Where Sweeney’s wrong on shore rental tax
There are things I admire about Senate President Steve Sweeney. There are things I don't. This one comes under the don't column.
As the budget impasse worsens (Murphy canceled a meeting with legislative leaders Wednesday and The Senate and Assembly punted their voting sessions scheduled for Thursday as lawmakers chose not to accept Murphy's compromise plan), Democratic leaders have come up with a new tax. They want to raise taxes on vacation rentals at the Jersey Shore. They say this scheme will bring in $250 million by making renting that shore house for a week even more expensive. Sweeney says it's perfectly fair. He doesn't feel adding the sales tax to shore rentals will hurt tourism.
“The only state that doesn’t is us. We are it. We’re the outlier,” Sweeney said. “We’re taxing Airbnbs now. It’s time for the Shore rentals to get into the game." Sweeney is referring to Atlantic coast states from Florida to Maine.
So when one finds the rare thing that is BETTER in New Jersey than surrounding states we should get rid of it? And because we're now taxing Airbnbs then that means we should tax MORE things? Hmmm.
He further rationalized, “There’s actually an unfair situation if you’re a hotel owner. A hotel owner has to pay taxes on every room they rent. And they have to compete against other people that are making profits without paying the taxes. So it’s just about fairness. We’re the last state to do it.”
So bringing in new taxes is simply about fairness.
Well if that's fair, then I suppose it would only be fair to tax long-term rentals. In fact, is it fair to only tax long-term rentals at the shore? How is that fair to the shore when inland long-term rentals remain untaxed? So I suppose in fairness we need to tax all rental property in the state of New Jersey, even that single family home you're renting on a 3 year lease in Somerset County. Hey, wait, in fairness why would you tax a renter but not an owner? Yes yes, I know they pay property tax, but isn't this different? After all, the renters have the cost of property tax folded into the rent they pay. We're talking sales tax here. So really shouldn't there be sales tax on your mortgage payment too? I mean, you know, just trying to be fair. Wait, you're homeless? Hmmm. Doesn't seem right that just because you sleep outdoors you get away without paying the same taxes everyone else is paying. So perhaps a sidewalk tax would make things fair?
Since, you know, it's all about fairness.
Or we could look at it that New Jerseyans are already taxed too much. Just because we're the last state on the eastern seaboard not to apply this tax to short-term shore rentals doesn't mean it's a bad thing. How about we embrace that? How often can we point to something good about New Jersey? We had one of the lowest gas taxes in the nation. You guys in Trenton sure cured THAT unfairness, didn't you? Now we have among the highest.
Lawmakers need to understand they have already pushed us beyond our limits. Or is that unfair of me?
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