New Jersey Democrats Pass Long List Of Tax Increases
Governor Jon Corzine signed an executive order to begin an orderly reopening of New Jersey State Government at about 6 a.m. Saturday. Corzine took this action before the state’s Assembly voted to approve a budget and obviously before the Governor could read or sign the revised budget plan into law.
Shutting down and opening state government are clearly subject to the whims of Governor Corzine. When Corzine was trying to ram massive spending and tax hikes through the legislature, he said the law required the governor to suspend government operations until a budget had been passed in both houses of the legislature and the governor had signed it into law. Now that Corzine has his billions in new taxes, state law is no longer a factor.
In keeping with Jon Corzine’s campaign promise to make New Jersey more affordable, here’s a list of the new state tax increases for 2006. Credit should also be given to Democrats in the state Senate and Assembly.
-- Increase the sales tax from 6 to 7 percent, effective July 15, to generate an estimated $1.2 billion, and expand it to an array of new services beginning Oct. 1 to generate $342 million, including items such as carpet and upholstery cleaning services; downloaded movies, music, software and videos; flooring and carpeting installation; golf, gym and health club memberships; landscaping services; limousine services; massage, tanning and tattoo services; non-subscription magazines; parking lots and garages, private investigation services; security services; self-storage units; and shipping and handling charged separately. Assembly, 41 to 38. Senate, 22 to 18.
-- Impose a 4 percent surcharge on what businesses owe under the corporation business tax. Corzine had proposed a 2.5 percent surcharge, but it was raised late in the process to help generate $100 million for the state. Assembly, 44 to 32, with three voting to abstain. Senate, 21 to 19.
-- Delay the phase-out of an energy surcharge to generate $53.5 million for the state this year. The fee was created in 1997, and its phase-out has been delayed three times now. Assembly, 49 to 29. Senate, 23 to 17.
-- Increases annual assessment on HMO premiums from 1 to 2 percent, generating $50 million in additional revenue for the state. Assembly, 48 to 31. Senate, 22 to 17.
-- Transfers $50 million from the state's disability benefits fund to the general fund, without triggering an increase in employer taxes. Assembly, 46 to 31. Senate, 21 to 19.
-- Charge a 1 percent fee to entities that purchase commercial real estate worth $1 million or more, a projected $47 million a year tax increase. Assembly, 42 to 36. Senate, 21 to 18.
.-- Reform the way businesses pay sales taxes in Urban Enterprise Zones, to make sure all purchases are eligible, projected to add $46 million to state coffers. Assembly, 43 to 33. Senate, 28 to 8.
-- Increase the daily surcharge on motor vehicle rentals from $2 to $5, costing drivers a projected $36 million annually. Assembly, 46 to 32. Senate, 21 to 19.
-- Raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 17.5 cents to $2.575 per pack, the fourth increase in five years. Corzine had sought a 35 cent per pack increase. Also expands the tax to include moist snuff. The hike is projected to cost tobacco users an extra $30 million this year. Assembly, 43 to 36. Senate, 21 to 19.
-- Charge a one-time registration surcharge on luxury vehicles, including pickups and SUVs, with a sticker price of $45,000 or more and fuel-inefficient vehicles that average less than 19 miles per gallon. This would cost the people buying such cars $17 million a year. Assembly, 43 to 36. Senate, 21 to 19.
-- Imposes a 6 percent tax on the sale of fur clothing, to raise $5 million. Assembly, 44 to 32 with two voting to abstain. Senate, 21 to 19.