‘It’s a joke, it’s an insult’ — Anger over NJ Gov. Murphy’s fee holiday
Earlier this spring, when officials found out New Jersey had collected billions of extra dollars in much higher-than anticipated tax revenue, lawmakers and the governor agreed to give some of the money back in the form of property tax rebates for homeowners and checks to renters.
Then they announced state residents would get even more relief by temporarily suspending fees for marriage licenses, state parks, some driver’s license renewals and a short school supply tax holiday at the end of August.
Some officials proclaimed they were doing everything possible to help hard-working state residents during these challenging times, but many people rejected those statements as over-blown.
Welcome help or gimmick?
New Jersey 101.5 readers angrily complained in emails that the fee holiday was essentially a gimmick, only a drop in the bucket for some, and much more substantive savings should have been provided because the state was awash in cash.
According to state Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, R-Ocean people have a right to be angry because the cost savings are nothing short of ridiculous.
“We over-collected over $9 billion of people’s money that we have no right to horde,” he said.
“They have hyped the savings as if they’re real. It’s a joke, it’s an insult to people, it’s them assuming that the people of New Jersey are stupid and are going to fall for this."
Representatives for Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and Democratic State Senate President Nick Scutari, D-Union, were asked to comment about criticisms of the fee holiday program but they did not respond by Friday afternoon.
State Sen. Anthony Bucco, R-Morris, said more should have been done to save New Jersey residents real money.
“The governor and the Democrat Legislature was simply just nibbling around the edges here,” he said.
Bucco said that with so many billions of dollars in overflow money having been collected, “we clearly could have made structural changes, permanent structural changes that would have had a permanent impact on people’s pocketbooks.”
O’Scanlon said the short sales tax holiday and “the waiving of a $24 fee on your driver’s license, these things are all designed to make it look like the Democrats care and want to give you a break, but designed to permit them to keep more of your money.”
Does this stuff really make a difference?
O’Scanlon said only 25% of drivers will be able to get meager savings for renewing their driver’s license.
“The marriage license fee waiver — I told my wife we’re going to have to get divorced and get remarried in order to take advantage of it, so we’re having the lawyers drawing up the papers right now.”
He said the back-to-school sales tax holiday pushed through and trumpeted by Democrats is also a joke.
“It starts, I think, Aug. 27 when 90% of people are done with their school shopping. Why? Cause there’s nothing left on the shelves by then, especially with supply chain issues there will be nothing left, everyone will be done," he said.
Bucco said New Jersey residents have a right to feel angry about the amount of relief being offered and “once folks realize the governor’s ANCHOR (property tax relief) program won’t provide them a check till the earliest in May of next year. they’re going to be even more angry.”
He said people need help now, not in nine months.
Bucco said a bill he sponsored to index tax brackets to inflation would have helped to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in relief was never posted for a vote.
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