It’s a new year, but sadly for New Jersey some things never change. The Tax Foundation came out with its “2022 State Business Tax Climate Index,” which ranks the 50 states by how friendly their tax systems are to businesses. FOR THE 7TH YEAR IN A ROW, NEW JERSEY CAME IN DEAD LAST.
Notably, New Jersey has been dead last for EVERY SINGLE YEAR THAT PHIL MURPHY HAS BEEN GOVERNOR.
This is very worrisome for New Jersey’s future because a healthy state economy requires a tax system that allows businesses to flourish and attracts them to come to or remain in a state, providing jobs, income and tax revenues. These are all crucial to the long-term economic health of a state, especially one like New Jersey, with its severely underfunded pension liabilities and its enormous debt load.
New Jersey’s finishing dead last for seven years in a row means that ALL the states that New Jersey competes against to attract businesses and entrepreneurs are more attractive than New Jersey. For example, neighboring Pennsylvania and Delaware came in 29th and 16th, respectively. Here is the breakdown:
- Corporate taxes: 48
- Income Taxes: 48
- Sales Taxes: 43
- Property Taxes: 44
That’s bottom ten in the nation in all of these important categories. No wonder businesses like Mondelez (with its 600 jobs) are fleeing New Jersey.
What is Governor Murphy doing about it? Nothing: New Jersey’s tax climate actually got worse from 2021 to 2022. So under our newly re-elected governor, New Jersey is 50th and declining.
The sorry fact is that New Jersey has been 50th every year that Phil Murphy has been governor. A healthy business climate is clearly not his priority: he has raised corporate and income taxes and saddled New Jersey businesses with increased unemployment contributions, even while businesses were suffering through the pandemic. No wonder New Jersey’s unemployment rate stands as one of the worst in the nation.
On the other hand, Governor Murphy was happy to use tax revenues and federal pandemic relief to pay $6.9 billion (over 15% of the state budget) into a broken and unreformed pension system in order to please his government union pals. But New Jersey businesses are getting no relief from the widespread pain.
Once again Sunlight is forced to ask: does Governor Murphy even care?