Accounting professionals in New Jersey believe reducing property taxes, and controlling government overspending and waste, should be Phil Murphy's top priorities in his second term as governor.

And they suggest that major changes, such as eliminating toll plazas, can help improve the economic landscape in New Jersey.

In a survey from the New Jersey Society of CPAs of more than 900 certified public accountants, respondents added that there should be a sharp focus on improving New Jersey's infrastructure, reforming the public worker pension system, and reducing regulations for businesses.

Through the multi-phase survey, which asked CPAs to rank their highest priorities for improving the economic condition of the Garden State, respondents also offered recommendations on how to accomplish these priorities.

Because New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the nation, residents are leaving to live in more tax-friendly states, many respondents said. Lower taxes would not only attract more businesses, they said, but encourage individuals to establish roots here by being able to purchase a home.

"We're losing seniors and, particularly, young professionals," said Ralph Albert Thomas, CEO and executive director of NJCPA.

Survey respondents called for the consolidation of services among towns, and said New Jersey should decouple school taxes from property taxes.

Noting a 30% increase in the state's budget from four years ago, NJCPA members said that having state agencies audited for overspending and waste would encourage a reduction in spending and more accountability.

Among recommendations related to improving New Jersey's infrastructure, respondents said New Jersey should get rid of its toll plazas and convert to a completely electronic tolling system, like New York.

"Our survey results show some specific, actionable plans to set the state of New Jersey on the right economic path," Thomas said.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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