ELECTION ’18: Potential Menendez challenger Pezzullo praises MacArthur’s tax cut leadership

Tom MacArthur (R, NJ-03)

Tom MacArthur (R, NJ-03) stood alone in support of the national GOP’s tax cut package, Save Jerseyans, but if one potential challenger to Bob Menendez gets his way? He won’t be alone for long.

On Wednesday, U.S. Senate candidate Rich Pezzullo of Monmouth County praised the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and complimented MacArthur’s role in the process..

“Tom MacArthur demonstrated courage under fire, and families across the country will benefit,” said Pezzullo.

The candidate also took full aim at New Jersey’s Governor-elect who has been vocal in his opposition to the Republican tax cut bill steaming towards President Trump’s desk.

“With the SALT deduction reduced, Phil Murphy’s outrageous plans for our state are going to hurt our taxpayers even more,” Pezzullo added, echoing the recent sentiments of MacArthur and state Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26). “His agenda threatens to bankrupt New Jersey.”

While a majority of New Jerseyans are expected to garner at least some benefit from the tax code overhaul that slashed corporate and individual rates while doubling the standard deduction among other improvements, all of MacArthur’s N.J. GOP House colleagues dissented from his majority take on the legislation.

“Foremost among these changes that I opposed was the partial elimination of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction for income, sales, and property taxes, capping this deduction from federal taxes at $10,000. New Jersey has one of the highest rates of tax filers using the SALT deduction, with over four in ten taxpayers (42%) using it; the average SALT deduction in my district is $18,355. Many New Jersey taxpayers, including homeowners who pay some of the highest property tax rates of any state, could see their taxes go up,” argued Congressman Chris Smith (R, NJ-04) in the wake of the U.S. House’s Tuesday night vote.

The articulate, conservative and high-energy Pezzullo, a businessman and U.S. Army veteran, ran an ultimately unsuccessful but notably spirited primary campaign in 2014; Republican Jeff Bell won the primary that year, going on to lose to Cory Booker by a larger margin. A well-funded establishment candidate has yet to emerge for the 2018 cycle despite incumbent Bob Menendez’s weak poll numbers following his recent federal corruption prosecution that ended in a mistrial.