Press of Atlantic City: Gov. Murphy belittles and dismisses people concerned about taxes

The editorial board of the Press of Atlantic City takes Governor Murphy to task over his recent comments at a gathering of business leaders at Rowan University where he appeared indifferent to New Jersey residents and businesses impacted by high taxes:

“Politicians in democracies typically don’t say things that could suggest they’re dismissing and ignoring a significant part of the electorate. To do so requires a confidence of staying in power usually found only in places with tyrannies or one-party rule.

Murphy should consider whether his party’s dominance of state government is encouraging an unrealistic feeling of power that might undermine his persuasiveness and personal political ambitions.”

NJ.com: Mulshine - Restore state and local tax breaks for Jersey? That’s rich, says a federal judge

Earlier this year, GSI’s president Regina M. Egea authored an op-ed that suggested the crash of Connecticut’s high-end housing market may be predictive of a similar occurrence in New Jersey due to exorbitant property taxes. In a column published on NJ.com, Paul Mulshine indicates that the market decline may have finally reached New Jersey with dire consequences for the middle class:

“…as the prices drop on those high-end homes, so do the tax assessments. That creates pressure on the people in the middle-class homes in town.”

NJ.com: N.J.'s public worker pension system is the worst-funded in the nation. Again.

Samantha Marcus of NJ.com reports on a new analysis from S&P Global Ratings that finds New Jersey’s public employee pension fund is the worst-funded in the nation: “For the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018, the most-recent year for which records are available, the public pension fund had enough money to cover just 38.4 percent of what it needs to provide retirement benefits to some 800,000 current and future retired workers.”

NJ.com: By being fairer, has New Jersey’s economy grown stronger?

In an op-ed published on NJ.com, Tom Byrne, a former chairman of the state Democratic Party and a former chairman of the N.J. State Investment Council, takes issue with Governor Murphy’s recent assertions that New Jersey’s economy has grown stronger under his policies:

“In a recent op-ed, Gov. Phil Murphy stated that “New Jersey is getting stronger” but cited no data in support of that claim. In fact, the most recent data shows New Jersey tied for dead last among states in the mainland U.S. in economic growth so far this year.”

Bloomberg: N.J. Is ‘In Worse Shape’ Than Any Other State, Senate Chief Says

In an interview with Elise Young and Danielle Moran of Bloomberg, Senate President Steve Sweeney offered an ominous warning on the state of New Jersey’s finances: “Why am I yelling fire in a crowded theater and everyone else is saying that we’re fine,” Sweeney said. “We’re not. And it’s going to go up in flames. I would rather not go down in memory as the guy that told everyone the pension system was going to collapse and be found that I was correct.”

Bloomberg reported that the state’s retirement system had about $82 billion of assets in 2018, only 38% of what it needs to cover checks that are owed in the decades ahead. That’s lower than any other state system in the U.S.

TaxNotes.com: New Jersey Lawmakers Contemplate Multistate Incentives Truce

Garden State Initiative’s president Regina Egea was interviewed by TaxNotes.com’s Lauren Loricchio on the concept of New Jersey entering into a multistate tax incentives truce:

“However, Regina Egea, president of the conservative think tank Garden State Initiative, was skeptical that such a compact could work, pointing out that the Kansas-Missouri compact is regional. "I haven't seen anything that would indicate that [Kansas and Missouri] think there's enough commonality of interest that they would expand that to the state level," she told Tax Notes August 16.

Egea said she can't imagine why Cuomo or Wolf would support such a truce because they have more favorable tax environments for businesses. "As long as we insist on keeping our tax rates so high, we'll be required — just to level the playing field — to use incentives," she said. “

NJ.com: Tax Foundation: N.J. is suing over the SALT cap to enable tax avoidance, help high earners

In an op-ed published on NJ.com, Jared Walczak, the director of state policy at the Tax Foundation, takes apart the latest lawsuit filed by high tax states against the IRS on the SALT deduction cap:

“…this lawsuit may be more about posturing than law. It’s about supposedly progressive states trying to shield their high earners from the consequence of their own state tax laws, or at least about looking like they’re trying to do so. It’s a stunt in service to a shell game. Your tax dollars at work.”

NJBiz.com: Garden State Initiative projects $2B savings in roads and bridges

NJBiz.com reports on GSI’s release of our latest Adding It All Up report focused on achieving savings in New Jersey’s infrastructure investments:

“In the report, GSI identifies three cost savings recommendations for the state: de-layering and consolidation of services; private public partnerships; and modernizing project planning, budgeting and scoring.”

ROI-NJ: GSI analysis: Big gap in benefit cost in public, private sectors in N.J.

On ROI-NJ.com, Emily Bader reports on GSI’s analysis of the gap between public and private sector benefit costs in the US and in New Jersey:

Garden State Initiative on Thursday analyzed the latest employee compensation data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and found major differences in compensation costs between the public and private sectors.

In particular, GSI said government costs for pensions and medical benefits far exceeded the private sector, especially when looking at how New Jersey spends. The analysis said there’s a 50% differential in cost between the state and the rest of the U.S.”

APP.com: More fiscal clouds looming in N.J.

The editorial board of the Asbury Park Press takes Governor Phil Murphy to task for allowing the arbitration cap for uniformed services to expire and sees it as an example of his indifference to taxpayers and the state’s looming fiscal crisis:

“…Murphy not only has failed to provide significant tax relief, he has done nothing to address the state’s structural financial problems, made worse by his refusal to do what is necessary to rein in public employee pension and health benefits costs. We are one recession away from a fiscal disaster.”

Wall Street Journal: No Millionaire’s Tax in New Jersey

In an editorial, the Wall Street Journal credits New Jersey’s legislative leaders, specifically Senate President Steve Sweeney, for resisting Governor Phil Murphy’s calls for a extended “millionaire’s tax”. The Journal’s editorial board wrote:

“For a second time, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed a state budget without the “millionaire’s tax” he has been pitching since his 2017 election. Weary New Jerseyites can’t yet breathe a sigh of relief. But their Legislature—unlike in Illinois or Connecticut—seems to realize that it’s possible to run out of other people’s money.“

NJ Spotlight: FISCAL 2021 BUDGET COULD BE A BEAR IF MURPHY, SWEENEY STICK TO THEIR GUNS

With the Fiscal Year 2020 state budget barely in the rear-view mirror, NJ Spotlight’s John Reitmeyer takes a look at the lingering issues that will impact the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, including some ominous numbers regarding the state’s public employee pension payment obligations:

“High on the list of rising costs will be another big increase in funding for the public-worker pension system. A record $3.8 billion contribution was just written into the fiscal year 2020 budget.

The contribution for the FY2021 budget is scheduled to be around $4.5 billion, and at the moment there’s no plan in place to cover that hefty increase.”

NJ Spotlight: NJ’S MINIMUM WAGES RISES TO $10 TODAY IN FIRST STEP TOWARD $15

On July 1st, New Jersey’s minimum wage rose to $10 per hour, part of the state’s incremental increase to $15 per hour. NJ Spotlight’s Colleen O’Dea, included GSI’s president Regina Egea’s analysis in her report:

“For many who operate on narrow profit margins, the employer has two realistic options: reduce staff hours and headcount, or raise prices,” she (Egea) said. “We will be watching with interest the state’s employment reports in coming months to analyze the jobs numbers in the industries that employ minimum wage workers, like retail, for example.”

ROI-NJ: Murphy signs $38B budget, but line-item vetoes $48.5M from Legislature’s document

In an ROI-NJ report, Anjalee Khemlani includes GSI’s president Regina Egea’s comments in a report on Governor Phil Murphy’s signing of the state’s FY2020 budget:

Garden State Initiative President Regina Egea applauded the bipartisanship of the budget — avoiding a shutdown of state government.

“For the first time in recent memory, widespread and bipartisan agreement that our state taxes too much determined the content of our state budget,” she said.

“Approving a budget without tax increases with yet higher spending represents a meaningful step, but leaves unfinished business in order to restore our state as a place where both parents and their children can afford to live. This incremental success must spur more bipartisan action this year to address our state’s addiction to spending. A budget that held the line on taxes in 2020 should serve as an impetus to build a 2021 budget that actually reduces spending and passes on savings to taxpayers.””

NJ.com: N.J. Democrats scrap Murphy’s millionaires tax in budget, setting up showdown and possible shutdown

Legislative leaders plan to introduce a budget proposal that omits every tax increase the Governor Murphy has been seeking according to a report on NJ.com from statehouse reporters Samantha Marcus and Brent Johnson. Specifically, the plan rejects Murphy’s so-called “Millionaire’s Tax” and “Corporate Responsibility Tax” along with an increase to fees on gun permits and the tax on ammunition.

Bloomberg: Florida Is the Big Winner as the Wealthy Move Out of Northern States

As Governor Phil Murphy aggressively lobby’s for another tax increase, this time an expansion of the so-called “Millionaire’s Tax”, a new analysis by Bloomberg News found that the Garden State is among the top 3 states in outmigration of wealth. Last year, New Jersey saw a net exodus of $3.4 billion in wealth, ranking only behind fellow high-tax states, New York and Illinois.

NJ Spotlight: New Jersey Gets Lowest Rating Among States for Recession Preparedness

A new report from Moody’s finds that New Jersey is one of 2 states, the other being Illinois, ill-prepared financially for a future recession citing pension liabilities and budget reserves. John Reitmeyer of NJ Spotlight writes on the policy implications for New Jersey as the state enters the pivotal stage of budget negotiations for FY 2020.