TRENTON — This morning, elected officials, grassroots activists and New Jersey residents held a joint press conference at the State House Annex to unveil a letter urging all State Legislators to pass a millionaire’s tax either as part of Governor Phil Murphy’s proposed 2020 state budget or separately as its own piece of legislation (S1516/A2703).
The letter has been signed by multiple organizations representing consumers, communities, families, small businesses, immigrants, environmental advocacy, and workers from dozens of fields and industries.
A millionaire’s tax would provide $250 million in direct property tax relief and fund many other priorities such as public education, health, environmental protection and infrastructure. Nearly two-thirds of New Jersey residents favor a millionaire’s tax after years of tax breaks benefiting both the wealthy and large corporations.
“Governor Christie vetoed the millionaires tax multiple times, but now we can inject real tax fairness that does right by the many, not the few in this administration,” the groups stated in the letter. “We urge you all to stay true to your promise and support Governor Murphy’s tax fairness proposal that is not only necessary but also supported by New Jerseyans.”
Activist groups present at this morning’s press conference included New Jersey Working Families, New Jersey Main Street Alliance, Our Revolution Essex County, League of Women Voters, New Jersey Citizen Action, ATU, New Jersey Sierra Club, Action Together Camden, Forward Not Back, Central Jersey, and NJ 7 Forward.
Sue Altman, State Director of New Jersey Working Families: “The overwhelming majority of New Jerseyans support a marginal increase in taxation for those who make over a million dollars. This is sound policy — we need a sustainable source of revenue for property tax relief, school funding, NJ Transit — for this year and the future. The same old “June scramble” needs to stop. It’s time to prioritize the needs of the many over the few, and set up a sustainable source of funding. As such, we ask every legislator this question: will you ask your Leadership to post S1516/A2703? If posted, will you vote for it? We can actually isolate JUST the millionaires tax provision, which we already know is exceptionally popular among New Jerseyans. We will hold the Legislature accountable to posting and voting on S1516/A2703 so that budget negotiations can go forward with this popular bill already on the table. Post the bill and get the millionaire’s tax done!”
Raj Bath, Business Representative for New Jersey Main Street Alliance: “Legislators who ignore calls for a millionaire’s tax are ignoring a chance to re-invigorate Main Street New Jersey. New Jersey residents who receive property tax relief and have access to public education, health care and transportation are customers with more money in their pockets. A millionaire’s tax will fund all these key priorities.”
Justin Goldsman, Founder and Chair of Our Revolution Essex County: “If you truly support a millionaires tax and the hundreds of millions of dollars it creates annually, then have the courage to demand the leadership put the millionaires tax up as a single issue bill and sign onto it. Give voters the confidence that their elected officials support the will of the people and democracy, not political grandstanding.”
Sandra Matsen, Legislative Agent at League of Women Voters: “A millionaire’s tax will provide much needed additional income that impacts what we can do in future years — our budget should do more than just get us through the next year.”
Dena Mottola, Associate Director of New Jersey Citizen Action: “New Jersey Citizen Action and other grassroots advocacy groups have been urging legislators to pass a millionaires tax for months. But some legislators are not only ignoring these calls but are trying their best to avoid meeting their constituents about the issue. And it begs the question, whose interests do these legislators serve? Do they stand with the vast majority of New Jerseyans who want and need a millionaires tax? Or are they protecting the very wealthy and well-connected? If our legislators can ignore the will of the people then our democracy in this state is broken.”
James Rosenstein, Lead Organizer at Amalgamated Transit Union: “Whether it is a separate bill or part of the budget, ATU believes a millionaires tax is vital to investing in the middle class with funding public transportation, public education, infrastructure, health care, and so much more that was neglected under the previous administration. Now is the time for legislative leadership to use their power for the benefit of working families and answer the question ‘whose side are you on?’
Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club: “Historically we have supported a millionaire’s tax because we believe in tax fairness. More importantly, we need to get New Jersey’s fiscal house in order so we can have the money for clean energy, cleaning up toxic sites, and other things. Right now with the current budget, DEP is cut 10% for operations. We need to not only restore the agency. We also have less people working in the DEP now than under Christie. It is critical that DEP has enough money to make sure our air is pure, our water is clean, and our parks are open. New Jersey has given away all of these tax cuts and subsidies for businesses when a lot of that money is coming from environmental programs. We need to end that and move New Jersey forward to protect public safety, our environment, and to grow our lives.”
New Jersey Working Families is a grassroots, independent political organization fighting for a government that represents the needs and values of working families. NJWF elects candidates who share progressive values and organizes campaigns to advance racial, social, and economic justice.