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The Top Policy Issues in New Jersey

By Ralph Albert Thomas, CPA (DC), CGMA posted 05-06-2016 12:17 PM

  

The legislative news and tracking website CQ Roll Call recently asked local reporters and policy observers one question: “What are the top 5 policy issues in your state?”

According to Matt Arco of The Star-Ledger, New Jersey’s top 5 policy issues are:

  1. Pensions: No consensus as pension problem grows
  2. Transportation: The well has nearly run dry
  3. Budget/Taxes: All silent on the tax front
  4. Gambling: The tale of Atlantic City
  5. Elections: A lame duck governor with little support

Not surprisingly, the NJCPA has taken positions on several of these policy issues. Here’s a summary:

PENSIONS

The NJCPA opposes a constitutional amendment that would require annual public employee pension payments when the legislation comes up for another vote later this year. SCR 184 and ACR 3 would mandate that New Jersey make the required pension payments each year no matter their cost and regardless of economic conditions. If the voters approve this constitutional amendment, the state would be saddled with a mandate that requires extra spending without identifying any source of that funding. Additionally, a constitutional amendment would make pension funding a super priority taking precedence over everything else. The NJCPA believes that it should be part of the annual budget debate just like every other appropriation.

TRANSPORTATION

In a fall 2015 economic survey of NJCPA members, 66 percent of respondents definitely or probably agreed that NJ’s gas tax should be raised to fund the state’s Transportation Trust Fund. The NJCPA has called on lawmakers from both parties to craft a compromise agreement that would provide funding for the TTF through an increase in the gas tax that would be dedicated solely to the TTF.

BUDGET/TAXES

The NJCPA has joined with other pro business and taxpayer groups in supporting “death tax reform.” S1728, sponsored by Senators Paul Sarlo and Steven Oroho, would raise the threshold at which New Jersey starts taxing estates to $1 million next year and phase it out entirely by 2021. According to NJCPA members, NJ’s “death taxes” are driving many New Jerseyans to leave the state. A 2015 survey by the NJCPA found that 74 percent of respondents have actually advised clients to relocate to another state due to NJ’s estate and inheritance taxes. A strong majority (85 percent) think these taxes impact the state’s middle class just as much as the affluent.

For more information about the NJCPA’s advocacy efforts, visit njcpa.org/advocacy

To find out the Top 5 policy issues in every state from Alabama to Wyoming, check out the 50 State Project.

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