NJ Politics Digest: Another Top Dem Warns Against Taxing Millionaires

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo.

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo. Max Pizarro for Observer

Gov. Phil Murphy seems to have his heart set on taxing New Jersey’s highest earners as part of the “tax fairness” component of his progressive agenda.

But the plan can’t seem to gain traction among the other top Democrats in the legislature, who warn that such a tax will only drive millionaires away from the state. That’s not strictly a New Jersey concern; New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has warned of the same thing in his state.

Now one of New Jersey’s top budget watchdogs is weighing in on the matter, warning Murphy to back off the plan.

Senate Budget Chair Paul Sarlo, also a Democrat, warned that a millionaires’ tax is too volatile a source of revenue, according to a report by NJBiz.com. During a downturn, the state has no assurance that top earners will not be among those unemployed, which has happened in the past, legislators warned, according to the report.

Though he did not coming out completely opposed to the tax, Sarlo said the state should be seeking to implement cost saving measures, such as the merger of the state worker and school employee health care plans—a measure pushed by Senate President Steve Sweeney.

Quote of the Day: “Let’s explore every opportunity, every avenue to find cost-saving measures, especially in the area of health care, that will negate the need for the millionaires’ tax. I don’t think anybody disagrees that there is going to be some type of recession in the future, a slight recession. Is the millionaires’ tax really a sustainable revenue, if you were to hit a slight [or] moderate recession?” — State Senator Paul Sarlo.

Did NJ Bail Reform Cause a Surge in Crime? Court Analysis Says No
When New Jersey overhauled its bail system in 2017 and allowed more people to remain free while awaiting trial, some critics predicted a spike in crime.
The Record Read more

Millionaire’s Tax Could Be Too Volatile a Revenue Source, Top Budget Lawmaker Says
The passage of the governor’s proposed millionaire’s tax, even now a long-shot, could be a “volatile” source of revenue for the state, especially with the potential looming for an economic downturn in the next few years, a top budget lawmaker said Tuesday.
NJBiz Read more

These Are the Highest-Paid Lobbyists in NJ
Optimus Partners, whose clients include utilities, hospitals, casinos and Uber, is one of the largest lobbying firms in the state, and its well-connected partners earn a lot of money for their influence.
NJ.com Read more

How Much More Will It Cost to Stay in NJ?
The next three months may determine how much more it will cost you to live in New Jersey.
Gov. Phil Murphy continues to push for higher taxes and, at least for now, democratic leaders of the Senate and Assembly continue to resist those calls.
NJ101.5 Read more

This NJ Mayor Says Maybe We Should Tax Commuters From NYC to Retaliate for Congestion Pricing
New Jersey drivers are used to heavy traffic getting into Manhattan but “congestion pricing” is something different, and potentially even more aggravating.
NJ.com Read more

Murphy Reverses Christie Again, and Green Groups Are Beaming
Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday reversed yet another policy put in place by his Republican predecessor.
NJ.com Read more

As Overdoses Rise, New Jersey Removes a Barrier to Treatment for Opioid Addiction
Starting this week, Medicaid recipients in New Jersey no longer have to wait for approval from an insurance company before a doctor can prescribe them opioid-addiction medication.
Inquirer Read more

Why Gottheimer’s Charitable Deduction Plan Has New Backers and Chance to Give NJ Tax Relief
U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer has seemingly been calling out the states that get more back from the federal government than they give in taxes.
ROI-NJ Read more

Editorial: New Era for NJ Transit Can Start With New Board
The suspended Atlantic City rail line remains sidelined until May 24, but if there’s some hope that South Jersey users will finally be heard by New Jersey Transit, it may come from Gov. Phil Murphy’s new nominees for its board of directors.
NJ.com Read more

Elizabeth Police Boss Uses Racist, Sexist Words About Staff, Complaint Says
The director of the Elizabeth Police Department is under investigation for using racist and sexist terms to refer to staff, according to an attorney who filed an official complaint on behalf of officers.
NJ101.5 Read more

NJ Politics Digest: Another Top Dem Warns Against Taxing Millionaires