When the surcharge expired in December, there was no rush to renew it. Democrats were too busy with gay marriage, medical marijuana and a whole host of other issues that took up the lame-duck session.
So when Governor Christie says that Democrats could very well have renewed it, he is right. Of course Christie was screaming from the sidelines that they shouldn’t, but it didn’t stop the Dem legislature from doing a bunch of other things the incoming Gov did not want.
Here is the breakdown ( i’m plagiarizing a bit here ): If NJ taxable income is $400,000 to $500,000 the rate is 8%. If it’s $500,000 to $1,000,000 the rate is 10.25%, and if income is over $1,000,000 the rate will be 10.75%. These surcharges account for roughly $750 billion in revenue to the state.
That last top tax rate is pretty high, and has frequently been invoked by the new Governor as one of the reasons people are fleeing NJ for PA ( which has a much lower top tax rate ).
But Democrats say the Governor backed himself into a bit of a corner by saying these tough times call for “shared sacrifice.” Apparently, it should be shared by the low income and middle class people, not the top earners.
Politically speaking, one Democrat even told me “We are going to kill him on this.”
So, when Christie says the Dems could have renewed the surcharge, but instead they “wanted the issue,” there may be some truth in that. But it does not change the fact that it’s a potent issue if people see their property taxes go up to account for lost school aid. They may very well start wondering why the top earners don’t pay more to help out.
On the flip side, even without the surcharge, top earners still pay an awful lot in taxes. And at some point you want wealthy people staying here. Studies have shown that wealth is migrating outta state, so that’s not an ideological mirage, but a genuine concern.
Programming note: These blog posts are riddled with examples of creative spelling and grammatical inconsistencies. I scribble them in between doing my actual job which is reporting and producing TV stories for NJN News. Interesting concepts and facts are my focus, not necessarily the formalities of proper writing. And I can’t believe I just said that…somewhere Mrs. Silfen my third grade teacher is throwing up.