"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Taxing Facts To Consider During New Jersey’s Government Shutdown

Budget negotiations remain deadlocked. Governor Jon Corzine and Democrats in the state Assembly have agreed state spending should be increased by about 9.2 percent, but can’t agree on who or what to tax for an additional $1.7 billion or so. It’s all pretty hazy now, but one thing is for sure, millions are being lost in private sector wages, business income and taxes. All this has something to do with putting the state’s economy and budget on a more fiscally sound footing.

Before the state government shutdown, we proposed a simple solution to the budget impasse, pass last year’s budget and use all that increased revenue from existing taxes to keep the state moving right along. Others have joined our call and it looks as though our plan would be consistent with the Supreme Court’s Lance v. Codey decision.

In any event, Corzine is toying with the idea of self-financing an ad campaign about the shutdown so he can speak directly to voters. It would be similar to the ads New Jersey’s public employee unions ran to rally taxpayers to support the Governor’s tax hikes. Only this time, the more charismatic Corzine will make the pitch.

But before you fall under the spell of Corzine’s magic, consider this:

From fiscal year 2002-2006, New Jersey raised taxes a cumulative $11.8 billion, which is $1,358 per person. For a family of four this would represent an additional $5,432 in additional taxes paid to New Jersey’s state government.

Governor Corzine will be pushing for the largest tax increase among all 50 states for fiscal year 2007, while some states are significantly cutting taxes. If Corzine’s proposed tax increases go through, the cumulative total for tax increases will reach $17 billion, $1,951 per person and $7,804 for a family of four since fiscal year 2002.

Excluding New Jersey from the national totals, the average cumulative tax increases for the country in the same time period was just $290 per person and $1,160 for a family of four. If Corzine prevails, New Jersey will have raised taxes nearly seven times the national average since fiscal year 2002.


At 6:59 AM, Anonymous njcons said...

It stuns me that none of the reporting that I've seen on this situation makes mention of the fact that the argument is over how to raise taxes, not whether to raise taxes.

Btw, Rush did a half hour or so on this yesterday. It sounded as if he read your stuff.

At 8:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't figure out why I should care about this.

I don’t collect any state checks, aside from the annual property tax thing.
I don’t have any pending plans to go to Atlantic City.
Or to Island Beach State Park, or any other state park.

And, if the numbers on this site are correct, the sales tax increase would have me pay an extra $250 or so a year in sales taxes so that I could get back an extra $70 property tax rebate? My property taxes for 2007, on an average-sized, 45-year-old, not in very great shape house in West Orange, with a small, ridiculously sloped back yard and an even more-sloped (and therefore unusable) front yard are going to be $9,600, and they're battling over whether or not I'm going to get an extra $70 back?

The battle in Trenton should be over whether they're going to immediately cut state spending by 10% or 20%, not on how to fund a 9% increase. What world are they living in?

At 10:13 AM, Blogger skimoose said...

I don't understand why everyone wants to blame State Employees for the woes of the New Jersey. It is the elected representatives you have put in office that have placed the State in this predicament. Years of justifying their existence by increasing programs, increasing state employment to administer those programs and paying for them with quick fixes and gimmicks. Around 1990, before Gov. Florio, NJ had one of the most stable and solvent pension systems in the country, then the politicians started messing with it, raiding it, under funding it, and using it as an excuse. Now it is the State Employees who are at fault.
The benefits received by State Employees are good. Better than many? Yes! The best? Far from it. As a rule we are a dedicated group attempting to do our best in a political environment, with upper management that changes every few years and a “playing field” that changes along with the management. We are generally paid less than our private industry counter parts, but do have a few more holidays. Check out Verizon, or ATT or most other major unionized corporations in the US, and then tell me that State Employees are overcompensated.
The citizens of NJ need to decide which programs and entitlements they are willing to do without. Which School programs they don't want their kids to have. Government cannot provide benefits and programs to the population without funding them from somewhere. My final question in the most populous State in the Union is how much of the spending is mandated by entities outside of the State's control, i.e. the Feds, the Courts, etc?
Give the employees a break, we are as much a victim of the system as every other resident of NJ and as deserving to make a livable wage with reasonable benefits.
Tell your representatives to start looking at what is best for the state and not what is most popular for next November, and you as a voter, start doing the same holding your representatives for their actions.

At 12:45 PM, Anonymous njcons said...

The point is that the game is over. State employees have to accept cuts. Corporations and residents are starting to flee the state. Who's going to pay for all these services then? This mess is going to explode.


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