‘Millionaires tax’ – another increase possible in New Jersey?
Gov. Chris Christie has repeatedly vetoed bills to increase the income tax paid by New Jersey's millionaires and in his 2015 State of the State Address he promised to do it again if the legislature approved such a tax hike. That was welcome news to the business community, but the top lawmaker in the General Assembly said that it doesn't mean to issue is dead.
"The millionaires' tax is something that he (Christie) is adamant against. I'd love to see a millionaires' tax to be able to be used for bringing down property taxes. Obviously he's drawn a line in the sand. That's something we may revisit," said Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (D-Secaucus).
The governor made his position crystal clear in his Jan. 13, 2015 State of the State message to a special joint session of the New Jersey Legislature.
"I have vetoed four income tax increases passed by this body and make no mistake; I will veto any more income tax increases that come before me," Christie said.
Many in New Jersey's business community have battled against millionaires' tax hikes in the past and at a New Jersey Bankers Association forum in early February, New Jersey Business and Industry Association Pesident Michele Siekerka promised to do it again.
"Small businesses pay their income taxes through their personal returns," Siekerka said. "That's why the millionaires' tax is bad for the state of New Jersey. Small business is a not a millionaire. The millionaires' tax is a very bad idea and one that we will ensure, like we did last year doesn't come at the end of the budget (process) in order to fill gaps."
New Jersey has a revenue problem, not a spending problem, and a millionaires' tax increase could be very helpful, Prieto said.
"We need revenues and that's a revenue source that a lot of people think would be reasonable, doable," Prieto said.
Siekerka is in lockstep with Christie's opposition to an income tax increase.
"We couldn't agree more," Siekerka said. " He's spot on the money. We have to make sure that doesn't happen."