TRENTON, N.J. - The three gubernatorial candidates in New Jersey addressed budget deficits, tax hikes, and ways to replenish the state’s Transportation Trust Fund, which will run out of funding in fiscal 2012, during their first debate Thursday evening in Trenton.

New Jersey’s fiscal challenges and the state’s high tax rates dominated the 90-minute discussion. Overall, Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine pointed to his record of passing budgets and providing needed services even as the state’s revenues have dropped off while Republican candidate Chris Christie stressed that he would cut expenditures to allow for reductions in personal income and corporate income tax rates. Independent candidate Chris Daggett’s fiscal strategy includes expanding New Jersey’s sales tax in order to cut property and business taxes by 25%.

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