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Auth urges cutting sales taxes statewide to spur economy


June 6,2015
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ , Assemblymen Robert Auth in February pushed for legislation to end county government in New Jersey now on Thursday, Connecticut and Rhode Island long ago abolished county government, while Massachusetts has eliminated most of its county governments.On March 26, 2015, Assemblyman Robert Auth made a motion to amend legislation, which grants Atlantic City as an Urban Enterprise Zone for 10 years (A-3920), to also extend the sales tax cut statewide.

Auth said we all live in districts that have lost jobs , which echoed what he said in February , “I’m watching businesses leave our state. A lot of it is in the district I represent,” said Auth. “I totaled up all the county budgets throughout the state. It’s like $6.5 billion a year in New Jersey. That’s a lot of money.”  .

One of the most immediate and clear effects of sales tax on supply and demand involves an increase in the price of consumer goods. This occurs because businesses must pay more for the products they buy, including machinery, office furnishings and computer equipment. The higher cost of doing business translates into higher prices for new products. money.

While sales tax affects supply directly, it only has an indirect effect on consumer demand. Besides altering the equilibrium price, which takes demand into account, sales tax also impacts consumers’ buying power. When sales tax rates are high, consumers spend more money on taxes and have less to spend on additional goods. This drives down general demand, or forces businesses to reduce prices to keep demand steady. This effect holds true even for items that are not subject to sales tax, such as grocery items and prescription drugs.

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New York hospitals cast an acquisitive eye toward New Jersey


New York hospitals cast an acquisitive eye toward New Jersey
June 3, 2015 Updated 06/03/2015

Wave of mergers shifts market across the Hudson.
By Lisa Ward

More than a dozen hospitals in New Jersey have announced acquisitions in the past two years, a flurry of mergers that has left only a handful of independent hospitals in the state.

But recently, two very large transactions took shape: a merger between Hackensack University Health Network and Meridian Health, and a strategic alliance between Barnabas Health and Robert Wood Johnson Health System. Those two deals could create health systems that rival the scale of their counterparts across the Hudson River—and that threaten current patient-referral patterns to New York hospitals.

“These are heavily advertised to signal to New Jersey consumers that they don’t need to leave the state to get world-class care,” said Katherine Hempstead, a director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The New York City and New Jersey hospital markets are similar in some respects. Both have seen their community hospitals gobbled up by mergers. There has been a wave of affiliations on both sides of the Hudson River—some with national brand names, such as the Cleveland Clinic.

But there is a significant difference between the markets. Unlike New York, the Garden State has no prohibition against private-equity or publicly traded companies from owning hospitals. That regulatory framework means New Jersey hospitals have an advantage: much greater access to capital from deep-pocketed parent companies or partners.

For-profit hospitals and investors started bargain hunting in New Jersey in 2002, intent on scooping up struggling facilities. Today they represent about 15% of the market, according to the New Jersey Hospital Association.

For example, Prime Healthcare Services, a California company, completed its acquisition of St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic for $85 million in August. It is in the process of acquiring St. Claire’s Health System in Dover, Denville and Boonton, as well as St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark.

Private-equity-backed LHP Hospital Group entered into a joint venture with nonprofit Hackensack University Health to buy Pascack Valley Hospital out of bankruptcy for $147 million in 2008, followed by Mountainside Hospital for $190 million in 2012, according to Fitch Ratings.

The merger activity is driven by New Jersey nonprofit hospitals’ efforts to shore up their market positions and balance sheets.

“Hospital expenses are often growing faster than revenues,” said Lisa Goldstein, associate managing director of the Public Finance Group at Moody’s Investors Service. She added that mergers have become a way for hospitals nationally to add revenue and reduce fixed expenses, including investment in new technology and payment systems required by national health care reforms.

Barnabas Health bought Jersey City Medical Center in June 2014 and now owns seven acute care facilities, making it the largest hospital operator in the state—for now.

Last month, Meridian Health and Hackensack University Health Network signed a definitive agreement to merge. The new system, Hackensack Meridian Health, is forming after nearly seven months of due diligence. The tie-up still requires state and federal regulatory clearance, expected within nine to 12 months. The 11-hospital system will have about 25,000 employees and nearly 6,000 physicians on staff.

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Anthony Bourdain brings his CNN show to New Jersey


MAY 31, 2015    LAST UPDATED: SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2015, 2:43 PM

tonight, CNN

Globe-trotting chef and Leonia native Anthony Bourdain has brought viewers to his home state before, but this time he wanted to do it differently.

“It’s easy enough to sell New Jersey if you’re going to beautiful farmland and attractive bedroom communities and fine dining,” he said in a recent phone interview. “And I thought, you know what? I’m going to make Jersey look awesome by going to all the places that have been most traditionally screwed.”

So for tonight’s episode of “Parts Unknown,” he features the history and people of Camden, Atlantic City and Asbury Park. And he tries to “make even the refineries look somehow magical,” he said. “That was the challenge — to look at what most people make fun of about New Jersey or look down their noses at, and still sell it as an amazing place brimming with potential and beauty, if you bother to look.”

His first stop? A childhood favorite – the hot dog stand Hiram’s in Fort Lee, where he says he still goes a few times a year with his daughter, Ariane, 8.

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Why New Jersey Doesn’t Let You Pump Your Own Gas


Lawmakers in New Jersey and Oregon are considering bills that would finally give drivers in those states the option to pump their own gas. But why was that practice banned in the first place?

Let’s start with the case in New Jersey. The Garden State’s ban on self-service gas stations, which are allowed in 48 states, began in 1949 when the New Jersey Legislature passed the Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act. That law, enacted over concerns about the safety of consumers pumping petroleum themselves, was later followed by many other states. However, almost every state has since overturned their self-serve bans. (Kell/TIME)

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Tax Freedom Day arrives in New Jersey, but it’s not good news


photo by ArtChick

After crunching the numbers, the Tax Foundation has determined today marks Tax Freedom Day in the Garden State — the day when many New Jersey residents have finally earned enough money to pay all of their taxes for the year.

New Jersey and Connecticut have the latest Tax Freedom days of any state in

the nation. (Matthau/NJ101.5)

Tax Freedom Day arrived in New Jersey

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Why doesn’t New Jersey have any 5-star hospitals?


By Kathleen O’Brien | NJ Advance Media for
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on April 21, 2015 at 7:38 AM, updated April 21, 2015 at 1:22 PM

The federal government recently debuted an online tool that lets consumers compare the patient experience at hospitals around the country through its “star” ratings.

A quick stroll through the spreadsheet shows that New Jersey has not a single five-star hospital. It has four four-star hospitals (Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, Deborah Heart & Lung Center in Browns Mills, Virtua West Jersey Hospitals, Berlin, and Inspira Medical Center in Elmer), while the other 58 facilities get just one, two or three stars.

By contrast, the good people of Iowa are blessed with 11 five-star hospitals.

And the world-renowned Mayo Clinic gets only four stars.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services unveiled its star system for rating hospital patient experience, based on patients’ ratings of a hospital’s cleanliness, communication from staff, and attentiveness to patients, and whether it was sufficiently quiet at night.

Those attributes, while admirable, are not necessarily the same as what goes into to providing top-notch care, said David Knowlton of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute.

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New Jersey Makes the Top of the State Income Tax List


April 15, 2015
Jared Walczak,
Richard Borean

This week’s tax map presents the highest individual income tax rates in each state for 2015 (full report on state income tax rates: here). Income taxes are a major, and often complicated, component of state revenues. Furthermore, unlike sales or excise taxes which individuals pay indirectly, income taxes are levied directly on individuals, meaning that income taxes are usually featured prominently in any discussion of tax burdens and public policies.

Income taxes are structured in many different ways throughout the states. Some are flat systems with one rate for all income, while other states offer progressive systems taxing different levels of income at different rates, and some states have no income tax at all.

These taxes are also subject to change: over the past two years, eight states (Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia reduced income taxes, and one state (Minnesota) increased income taxes.

For the most up-to-date data available on current state tax rates and brackets, standard deductions, and per-filer personal exemptions for individuals filing singly, see our report here.

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New Jersey lousy place to retire, study finds


New Jersey lousy place to retire, study finds

New Jersey’s high taxes, cost of living and overall malaise are coming back to bite it among retirees, according to a survey released last week. • The Garden State ranks as the sixth-worst state to retire, found. And it could have been worse if the personal finance website graded the states using only pocketbook issues.

“If it wasn’t for the family, I wouldn’t be here because the taxes are too high,” said Peggy Brocco, 68, of Manchester. “I’m in a senior development, and I pay $8,200 in (property) taxes.” (Diamond/Courier Post)

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Chris Christie Rails Against Estate Taxes New Jersey Can’t Do Without


(Bloomberg) — Everyone runs into death and taxes. New Jerseyans trundle on toward an afterlife in tax hell.

“I can afford to retire here,” said Susan Barbey, a 60-year-old resident of Ridgewood, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from Manhattan. “I can’t afford to die here.” (Young/Bloomberg)