the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Trenton NJ, GOP Chairman Steinhardt’s Statement on the Murphy Budget Address : Winston Churchill said it best. “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” When politicians say they will raise taxes on the wealthy, they always end up raising taxes on the middle and working classes, too.
Just last year, Phil Murphy and the Democrats set the bar for their Success Tax at $5M in income. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But, one year later, these same Democrats redefine success as any family making more than $1M a year. Still sounds like a lot, I know. But, that’s an 80% drop from last year, and if the Democrats keep feeding and growing State government, you’re next.
Take 20% of a million dollars and by year 3 of the Murphy Administration, a family earning $200,000 a year will be paying more. By year 4, a family earning just $40,000 could be next, NJ “success.” Taxing and spending with impunity will eventually land directly in the pockets of New Jersey’s working and middleclass families. It always does. It already has. Democrats hide taxes and fees in nearly every piece of legislation that leaves Trenton: rain taxes, parking taxes, and corporate taxes, ride-sharing, AirBNB, you get the point. And, it will only get worse. Stand up New Jersey. Take a stand against unrestrained spending and draw the line on no new taxes.
After years of trying to sell the same slick worded, tax parity gimmicks, even prominent Democrats like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senate President Steve Sweeney are themselves coming to terms with the fact that a Success Tax is a dangerous and slippery slope that is counterproductive to a healthy state budget.
The bottom line is, New Jersey has a spending problem, not a revenue problem, and if Trenton’s government keeps growing, so will the amount of money Trenton takes out of the pockets of New Jersey’s working and middleclass families.
Before today’s budget address, Phil Murphy and the Democrats had already raised taxes by over $2B, to pay for a nearly 8% increase in state spending, and were still left with a $500M deficit. If something isn’t done, Moody’s has already predicted that that deficit will grow to $3B in just 5 years. New Jersey can’t absorb another $3B in Democratic tax increases. There just isn’t enough water left in the well.
For years Republicans have championed targeted savings, but career Democrats balked. Just yesterday I had a Twitter exchange with a Democratic operative who summed up so much of what’s wrong with Trenton. Advocating for today’s round of Democratic tax increases, he asked, “What cuts do you want to own to balance the budget?” For Democrats, the answer is obvious, they want none, since their offices are bought and paid for the by the public sector labor unions and special interests who benefit most from the State’s excessive spending. But, if we’re being fair and honest with ourselves, the answer is “whatever savings are needed to get the job done.” New Jersey deserves honest answers to its real problems.
Start simply. Not every difficult problem has a difficult answer.
New Jersey needs a cap on state spending. The 2% cap on municipal spending proved to be effective at curbing runaway local property tax hikes. But, as usual, Trenton excluded itself. If a 2% cap is good enough for our Mayors, it should be good enough for Trenton, too.
Next, tackle pension reform head on. Stop pandering to New Jersey’s special interests and start protecting its 9 million residents. We can no longer afford to define people’s benefits, so we need to shift employees into less costly, defined contribution, 401K plans. We need to end platinum level health care, then require those whose incomes and social security meet a set threshold to contribute to the cost of their post-retirement care.
Finally, we need to incentivize businesses to grow and invest here, not chase them away with the second highest corporate tax in the country and the reintroduction to New Jersey of some of the worst of Obamacare’s fine and penalty policies. The opportunity for New Jerseyans to start a business, find a job and earn a living is the only real pathway to the middleclass, a concept that was buried under the mountain of Phil Murphy’s $38.6B budget.
New Jersey continues to lead the nation in the out-migration of businesses and residents, and with another $1.2B in tax increases on the horizon, that trend will continue, leaving New Jersey’s working and middleclass families on the hook. There is no escaping the harsh reality that Phil Murphy’s newest spending spree, while emotionally appealing, will be paid for by New Jersey’s middle class. Period. Full Stop.
Tax foolishness isn’t a solution to the state’s real problems. The suggestions the NJGOP made here only begin to scratch the surface of the hard work that needs to be done to set Trenton straight. We are fortunate to have a group of Republican legislators and candidates who are grounded and determined to protect our state’s future and the future of our state’s hardworking businesses and families.
Trenton’s over reach into everything from high density housing to how we educate our children won’t end, until we end it. We can’t let bad government chase us out of our homes. Let’s chase bad government out of Trenton instead. It starts now, in 2019.