of an emergency.’
“New Jersey voters have heard that answer before. When Jim McGreevey’s political mentor - Gov. Jim Florio - ran for office, he too said that he would not raise taxes unless he was confronted with an emergency. And then within days of taking office, Gov. Florio declared there was an emergency and passed the largest tax increase in New Jersey history -- with the help of a junior legislator by the name of Jim McGreevey.
“When asked why he voted for Gov. Jim Florio’s 2.8 billion dollar tax increase -- which included higher income taxes, sales taxes, and new taxes on gasoline, phone calls, soap, and toilet paper -- Jim McGreevey’s spokesman said, ‘New Jersey was in a budget crisis.’ Hmmm…. Emergency = higher taxes, crisis = higher taxes, sounds like a familiar pattern: MCGREEVEY = HIGHER TAXES!
“Bret Schundler knows that if we want New Jersey to get out of its current economic slide, we have to cut taxes and reduce government spending. That’s why Bret has signed a pledge not to increase taxes and has proposed a series of tax breaks to help businesses create jobs.
“Over the next ten days, New Jersey voters will choose between these two competing visions. We are confident that a majority of New Jersey voters will reject a repeat of the Florio-McGreevey policies of the past and elect Bret Schundler their next Governor.”