What Are 'Fair Taxes' and What is in NJ's Long Term Interest?

It’s a simple question loaded with political appeal: “With so many people hurting and income disparities rising, shouldn’t we ask New Jersey’s millionaires to pay a ‘fair share’ in taxes?”

Okay, what’s a “fair” share? If the current share of state income tax paid by the top 1 percent of New Jersey’s taxpayers — about 37 percent — isn’t high enough, what is? Would 80 percent be fair? Or 90 percent? Taxpayers earning $1 million pay an effective tax rate that is about four times what taxpayers earning $100,000 pay. When and how will we know when we’ve achieved “fairness”?

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Keep New Jersey's Tax Structure Competitive

It’s a simple question loaded with political appeal: “With so many people hurting, and income disparities rising, shouldn’t we ask New Jersey’s millionaires to a ‘fair share’ in taxes?”   

OK. What’s a “fair” share?  If the current share of state income tax paid by the top 1% of New Jersey’s taxpayers — about 37 percent — isn’t high enough, what is?  Would 80 percent be fair?  90 percent? Taxpayers earning $1 million pay an effective tax rate this is about four times what taxpayers earning $100,000 pay.  When and how will we know when we’ve achieved “fairness”? 

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Give Taxpayers a Voice With Flexible Property Tax Cap

The debate over the capping of salaries of public workers is one of the most important debates we will have in Trenton this legislative session - perhaps of the decade. Property taxes are the most burdensome and regressive of taxes we pay.

Since on average 60 percent to 70 percent of our property tax dollars go to pay for salaries, it isn't hard to understand that controlling those costs is at the core of the solutions to controlling our taxes. These simple facts make the ongoing debate over capping salary increases of public workers so significant.

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We Don't Make Promises We Can't Keep

The old saying about overpromising and underdelivering would be an apt description of the Trenton Democrats’ approach to budgeting.

We heard compelling stories from people who are affected by the decisions we make. Most understand we had difficult choices to make, but that didn’t stop Democrats from promising funds to every group that appeared before the state Assembly Budget Committee.

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Remaining Tool Kit Measures Must be Enacted

In July, in an all too rare show of bipartisan cooperation in Trenton, the Legislature voted with a significant majority to pass S-29, imposing a limit of 2% on annual tax levy increases for municipalities and school districts in a move to protect New Jersey taxpayers from a tax burden that is becoming ever more unwieldy. This law will take effect January 1, 2011.

In order for this cap to work, however, without significant hardship placed on our citizens, the remaining Tool Kit measures that have been proposed by Governor Christie must be enacted. 

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Contract Raises New Questions

Dear Editorial Board Members:

A recently awarded contract by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders raises some serious questions, as outlined in an Asbury Park Press editorial published March 7, 2010, about how we do business with private contractors in this State. That is why I have introduced legislation that would allow contracts to be awarded based on merit as well as price.

A few weeks ago the Monmouth County Freeholders voted to award a $3.5 million contract to Benjamin R. Harvey Co. of Ocean Township to expand the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office. This is the same contractor to receive a $7.77 million county contract in 2007 but left it unfinished and over budget. Harvey Co. was the lowest bidder, and therefore, despite the one vote cast against by Freeholder John P. Curley, received the contract.

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