NJ millionaire’s tax hike – round five another knockout?
New Jersey residents can get ready for part five of the millionaire's tax increase fight in the State House.
The first four bouts ended in knockouts courtesy of Gov. Chris Christie's veto pen. The last hearing in which the public can weigh in of the governor's budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2016 was scheduled for Wednesday. It was made clear at the previous hearings that the state was cash-strapped and that has led to more and more Democrats talking about a millionaire's tax hike bill.
"A discussion about adjusting the tax rate again hasn't gone away for a reason. There's an interest in doing it and there's also a real discussion that there's some fairness associated with it," said Assembly Budget Committee Vice Chairman John Burzichelli (D-Thorofare).
The governor has vetoed the first four millionaire's tax increase bills sent to him by the Democrat-controlled Legislature. In his state budget address in February, Christie received a hardy round of applause when he promised to veto it again if the Legislature sends it to him.
"I would prefer that there were no taxes, but that's not the real world. When you look to the higher end and bracket of those who can afford to pay you can make an argument that maybe a little more can be asked of that group," Burzichelli said.
The millionaire's tax hike expired prior to Christie taking office. Democrats had the opportunity to pass it again in lame duck and send it to then-Gov. Jon Corzine who would likely have signed it. The tax increase has been a political football since Christie took office in January of 2010.
"The top 1 percent of the tax filers typically cover 40 percent of the total income tax generated in the state of New Jersey (and) these job providers have the mobility option to flee the state," said Michael Egenton, vice president of government affairs with the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce.
Recent statistics claim 10,000 millionaire households left New Jersey last year and higher taxes could lead more of these job providers to flee the state because they have the wherewithal to do it, Egenton said.