Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

19th District Assembly {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The NJ General Election will take place on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Voters will head to the polls to select a Governor, State Senator, and State Assembly Members, as well as a number of county and local elected officials.
  • Candidate picture

    Craig J. Coughlin (Dem) Attorney

  • William Cruz (QL)

  • Yvonne Lopez (Dem) Executive Director- PRAHD

  • Deepak Malhotra (Rep)

  • Amarjit K. Riar (Rep)

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

New Jersey has some of the highest property taxes in the nation. What, if anything, do you propose to lower property taxes?

New Jersey's state pension system has recently been named the worst-funded state retirement plan in the country and is arguably one of our largest financial problems. How do you propose to address our state's pension issues?

How can New Jersey meet our energy needs while protecting our environment? For example, would you support energy conservation, expansion of renewable energy projects, hydraulic fracturing, and pipelines, etc?

What would you do to promote job growth in our state?

Please indicate three additional state priority issues for you (not already listed in this questionnaire) and explain how you would address them.

Twitter @District19Team
Qualifications/Experience I am the current 19th District Assemblyman, having served four consecutive terms. I previously served as a municipal court judge, city councilman and board of education member.
The State and local units must both control spending and increase State support. On the spending side, I supported and will continue to support the 2.0% property tax cap. Next session, I plan to join Senate President Sweeney in pushing a legislative package that encourages and incentivizes local units to share services and consolidate. The State must take a leadership role and provide local units with the tools and support that can make local units more efficient and save taxpayers in the long-term. With school taxes making up a majority of residents’ property tax bill, the State can and must do more to provide a high quality education at a cost taxpayers can afford. Additional State Aid to deserving school districts is a must.
The health of our State’s pension system is truly troubling. This July, the State appropriated $2.5 billion, the largest payment ever, towards the State’s pension funds and it still only represents half of the actuary-recommended figure. There’s hope. The State Legislature and Governor have honored its pledge to ramp up funding so I fully expect the Legislature and Governor to continue to do so for the SFY2019 budget next spring. With additional tax revenue from annual growth, a “Millionaire’s Tax” and reinstated 7% Sales Tax, the State will have additional revenue to increase its pension payment. Under a new Governor, the State needs to cut its ties with Wall Street hedge fund managers who are not only charging high fees but also under-delivering on investment returns.
New Jersey can meet its energy needs by moving forward with thoughtful and safe pipeline expansion or modernization projects that are working their way through the approval process. While I support the transportation and use of fossil fuels in New Jersey, I oppose off-shore drilling and hydraulic fracturing as part of our State’s energy portfolio. New Jersey needs to exercise its full array of renewable energy sources, particularly wind and tidal energy—two natural and currently untapped resources. The next Governor needs to lead on renewable energy, particularly wind energy that can boost economic fortunes in the southern half of New Jersey. Finally, New Jersey could do a better job of utilizing the Clean Energy Fund.
Since taking office in 2010, I have supported legislation that fosters an environment for economic and job growth amidst the worst recession since the Great Depression. I have and continue to support targeted tax credits for select industries and urban areas. I have voted to extend the Permit Extension Act, Building Our Future Bond Act and most recently the reauthorization of the Transportation Trust Fund to spur economic activity. These investments have created thousands of jobs. I have sponsored legislation to cut red tape for numerous industries and continue to look for new, responsible ways to do so. I have supported various tax reforms. Today, New Jersey offers a better business tax climate as well as a robust portfolio of employment incentives. We need to continue this progress.
It has been my priority for three and half years to enact my “Out-of-network Consumer Protection, Transparency, Cost Containment and Accountability Act” (A-1952/S-1285) which will slow out of network utilization, force providers and carriers in-network and lower costs for everybody. The State will need to revisit the School Funding Reform Act next term to determine whether this year’s infusion of cash is sustainable and determine how to more equitably fund all school districts in need of additional funding. Finally, the Legislature and the Governor need to address the State’s structural budget issues, including boosting funding to the seven public pension systems, K-12 education, higher education, Medicaid as well as meeting the other needs of our constituents.
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I believe one of the most direct ways to offset the high cost of property taxes is increasing school and municipal aid. If I am elected, I will work with my colleagues to find solutions that will help mitigate the cost of rising property taxing, including evaluating the current school funding formula. I also believe the consolidation of services is a starting point to reduce certain cost in municipal budgets.
If elected, I will thoroughly review all proposals to address the pension crisis. I agree with my colleague’s action to support quarterly payments toward the pension throughout the fiscal year. Quarterly payments will end years of payment inconsistency and put New Jersey on the right track toward financial stability within the pension system.
The investment into renewable energy projects will do more to protect the environment from harmful emissions and decrease greenhouse gas pollution. Pipelines should be scrutinized on a project by project basis. The number one concern for me is resident safety and that includes a healthy environment to raise a family. I support the expansion and improvement of our energy infrastructure; however, it cannot be at the peril of the residents I hope to be elected to serve.
If elected, I would like to find ways to invest in our small businesses communities to support our mom and pop shops. I grew up with humble beginnings and I understand that local economies are the true backbone of economic stability and growth here in New Jersey. I would also like to work closely with my running mates on expanding the ease of access to health care and reducing health care cost. Limiting the financial impact of health care cost that affect the employers bottom line will allow for more budgetary room to bring on additional workers and help to advance those currently employed. Job growth is a collective effort and I am willing to do my share to help put New Jersey back on the right path.
I would like to develop policy to help middle class citizens earn sustainable wages in an environment with equitable and fair working conditions. As the Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Association of Human Development (PRAHD), my main focus is providing an avenue of opportunities for those that are disenfranchised.

If elected, I would like to ease the pathway toward finding affordable coverage. No one can predict what is going to happen in Washington D.C.; however, I would like to develop safeguards here in New Jersey to ensure that our most vulnerable do not lose their ability to find and maintain an affordable health care plan.

Finally, equal pay for equal work. I am dedicated to supporting policies that will further bring equality to all aspects of the workforce.
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