ARE YOU CURIOUS WHY NEW JERSEY’S TAXES ARE SO HIGH?
“Increasing the gas tax makes sense…And who has been complaining about the sales tax, anyway?”
— NJEA Executive Director Ed Richardson, 2016.
For the last six weeks, the Sunlight Policy Center of New Jersey has been releasing a series of thoroughly researched and well-sourced reports chronicling the profound impact the NJEA has had on New Jersey’s political system and the long-term consequences for the state and its citizens. While we have presented many salient facts, we think this quote from Executive Director Richardson is very revealing.
Why? Let us explain…
Richardson is a multi-millionaire, having been paid $2.98 million of taxpayer dollars from 2013-2016. And yet he callously dismisses the impact of higher gas and sales taxes on the very middle-class families whose taxes made him a New Jersey one-percenter. He disregards that these are the least progressive taxes that hit middle-class New Jerseyans much harder than a multi-millionaire like Richardson. Where is the tax “fairness” in that?
This week, our report “Who Has Been Complaining About the Sales Tax Anyway?” details how New Jersey became one of the highest-tax states in the nation.
We hope you will read our report, but since yet another budget year has been dominated by the issue of taxes – here are some quick facts to consider:
FACT #1 – New Jersey is already a very high tax state. According to the Tax Foundation, New Jersey has the worst overall tax climate in the nation – for the fifth straight year. Likewise, Wallethub found that New Jersey citizens have the highest property taxes and total tax burden in America ($11,119).
FACT #2 – Since 1992, the cumulative toll of tax hikes on New Jersey citizens have been massive. Total property, income, and sales taxes have increased from $12.97 billion to $37.48 billion, or 288 percent.
FACT # 3 – The NJEA has used its unmatched political clout to push for more state taxes. It was a driving force behind the introduction of the first state sales tax in 1966 and the first state income tax in 1976, as well as every major tax increase since then. Today, our governor appears in NJEA-funded ads calling for an expanded “millionaires’ tax.”
The facts also show that the NJEA helped structure a system that inexorably drove up local property taxes, and when property taxpayers revolted, it turned to state taxes to alleviate the burden. Yet the state budget is in perennial, structural deficit. Competing demands – such as underfunded pensions and exceptionally generous retiree health benefits, (both of which the NJEA helped to bring about), among others – squeeze the budget. The NJEA’s solution over the decades: raising state taxes.
When New Jersey’s most powerful political force pushes for higher taxes for decades, New Jersey predictably becomes one of the highest-tax states in America.
…Oh and by the way, the reason the NJEA has not been refuting our reports, and will not refute this one, is that they are based on actual facts, all sourced and footnoted. It’s hard to deny the truth.
It is time we begin educating ourselves on the facts.
It’s time these facts came to light.