The governor’s actions today – the rejection of very modest tax increases on the two constituencies that have benefited from lower taxes over the past five years, as well as the decision to continue the de facto tax hike on half a million working poor families who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit – are disappointing but not surprising. While the tax changes vetoed by the governor were certainly no panacea to New Jersey’s budget crisis, they would have been a responsible first step and would have made the state’s tax code slightly fairer and more equitable.
More importantly, the current budget crisis has made perfectly clear that New Jersey’s leaders take a long, hard, mature look at the state’s financial situation and come up with a responsible plan for systemic changes that bring stability, predictability, coherence and fairness to state taxes, spending and investment. The knee-jerk “no new taxes” ideology on display from some of our leaders, both inside and outside the State House, makes coming up with such a plan virtually impossible, and thus puts the state’s economic future very much at risk.
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