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An Open Letter to New Jersey Legislators: Support Common Sense Tax Reductions!
July 12, 2012
By Lee Schalk
On behalf of more than 10,000 New Jersey members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I urge you to support the compromise proposed by Governor Chris Christie that would grant a 10 percent property tax credit to families earning up to $400,000, expand the earned income tax credit for the working poor, and avoid the reinstatement of the so-called “millionaire’s tax.”
New Jersey has been taxing and spending too much for too long. According to our colleagues at the Common Sense Institute of New Jersey, the state has among “the highest top marginal income tax rates in the nation, the highest property taxes, and high corporate business taxes.” Reducing the state’s tax burden while trimming wasteful spending would go a long way toward improving the Garden State’s harsh fiscal environment.
Unfortunately, taxation and spending in New Jersey are still unsustainably high. As data from the Tax Foundation amply demonstrates, the state collects more taxes per capita than all but ten of its counterparts. Meanwhile, government spending skyrocketed by 62 percent from 2000-2010. Even after adjusting for inflation, that dramatic spending growth outpaced all but two other states in the nation. These numbers make clear that Trenton’s priority should be lightening the tax and spending load on residents so as to make the state more competitive nationally.
As the New Jersey Taxpayers Alliance (NJTA) has stated in the past, “Addressing property taxes is only the beginning of the effort to reform New Jersey’s oppressive fiscal climate.” Take income tax rates, for example. The top tax bracket in New Jersey stands at 8.97 percent. If the millionaire’s tax were to be re-instated, the top marginal rate would jump to 10.75 percent. This could be catastrophic for businesses and families across the state. The last thing the Garden State needs right now is an exodus of financial and human capital.
Fortunately, your state’s leadership has taken note of the problem and has made some small strides toward fiscal sanity in recent years. It is once again time for New Jersey lawmakers to reach across the aisle for the sake of sensible policy, and pass the 10 percent property tax credit. While full-scale tax reform is preferable to implementing such a credit scheme, this policy will provide a measure of tax relief for millions of New Jerseyans and should draw your support.
We hope that you will maintain your strong bipartisan efforts to keep the New Jersey comeback alive. Accordingly, the Legislature should embrace the Governor’s compromise to modestly reduce taxes and improve the outlook for taxpayers in the state.
Sincerely,Lee SchalkState Government Affairs Manager
cc: Governor Chris Christie