NJ Politics Digest: Another Grim Take on the State’s Economic Outlook

Yikes, the economic outlook in New Jersey is pretty grim—and it's not going to get any better.

The median household income in New Jersey was $76,126 in 2016. Pixabay

Yikes, the economic outlook in New Jersey is pretty grim—and it’s not going to get any better.

While that might be the gut feeling of many in the Garden State, a new report puts numbers to their fears, according to a piece on ROI-NJ.

According to the “Rich States, Poor States” report by the American Legislative Exchange Council, New Jersey is ranked 49th out of 50 in economic performance and 46th for economic outlook.

The economic performance rank is based on cumulative GDP growth and non-farm employment growth between 2006 and 2016 and the number of people leaving the state between 2007 and 2016.

“These variables are highly influenced by state policy,” the report notes.

The ecomomic outlook ranking is based on 15 “important state policy variables,” including various tax burdens, the ratio of state employees to residents and debt service as a share of tax revenue.

In the ROI-NJ report, representatives of state business groups say the rankings are no surprise, given the state’s notoriously high tax burden and regulations on business. They point to the 516,326 people fleeing New Jersey in the nine years covered by the report and warn things will only get worse as state Democrats plan new tax hikes and business regulations.

“At the same time as this very negative economic report is released, our legislators are piling costly labor mandates on the backs of small businesses such as paid leave, and a proposal for a $15 minimum wage,” Laurie Ehlbeck, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, told ROI-NJ. “Ill-advised policies like these will only make the Garden State die on the vine as other states bear fruit.”

As Gov. Phil Murphy pushes for the $1.5 billion in new taxes included in his budget, NJ.com on Sunday tried to break down what those increases might mean for New Jersey residents.

The report cites figures from New Jersey Policy Perspective on how increasing the state sales tax back to seven percent—it was cut to 6.625 percent when legislators raised the state gas tax by 23 cents per gallon—would impact families. The median household income in New Jersey was $76,126 in 2016, meaning the average family would pay about $86 more per year, according to the calculations.

Murphy’s other tax proposals include hiking taxes on high earners, on internet purchases, e-cigarettes and regular tobacco, ride and house sharing services.

Murphy, who contends people won’t mind paying more taxes if they feel they are getting their money’s worth, wants to use some of the new tax money to increase school funding, which should help reduce the property tax burden in some districts.

Quote of the Day: “So they sent the superintendent of the Port Authority to Newark to meet me for lights and sirens into Manhattan to make sure I got there in time.” — Radio host Rush Limbaugh, bragging about the special treatment he claims to have received when scheduled to speak at the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation gala earlier this month.

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