Donate $1 to Gubernatorial Election Fund? Guess who said no.

Sunday, 05 November 2017, 09:55:09 PM. The two candidates running for governor in New Jersey both get matching funds from the state for their campaigns. But neither offered to designate a $1 of their taxes last year to the public fund that helped pay for it.

NEWARK--Both got millions in matching funds from the state for their campaigns this year.

But neither Democrat Phil Murphy nor Republican Kim Guadagno opted to designate a buck on their tax returns to the program that gave them those millions.

Murphy, who released his returns on Friday, left blank the question on his New Jersey income tax form that asks all taxpayers whether they want to designate $1 to the Gubernatorial Election Fund. Filers are told that filling in the "Yes" does not in any way increase one's tax liability or reduce their refund.

His campaign has received $9.3 million in matching funds from the public supported program.

Murphy also left blank the question on his federal form of whether he wanted $3 to go to the Presidential Election Campaign.

Campaign officials called it an oversight.

"Phil and Tammy believe strongly in the importance of the matching funds program. They will make sure to opt in moving forward," said spokesman Dan Bryan.

Guadagno, who has received $3.3 million matching state funds for her campaign, did not contribute to the Gubernatorial Election Fund either. The lieutenant governor's New Jersey tax return shows that both she and her husband checked off "no" on the $1 Gubernatorial Election Fund.

Her campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

The fund, which was started in 1977, was aimed at keeping gubernatorial elections issue-oriented and curbing the influence of special interests. The state's Election Law Enforcement Commission said that through 2008, those voluntary designations have provided $36.8 million for the program.

donate-1-to-gubernatorial-election-fund-guess-who-said-no photo 1Guadagno's New Jersey tax return for 2016, showing that she and her husband declined to designated a $1 to the fund providing matching funds to her campaign. 

Guadagno and her husband did check off the box on their federal return to send $3 to the Presidential Election Campaign fund.

According to Murphy's federal tax returns, the wealthy former Goldman Sachs executive reported he made $4.6 million last year, which was a $2.6 million drop in his adjusted gross income from the previous year. On capital gains alone, he made $3.4 million in 2016 and paid about $1.5 million in federal and state taxes.

Murphy, who owns a home in Red Bank and other property elsewhere, also paid $203,502 in New Jersey property taxes, as well as $13,195 in real estate taxes in Italy and another $3,909 in property taxes in Germany, where he served as U.S. ambassador.

The couple personally gave $175,000 to charity last year and $172,000 more through their foundation.

The tax returns were only finalized in late September after Murphy filed for an extension with the IRS.

In releasing his returns, the Murphy campaign provided the first two pages of his federal return and then gave reporters two hours to go through copies of a 466-page  binder containing all of his federal and state returns and schedules that showed where his investment gains and losses.

"New Jersey voters have a right to transparency and openness, and that's how this campaign has operated since day one," said Murphy in a statement.

donate-1-to-gubernatorial-election-fund-guess-who-said-no photo 2The first page of Murphy's 2016 federal tax return, released on Friday. 

Murphy did not earn anything in salary. Instead, his income came almost entirely from interest payments, dividends, and investments.

An examination of his filing showed few New Jersey investments, but a portfolio representing a broad swatch of the New York Stock Exchange, and beyond. There was JetBlue and Walt Disney, Whirlpool and TripAdvisor. He took a $10,700 short-term loss on Apple, and a $7,986 profit on CVS. He made $930 on LinkedIn, and took a $3,099 loss on Yahoo.

The list of stocks he sold for a short-term gain or loss ran more than 30 pages. There were also foreign investments that ranged from funds in the Cayman Islands and Australia, to investments in Singapore.

He sold shares of Goldman Sachs for millions, but took a loss on some of those transactions. Murphy, 60, is retired from Goldman Sachs, and also took distributions from his Goldman Sachs 401(k) account.

A summary of the tax returns provided by his campaign showed that Murphy and his wife--who file returns jointly-- made a combined $32.8 million from 2010 to 2016. They also paid $11.3 million in taxes in that time, paying a tax rate that has ranged from 31.6 percent to 39.08 percent. Their 2016 tax rate was 31.99 percent.

Guadagno released her tax returns earlier this summer. She and her husband made earned $306,375 in 2016. The lieutenant governor earns a salary from the state of $141,000 a year.

Guadagno, 58, and her husband, retired state Superior Court Judge Michael Guadagno--who file returns jointly--paid $65.660 in taxes and donated $5,365 to charity last year. The documents are available online.

Ted Sherman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TedShermanSL. Facebook: @TedSherman.reporter. Find on Facebook.

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