By Matt Rooney
Yes, some Trenton Republicans slobbered all over Senate President Steve Sweeney’s recent decision to ‘get religion’ and declare, after many years of supporting higher taxes, that New Jersey is overtaxed. Those of us with memories which go extend back longer than 5 minutes were unimpressed with Sweeney’s corresponding ‘Path to Progress’ reform pitch. It’s too little too late. It’s also disingenuous since Sweeney continues to support higher taxes (just different taxes than Murphy) and job-destroying regulations (the infamous independent contractor bill) at the same damn time.
It was therefore NO surprise whatsoever when over the weekend – mere days before Phil Murphy’s FY 2021 budget speech on Tuesday – Sweeney reversed himself: NJ.com reports he’ll accept a new, expanded millionaire’s tax if Murphy makes a major contribution to the state pension fund.
“I’ve absolutely said ‘no’ for the last two years,” Sweeney to NJ.com on Sunday. “And now, I’m like, look: If you really want a millionaires tax, then let’s pay the pension up, and then we can move forward as a state and make the right kind of investments that we need to make.”
Of course that’s complete bullshit.
Recent IRS data confirmed that dozens of studies and simple observation/common sense have indicated over the course of decades: higher taxes bleed New Jersey of the taxpayers it needs to fund its excess., including a bloated yet underfunded pension system. New Jersey raked in $8.3 billion in new income tax returns between 2017 and 2018 but also lost $11.5 billion during the same period, resulting in a $3.2 billion net loss for the state. That’s more than 8% of the state’s current FY2020 budget. This is the backdrop for FY 2021, and Leftist groups are reportedly petitioning Murphy to spend another $3 billion on assorted other nonsense. More taxpayers (including millionaires) will move, and the pension hole will continue to grow. It’ll expand even more rapidly when the economy inevitably contracts and state revenues take a major hit. That’s always been only a matter of time.
The truth concerning Sweeney?
Gloucester County’s best-known Democrat said what he needed to say in a legislative cycle (2019) to protect his members running in centrist and right-of-center districts. He’s also setting himself up for a future gubernatorial run. His purported dedication to making New Jersey stable again is a ruse.
Only a fool would continue to indulge him by aiding and abetting this fraud on the people of New Jersey.
Save Jersey’s Founder and Blogger-in-Chief, MATT ROONEY is a nationally-noted and respected New Jersey political commentator. When he’s not on-line, radio or television advocating for conservative reform and challenging N.J. power-brokers, Matt is a practicing attorney at the law firm of DeMichele & DeMichele in Haddon Heights (Camden County).