With a new year right around the corner you should know about a few new laws 2018 will usher in. Do you remember that pesky matter of a gas tax hike they rammed down our throats? If you're still stinging from that, maybe this will make it better. But I doubt it.

1) Part of that deal was the eventual elimination of the estate tax. Before the gas hike went into effect, the exclusion was $675,000. That meant when a person died the money they left to their heirs wouldn't be taxed for the first $675,000, but the amount over that would. The gas tax deal brought that exclusion to $2 million before taxes would kick in. As of January 1st, 2018 the New Jersey estate tax goes away entirely. (For clarification, spouses were always exempt.)

Does that help the average person in the Garden State? It sure won't help me. Trust me no one is leaving me anything close to the old $675,000 let alone anything over $2 million. But if your family is in that rare air, you have that to look forward to. By the way the law did nothing to change the inheritance tax, a separate issue.

2) Next we have the final lowering of the state sales tax. But I don't think too many people will be firing up the confetti cannons over this one.

Under the gas tax deal, the state sales tax went from 7% to 6.875% on January 1, 2017. The last drop takes place on January 1, 2018. The new sales tax will be 6.625%. Making it 0.250% lower than 2017 and a total of 0.375% lower than when this whole thing began.

The savings?

To put it in perspective, for every $100 you spend on taxable goods, you will pay 37 and a half cents less in taxes. If you buy $10,000 in taxable items, you'll save $37 and fifty cents. Unless you're buying a brand new $50,000 car every single year, this never did much to offset the hike in what you pay at the gas pump.

3) Finally there's the state minimum wage. Currently $8.44 per hour, this will increase to $8.60 per hour on January 1, 2018. That's because increases to the minimum wage were tied to increases in the consumer price index. Voters approved this as a constitutional amendment in 2013. What does it mean for someone working 40 hours a week making minimum wage? An annual increase of $332.80.

But fear not; Governor-elect Phil Murphy has vowed to raise the minimum wage to an eventual $15 per hour. (Unless you're a small business owner, then you have plenty to fear.)

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