Monday, June 12, 2006

Taxing Us to Death, Revisited

Enlighten New Jersey notes today that New Jersey Democrats are Not Satisfied With $16,667 Per Person In Taxes.

Taxpayers want Trenton to cut state spending, not come up with new ways to extract money out of their wallets. Shifting taxes around and identifying new things to tax does not solve the problem.

The people of New Jersey already pay more than their fair of taxes, no matter what Governor Jon Corzine, Senator Bob Menendez and all the other state Democrats might have you believe. These numbers don’t lie. New Jersey’s per capita tax of $16,667 is the second highest in the nation. And that's before Corzine’s new hospital, sales and other proposed taxes.

The specific numbers to which Enlighten refers were provided by the Tax Foundation. In addition to the raw dollars, where New Jersey ranks second behind Connecticut, they also have a table showing the state, local, and federal tax burdens as a percentage of income, along with a projected "Tax Freedom Day" for each year starting in 1970. Back then, NJ's workers had "paid off" their taxes by April 18th; it now sits at May 6th. We rank 3rd in total tax burden across the country, and have only been out of the top five twice since 1982.

An interesting comparison from that table is the difference between New Jersey's state/local tax burden and the average across the country. Back in the days of Brendan Byrne and Tom Kean, New Jersey was consistently close to the national average, as shown in the graph below.

Over the long haul of the data available, New Jersey has on average been less than 1/10th of 1% higher than the national average; under Governor Florio, however, we were significantly more taxed than the rest of the country, to the tune of nearly 3/4%. The "Whitman tax cuts" our liberal friends like to rail about were really just a return to the mainstream of America from Florio's confiscatory scheme.

Governor Corzine, by proposing to increase our sales tax 16.7%, seeks to return to the Florio model of taxing us to death. The real solution is to cut total spending, not increase it by $2 billion and demand more tax money to cover a manufactured "deficit."

Tags: New Jersey, Taxes