file photo by Boyd Loving
What is the Most Pressing Issue for the Village of Ridgewood

August 21, 2017 at 8:01 AM

We still have five months to go in 2017 and New Jersey has already topped several lists this year we all wish it hadn’t. With long-term liabilities mushrooming to 360 percent of total assets, New Jersey was ranked the state with the worst fiscal health in the country for the third consecutive year by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

For the fifth consecutive year, New Jersey saw more residents leave than any other state, with 63 percent more departures than arrivals.

According to recent McKinsey study, New Jersey has been among the worst states for economic growth, with GDP increasing an average of just 0.3 percent between 2005 and 2015 – nearly five times lower than national GDP growth over the same period.

There’s not one single explanation for all of these trends, but there is oneparticular list New Jersey sits atop that comes pretty close to providing an answer: our state has the worst business tax climate in the nation, according to the independent nonprofit Tax Foundation, an unfortunate distinction the state has had for the last three years.

High taxes make New Jersey less attractive to businesses and residents. Skeptics often claim this is an exaggeration and that few actually move just because of taxes. But even if we put aside departures like the high profile move made by fund manager David Tepper to Florida a few years ago, those opposed to lowering tax rates have to reckon with the fact that most people are leaving for new job opportunities. Why aren’t these opportunities in our state? Perhaps it has something to do with the uninviting business environment created by unnecessarily high taxes.

The common refrain from opponents of tax cuts, especially cuts for businesses, is that they only benefit big corporations and the wealthy. But in many cases high taxes hurt the middle-class and small businesses more than the rich and powerful. Here are a few examples: