Former Long Hill Mayor Gina Genovese, a veteran property-tax reform advocate, tennis pro and longtime business owner today announced that she is running for governor.
“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 Genovese, who was New Jersey’s first openly gay mayor.
The owner of Gina’s Tennis World in Berkeley Heights and married partner of Wendy McCahill, Genovese served as mayor of Long Hill Township in Morris County, ran for the state Senate against Republican incumbent Tom Kean, Jr. in 2007, and is the founding executive director of Courage to Connect NJ. The organization is New Jersey’s only non-profit (501c3) dedicated, in Genovese’s words, “to accomplish what she hopes to do as an independent gubernatorial candidate – make government run more efficiently in order to reduce property taxes. The candidate said 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, 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. In the formal release announcing her gubernatorial candidacy, she noted that 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.
Genovese said she 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,” she said. “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?” she wanted to know. “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.”