We are reprinting this op-ed which Assembly Minority Leader Bramnick sent to us, which was featured in the New Jersey League of Municipalities:
Op-Ed: Solving New Jersey’s Tax Problem
By Assemblyman Jon Bramnick
To start the new decade I hope that tax relief, rather than tax hikes – of which there were $3 billion over the past two years – will take precedence. Recently released IRS data shows that $3.2 billion of income moved out of the state last year. That brings the total to $28 billion of lost income since 2005. New Jersey can’t afford to wait. The time to act is now.
Trenton Democrats have controlled the Legislature since 2002. That is 18 years of broken promises to reduce property taxes. Nearly two decades of politically convenient quotes but failure to act. To make matters worse under Governor Murphy’s administration and the Democrat legislature there is argument over which taxes to raise.
When the Assembly reconvened this fall, after a months-long recess the Democrat majority once again told New Jersey what their priorities are and it was astonishing. They prioritized giving convicted felons the ability to vote, providing undocumented immigrants financial assistance and drivers licenses. Nothing to solve New Jersey’s tax problem.
The Democrats in the legislature passed a billion dollar tax hike on businesses while the Governor is pushing for an income tax and sales tax hike. These proposals ignore the core issue: New Jersey’s high taxes.
Thousands of New Jersey families are fleeing our beloved state every year. That means families are being separated from one another. A visit with grandparents that were once a car ride away now require a flight. This troubling trend must be stopped.
We must address housing affordability by actually making existing housing more affordable. That starts by lowering property taxes.
New Jersey leads the nation in foreclosures, and has for year. Court-mandate high-density housing is not the solution to this problem. It is a terrible irony that such housing actually makes the cost of living less affordable.
Municipalities must raise property taxes to prepare for an influx of new students, more police, infrastructure improvements, and other expenses that towns struggle to keep funded. The families and people who live in these communities do not get a say in what happens in their town, but they end up paying for it.
Not only should we rein-in property taxes for the first time since Gov. Chris Christie implemented the two-percent cap but that same principal should be applied to state government. State spending is increasing faster than future revenues will be able to keep up. While towns must maintain fiscal responsibility by keeping tax levies below two-percent, the first two budgets by the Democrats under one-party rule has increased state spending by 12 percent.
Under the Democrats one-party rule the cry of New Jersey residents has gone ignored in favor of extreme policies favoring the convicted over the taxpayer. Last year, a NJBIA-Rutgers poll found, once again, that property taxes are by far the greatest concern of New Jerseyans and people don’t think the state government did enough to relieve the financial pressure of taxes.
In 2020 I hope the people of New Jersey are no longer ignored. That the Democrats indifferent attitude toward the state’s tax burden will change. My entire time in the legislature I have fought to make our state more affordable and I still believe it is possible. The Assembly Republican caucus has many proposals to do so and we stand ready to work across the aisle to have answer the taxpayers concerns.