We who call New Jersey home love our state. Why do we love her? Just to ask that question brings to mind an adage, “If you love someone or something for any reason, you don’t really love it; if you love anything for any reason, and that reason comes to an end, then the love ends, which means it was never love in the first place.”
We love New Jersey simply because we love New Jersey - not because she is beautiful, nor for any reason at all. She is just our home, and we have developed a deep attachment over the years. Does this mean we are blind to the problems? Of course not. Because we are not blind, we see our problems and we face them.
The fact is, our dear state has lost her way, and when one loses his way, he goes back to the “Y" where he took the wrong turn and tries again. New Jersey has become one of the least affordable states for her citizens to live in. Many grin and bear it, but many high-tail it to points elsewhere. How could they do it? How could they turn their backs on their state, their family, their friends? How could they pull up stakes and start all over again, building deep relationships which require a lifetime? In fact, with modern transportation, one doesn’t have to break those bonds nowadays. It is ever easier to “be gone” without actually “leaving.”
But what about the majority who can't leave their jobs, or, for whatever reason, can't spend half the year in Florida to escape New Jersey’s taxes? What are they to do? Answer: work to bring our state back to the “Y" where we lost our way. What “Y" or “Ys” specifically am I talking about? The Tax Foundation studies say, the states with the best business tax environments usually have lower personal and corporate income tax rates. Far and away, taxes appear to be the biggest factor driving people out.
How does The Tax Foundation rate New Jersey against the other states?
• 2019 State Business Tax Climate Index: 50th - the worst
• Rank on Corporate Taxes: 47th
• Rank on Sales Taxes: 45th
• Rank on Property Taxes: 48th
Note, The Tax Foundation says, the lowest taxes tend to follow states with the best business tax environment. From that we can deduce, if we bring the businesses, we bring the jobs, and with that healthy employment situation, you have lots of people paying taxes, so each person’s tax burden is reduced. Conversely, the more we drive people out, the share of the tax burden increases for the rest of us. I know this from personal experience, having had a business in Argentina. Their labor laws were geared so generously toward the employee and against business that companies could not thrive, and Argentina’s economy is a basket case.
By comparison, our nation’s overall population grew 5.7 percent from 2010 to 2018, but our state experienced less than half that rate, only 2.7 percent. Healthy things grow, and with all that we have to offer, we cannot even achieve “average.” In fact we cannot even achieve half of average.
Until we come to grips with the fact that our beloved state has a problem, we cannot address the issue. This difficulty has been growing for a number of years due to countless factors. One of the latest to come to light is organized labor’s influence in our Legislature. Charles Wowkanech, of Ocean City, and president of the N.J. State AFL-CIO, did us all a favor in a piece he wrote in the Press of Atlantic City Feb. 24, entitled, “Union politicians helped achieve labor’s progressive NJ policy goals.” In it he unabashedly explained to us labor’s efforts to manage New Jersey’s government to achieve labor’s goals, via a sustained effort to populate the Legislature with union members. New Jersey government should not be labor-friendly nor labor-unfriendly. We elect our representatives to serve “everyone” equally, for the wellbeing of “everyone.” Bias toward labor or business shortchanges both, and serves neither.
Another regards our new governor: he is intent on passing laws ostensibly to better the lot of working people – but it does the opposite. He needs to undertake efforts to make New Jersey business-friendly once again, so we can get our taxes in line; lower taxes will best serve New Jersey workers. Murphy’s formula may win over voters, but it has destroyed governments everywhere it has existed for any sustained period of time.
We are smart and we are applied, and our fundamentals are sound. At the end of the day, we can and will address our issues. Viva New Jersey.