NJ Politics Digest: NJ Residents Feel Overtaxed, Disapprove of Budget Plans

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy delivering the 2019 New Jersey State of the State address in the Assembly Chambers at the New Jersey State House in Trenton.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy delivering the 2019 New Jersey State of the State address in the Assembly Chambers at the New Jersey State House in Trenton. Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

It’s the kind of news that would surprise no one but those in power in New Jersey: Residents here feel overtaxed, think there needs to be structural reform of public employee benefits, and don’t approve of how state leaders are handling the budget.

Those were the findings of a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll, according to NJ101.5, and they could spell bad news for Gov. Phil Murphy, who has defended raising multiple taxes in the state, claiming that residents won’t mind paying more because they feel they are getting their money’s worth in state services.

Specifically, 82% of residents feel they pay too much in taxes for what they get in return, according to the report. The poll also finds about 80 percent of respondents feel somewhat or very dissatisfied with how state government is trying to make the state more affordable.

More bad news for Murphy is that 77% of residents say the tax is unfair, while 79% are unhappy with their property taxes and 62% aren’t happy about the state income tax rate. In total, 58% of residents think the current level of that tax is reasonable—a number sure to change if it, too increases.

The New Jersey Business and Industry Association, which collaborated on the poll, said the message from residents is clear: Murphy and other state leaders need to get serious about making structural changes to New Jersey spending to reduce the burden on residents.

That includes making changes to public employee benefits—a move that Murphy, who is closely allied with state unions, has been loathe to undertake.

“Our residents recognize that we have a pension crisis in the state of New Jersey, but they’re saying that enough is enough in terms of asking me, a resident, for more money to fund it. We need structural reform on our benefits,” said Michele Siekerka, the president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.

Quote of the Day: “The message for our policy makers and our leaders today is that we need structural reform and we need it now. We can’t tax and spend our way out of our affordability crisis in New Jersey today,” — Michele Siekerka, the president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.

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NJ Politics Digest: NJ Residents Feel Overtaxed, Disapprove of Budget Plans