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NJBIA Analysis Shows New Jersey Dead Last in Regional Business Climate Competitiveness

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May 3,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, With New Jersey’s legislature weighing new tax hikes during budget season, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association released an analysis today that finds the Garden State already ranked last in the region for business climate competitiveness.

“This analysis should serve as an opportunity to reclaim our competitiveness and to improve the state’s economy through comprehensive planning, not excessive taxation,” said NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka. “There is no better time than now to recognize the growing challenges of doing business in New Jersey and our competitive disadvantage with neighboring states.”

NJBIA tracked six individual business costs—minimum wage rate, top income tax rate, top corporate tax rate, sales tax rate, property taxes as a percentage of home value, and the top unemployment tax rate – and compared New Jersey’s rates with those of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania.

Applying a scoring system to the most and least competitive regional rates, New Jersey finished last of the seven states by a considerable margin.

New Jersey currently ranks last out of all states in the region in top income tax rate (8.97 percent), sales tax rate (6.625 percent) and property tax paid as a percentage of home value (2.16 percent). New Jersey is also sixth out of seven states in top corporate tax rate (9 percent). The Garden State has the third lowest minimum wage rate in the region at $8.60 per hour and, more positively, has the lowest top unemployment tax rate in the region of 5.8 percent.

However, it’s foreseeable that New Jersey’s overall regional business climate could further decline with discussions of a minimum wage increase to $15 per hour, proposals to raise the top income tax rate for those making more than $1 million, and consideration of a Corporate Business Tax increase. These are in addition to the added costs brought on by the mandatory paid sick leave bill signed into law and the proposed sales tax increase to 7 percent.

“It’s important to recognize that New Jersey businesses are already paying their fair share when it comes to tax rates and the additional cumulative costs that are being discussed and proposed could result in stagnation of our businesses, reduced staffing and hours or automation, according to our members,” Siekerka said. “We need tax and regulatory reform to address structural deficits in our economy, such as public pension and health benefits costs, and school funding. We cannot tax our way out of these challenges.”

Using data compiled by NJBIA policy analyst Nicole Sandelier, NJBIA scored the regional rates from 1 (most competitive in the region) to 7 (least competitive). New Jersey’s cumulative regional business climate score was 31 after totaling the six rates. Delaware has the best regional score at 17, followed closely by Maryland at 20. Pennsylvania (23) and New York (24), New Jersey’s largest outmigration states, finished third and fourth, respectively.

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How High Are Recreational Marijuana Taxes in Your State?

April 26, 2018
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

According to Katherine Loughead and Morgan Scarboro of the Tax Foundation public opinion increasingly favors the legalization of recreational marijuana, a growing number of states must determine how to tax legal sales of cannabis.

Will New Jersey Be next? One of the biggest signals of change has been the election of Democrat Phil Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive, and the incumbent Governor of New Jersey. He’s has already instilled a belief that New Jersey will embrace the plant recreationally.

To date, nine states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington) and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, but only eight of these jurisdictions have legal markets. The table below highlights the states that have implemented legal markets and levy taxes on recreational marijuana.

Of the states with legal markets, Alaska is the only state that does not impose some form of sales tax on end-users. In each of the other states, taxes levied on the sale of marijuana far exceed the general sales tax rate levied by that state:

In Alaska, which has no states sales tax, marijuana growers pay a tax of $50 per ounce when selling the product to marijuana dispensaries or retailers. While the cost of taxes paid is passed on to customers in the form of higher prices, end-users do not pay a sales tax when purchasing marijuana.

In California, cultivators pay a per ounce of product tax at a rate of $9.25 per ounce of marijuana flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves. In addition, retailers collect from customers a 15 percent excise tax on the average market price of the product.

Colorado imposes a 15 percent excise tax on the sale of marijuana from a cultivator to a retailer. In addition, the state levies a 15 percent sales tax (up from 10 percent in 2017) on retail sales to customers.

Maine legalized recreational marijuana in 2016 by ballot initiative but has not yet established a legal market. Pending legislation would tax sales of marijuana at a rate of 10 percent and levy an excise tax on cultivators at a rate of $335 per pound of flower, $94 per pound of marijuana trim, $1.50 per immature plant or seedling, and $0.30 per seed. Governor LePage, however, has vowed to veto the legislation.

Massachusetts, concerned its previous ballot initiative approved rate of 3.75 percent was too low, raised the excise tax rate to 10.75 percent in 2017.

Nevada imposes an excise tax on the sale of marijuana by a cultivator to a distributor. This rate is set at 15 percent of the Fair Market Value as determined by the Nevada Department of Taxation. In 2017, Nevada created a new 10 percent sales tax paid by consumers.

Oregon, which does not have a general sales tax, levies a 17 percent sales tax on marijuana.
Washington levies a 37 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana.

Vermont legalized the possession of marijuana this year but did not create a legal market. D.C. also allows for possessing and growing of marijuana but does not allow for sales in a legal market.

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Identity Thief Transfers $52,000 Ridgewood Resident to Quincy ,Massachusetts

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March 22,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, On March 20, a Shelbourne Terrace resident responded to Ridgewood Police headquarters to report fraudulent activity on his TD Bank account. The victim reported between 3/09/17 and 3/18/17 an actor transferred $52000 from his bank account without authorization in Massachusetts at three different locations utilizing a fictitious drivers license. The victim reported the actor attempted a fourth withdrawal in the amount of $35000, however the withdrawal was denied by the bank and the Quincy, Ma. Police were notified, responded and arrested the actor. Quincy, Ma. Police and TD Bank are investigating the incident. The victim requested documentation of the incident to assist in recovering the stolen funds.

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Report: These Five States Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Hawaii Have Highest Liability Per Taxpayer

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Report: These Five States Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Hawaii Have Highest Liability Per Taxpayer

Josh Siegel / @JoshDailySignal / August 31, 2014

Taxpayers in Alaska who enjoy keeping their money will be happy to see a new report that claims the country’s 49th state is best able to fund its obligations.

Residents of Connecticut may not feel as good.

The Truth in Accounting report ranks the states by “taxpayer burden,” a measure that represents the amount each taxpayer would have to pay his or her state’s treasury to fill its financial hole.

Truth in Accounting, a Chicago-based nonprofit, determined that the states with the highest taxpayer burden — deemed “Sinkhole States” — are, in descending order, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Hawaii.

The “Sinkhole States”

The states with the largest “taxpayer surplus” — called “Sunshine States” based on having assets available to pay their bills — are, from the top:  Alaska, North Dakota, Wyoming, Utah and South Dakota.

The “Sunshine States”

Taxpayer burden is calculated by determining each taxpayer’s share of state debt after setting aside capital-related debt and assets.  Remaining debt is primarily unpaid pension and retirement health promises.

In its fifth annual report, released this month, Truth in Accounting says states that have unfunded pension liabilities put a burden on future taxpayers, even though “they will not receive any services” from the retired employees who earn those pensions.

States with taxpayer surplus, on the other hand, fund pension costs during the year employees earn the benefits, and the money is set aside for that year.

Connecticut, which the report considers to be in the worst financial shape, has an overall budget shortfall of $61.4 billion, which breaks down to $48,100 per taxpayer.

Truth in Accounting reports that most of Connecticut’s retirement benefits have been promised but not funded.

A Connecticut law requires the legislature to pass a balanced budget. This likely explains why the state chose not to report its entire retirement benefit liability. The report says:

One of the reasons Connecticut is in this precarious financial position is state officials use antiquated budgeting and accounting rules to report Connecticut’s financial condition. Since employee retirement benefits are not immediately payable in cash, the related compensation costs have been ignored when calculating balanced budgets.

Alaska, reported to be in the best financial shape, has an overall budget surplus of $13.5 billion, which breaks down to $46,900 per taxpayer. The report says Alaska has enough money to pay state employees’ retirement benefits and other outstanding bills:

Alaska is in good financial shape because the legislators and governors have only promised citizens and employees what they can afford to deliver.

See how your fared state by reading the Truth in Accounting report.

The worst performing states

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