Sweeney: Systemic Government Changes Needed to Make New Jersey Competitive and Affordable
‘We cannot tax our way out of this fiscal crisis,’ Senate Presidents tells NJBIA
MONROE TOWNSHIP – Senate President Steve Sweeney today told business leaders that major changes in New Jersey’s fiscal policy and government structure are needed to make the state competitive and affordable, and vowed that the Legislature’s leadership will have the political will to make the necessary changes.
“We cannot tax our way out of this fiscal crisis,” Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said at a New Jersey Business and Industry Association forum. “The problems we face – from pensions to school funding, from health care costs to property taxes – are deep-rooted and complex, and the solutions are politically difficult. But I promise you that we will have the political will on a bipartisan basis to make the changes we need to make New Jersey competitive and affordable.”
Senator Sweeney praised the ongoing efforts of the economists, academics and tax policy experts serving on the Economic and Fiscal Policy Working Group he convened under the bipartisan leadership of Senate Budget Chair Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sussex) and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden) to find solutions to the state’s long-term fiscal crisis. Assembly Budget Chair Eliana Pintor-Marin (D-Essex) and Senators Anthony Bucco Sr. (R-Morris) and Dawn Addiego (R-Burlington) are also serving on the panel.
“This initiative grew out of our concern over the impact of the federal tax law, which unfairly targets high-cost states like New Jersey by virtually eliminating the personal income tax deduction for state and local income, property and sales taxes,” said Senator Sweeney. “We are doing everything we can to reduce the impact, including developing legislation to enable S corporations, LLCs and partnerships to pay the state income tax liabilities of their owners and partners. These businesses will be able to deduct $35 billion in taxes as a result of our work.
“But we realize that it isn’t enough to just respond to the federal tax law. We have to do more – a lot more. Our panel will be coming out with a series of recommendations that will bolster our underfunded pension systems, control health care costs, hold down property taxes and ensure that government services are delivered with efficiency and cost-effectiveness at the level of government that makes the most sense.”
Senator Sweeney said the panel is undertaking a long-overdue examination of the adequacy, fairness and competitiveness of New Jersey’s state and local tax structure, and benchmarking New Jersey tax levels against other states.
“We are committed to making New Jersey competitive and affordable in order to attract jobs and businesses, bolster housing values and make our state a desirable location for millennials to create start-ups, for young families to choose to raise their children, and for senior citizens to retire.”