By Doug Steinhardt
Winston Churchill said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” In New Jersey, as long as we keep electing politicians who feed the State’s bloated budget, none of us are safe.
Phil Murphy calls New Jersey a high tax for high value state. But Democrats are squeezing out what little value is left. Our schools are failing, NJ Transit deteriorating, jobs leaving, and taxes rising. Policies passed to appease progressives instead of provide solutions are chasing businesses and families away.
Last year, Phil Murphy and New Jersey Democrats set the bar for their income ”success tax” at $5 million. One year later, they redefined “success” as a family making $1 million or more. That’s an 80 percent drop. Take 20 percent of that and by 2020 a family earning $200,000 would pay more taxes. By 2021, a family earning just $40,000 could be the next, New Jersey “success”. It sounds crazy, but it’s not. The middle class is next, because government is out of control.
Since Phil Murphy’s election, Democrats have raised income and corporate taxes. They taxed ride-sharing, AirBNB, and internet sales. When that wasn’t enough, they devised a plan to tax parking and rain. Each time they reach into our pockets, they leave us less on which to live. We owe it to ourselves to do better.
Many of us, however, are so worried about whom we might offend, that we’ve stopped fighting for what we believe in: lower taxes, smaller government, hard work and family values. We can‘t afford Trenton’s relentless over-reach. It’s time to be honest with ourselves.
New Jersey has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Its demands exceed what we can reasonably pay to keep up. Liberals embraced this year’s budget for its progressive vision, but ignore its regressive effect. Meanwhile, our fiscal troubles mount.
But what seem like insurmountable issues don’t have to be insurmountable. Not every difficult problem requires a difficult answer.
The 2 percent cap on municipal spending was effective at curbing runaway, local property taxes. But, Trenton excluded itself. If a 2 percent cap is good for our mayors, it’s good for state bureaucrats, too.
— New Jersey GOP (@NJGOP) March 21, 2019
Top Democrats now vow to fix public pensions, but had 20 years in the majority to do it and didn’t. They pandered to special interests, instead, and left the rest of New Jersey to struggle. We can’t afford to define people’s benefits. Shift employees into less costly 401K plans. Tackling pensions head on will save $2 billion, alone.
End platinum healthcare. Then, require those whose income and social security meet a set threshold to contribute to their post-retirement healthcare costs.
Incentivize businesses to grow and invest here by reducing the corporate business tax and eliminating Murphy’s Obamacare fines and penalties. They cost jobs and punish job creators. The opportunity for people to own a business, find a job and earn a living is the only real path to the middle class, a concept lost under the mountain of Murphy’s $38.6 billion budget.
New Jersey continues to lead the nation in the out-migration of businesses and residents, and with another $1.2 billion in budget increases, that trend will continue leaving working and middle-class families to pay. The reality of Phil Murphy’s newest spending spree is that we can’t afford it.
These are honest attempts at solving real problems, but they only scratch the surface of what’s needed to fix New Jersey’s troubles. We are fortunate to have a group of Republican legislators and candidates who are grounded and focused. We can do so much better than what Phil Murphy’s offering.
My children are aged 15 and 20. I’m not sure how old you are, whether you have children, had them, or want them. It doesn’t matter, really, because our responsibility is the same. We owe it to New Jersey’s next generation to leave them with opportunity and not debt.
Trenton’s high cost intrusion into everything from high density housing to how we educate our children won’t end, unless we end it. Don’t let bad government chase us out of our homes. Chase it out of Trenton instead.
Doug Steinhardt is the New Jersey state Republican chairman.