How New Jersey faces up to a massive budget gap will determine the quality of life in our state, and the fairness and opportunity provided to our citizens. New Jersey needs a common-sense budgetand common-sense tax policiesthat protect our communities and invest in our workers, students, seniors and families.
- Slashing education, health care and human services is NOT the answer. It robs people of their full potential and weakens the economy-hurting us all. Every penny the state spends in these areas provides a service or buys a product, helping to boost the economy.
- Reducing transportation funding, college assistance, arts funding, public safety and environmental protection is NOT the answer. It threatens the quality of our lives and undermines New Jersey’s ability to attract the good jobs people need to make a living and support their families.
- Raising property taxes and freezing broad based state taxes are NOT the answer. Cuts in school funding and aid to local governments only shift costs to homeowners and renters by hiking property taxes that hit lower- and middle-income New Jerseyans hardest. Higher college tuition and assorted fee increases just mean the tax increase for average New Jerseyans is hidden it's still a tax increase.
- Continuing tax cuts for the wealthy is NOT the answer. The wealthiest New Jerseyans pay a LOWER percentage of their income in major state and local taxes than do middle- or lower-income New Jerseyans. New Jersey's tax system is upside down and backwards and huge state and federal tax cuts make it worse by giving the wealthiest even more money. Instead, we need to cut state income taxes for the lowest-income New Jerseyans.
- Waiting is NOT the answer. Things are getting worse and there is no sign of an economic recovery. Available one-shot revenue options have been used up to fill budget holes the last two years. The Legislature and Governor must act now to create recurring streams of revenue.
It's Time To Invest In New Jersey's Families!
Instead of shifting spending to local communities through soaring property taxes and making harmful cuts in services and programs, the Governor and the Legislature should adopt a fair budget that would:
- Capture a portion of the federal tax windfall. Since the federal tax cuts took effect, people making $400,000 a year in New Jersey have saved nearly $8,000 over 3 years. Those making $700,000 have saved nearly $10,000 and those making over $1 million have saved more than $40,000. A modest temporary state income tax increase on the wealthiest families in New Jersey would help preserve vital services, prevent property taxes from soaring higher and help to undo the damage from lopsided state and federal tax cuts that help the wealthiest at everyone else’s expense. Affected taxpayers will still see a substantial cut in their overall tax bill while doing their fair share during these tough times.
- Tell the federal government to help states recover from the recession and September 11th. The Governor and Legislature should encourage Washington to increase federal payments for Medicaid and economic recovery. Congress is currently considering direct aid to states and localities to help them through current budget crises. We must work with our Congressional delegation to win enactment of this proposal.
- Ensure that municipalities and school districts get adequate funding to avoid further property tax hikes. Last year’s freeze resulted in an average 7% property tax hike across the state. Our communities cannot take that hit again. New Jersey already leads the nation in property taxes. We don’t need to widen that leadwe need fairer revenue alternatives.
Any economic package must provide temporary, short-term stimulus that is fiscally responsible and equitable.
Any such package should include aid to states to help respond to their fiscal crises, and should focus on people who will spend the money now, including those hard hit by the economic downturn.
Further, we need comprehensive prescription drug coverage and full funding of Medicaid for all families and individuals.