Letter: ATR Urges New Jersey Legislators to Stop Gov. Murphy’s $1.7B Tax Hike Proposal

June 7, 2018

Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney
935 Kings Highway
Suite 400
West Deptford, NJ 08086

Dear Senate President Sweeney, Members of the New Jersey State Senate, and Assembly,

I write on behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and our supporters across New Jersey to urge you to oppose the $1.7 billion in taxes and fees proposed by Governor Murphy as part of his executive budget.

New Jersey families and businesses are already struggling under the burden of the worst business tax climate in the entire country, the highest property taxes, a top income tax rate higher than those in neighboring states, and a state and local tax burden ranking in the top 5 in the nation.

These costs are crushing New Jerseyans, between 2005-2014 the state lost over 2 million residents representing $18 billion in income, according to the New Jersey Business & Industry Association. Governor Murphy’s plan would make the situation worse by passing the buck for the state’s unsustainable spending to overburdened taxpayers.

A regressive, $581 million sales tax hike would hit low-and-middle-income residents the hardest, and make life more expensive for every New Jersey resident. Expanding the sales tax to sharing economy services like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb, makes them more expensive for hard-working New Jerseyans who will foot the bill.  

Expanding the state’s internet sales tax to apply to out-of-state merchants is yet another policy that would cost Garden State residents, making online shopping more expensive. By making small stores that have no presence in New Jersey remit taxes, it breaks down protections against interstate taxation, and forces online retailers to take on additional processing burdens.

The $765 million “millionaire’s tax” hike will push more high earners and job creators out of the state. It was Governor Murphy himself who voiced concerns about federal reforms to state and local tax deductions leading wealthier taxpayers to pay more, and move out of state. Especially now that the IRS says it will not allow state charitable entities as a tax workaround, the Governor should listen to his own concerns.

Governor Murphy has proposed taxes on vaping products at rates that seem to have been made up out of thin air. The unserious policymaking stands in stark contrast to the very serious consequences facing vaping stores and customers should these taxes pass. The industry in New Jersey, and the jobs, and economic activity that come with it, would be at risk of dying under these taxes.

Before state leaders can pursue policies that make New Jersey more affordable, and attractive as a place for families and businesses to build a future, lawmakers must stop making the tax climate worse. Stopping Governor Murphy’s reckless tax hikes, under your leadership, would send a powerful message that the legislature is considering New Jersey’s taxpayers.

ATR stands ready to support efforts to defeat the Governor’s tax hikes. If you have any questions, please contact State Projects Director Doug Kellogg at [email protected].


Grover Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform