A tax by any other name

Democrats from both houses of the Legislature met this week at the Trenton Marriott to discuss a recent poll fielded by the party and its impact on their message for the coming year.

According to sources familiar with the meeting, much of the talk centered on the party’s tax cut plan and its popularity among potential voters.

According to a source familiar with the poll, the Democrats see an opening in the recent battle over competing tax cut plans.  The party’s message touting property tax cuts resonates with the public to a greater degree than Gov. Chris Christie’s proposal for an income tax cut, the source said gthe poll showed. All property owners identify with high property taxes, while few New Jerseyans fret over the size of their income tax bill, the source said.

Also included in the poll were questions on the millionaires tax, which is popular among residents when couched as closing loopholes that allow millionaires to pay lower taxes than middle class residents.  A source said Democrats will attempt to frame the issue as rolling back the tax “break” millionaires received two years ago, when the legislature allowed the millionaires tax in place at the time to sunset.

“When you call it a tax, people don’t respond as well,” said a source who attended the meeting at the Marriott.  “When you couch it as closing loopholes or as a fairness issue, they respond much better.”

The provision lapsed under a Democrat controlled legislature and the party has twice tried to reinstate the tax, but has been thwarted in both attempts by a Christie veto.

A tax by any other name