January 24th, 2011 by NJPP Staff | 2 Comments
Large corporations and small businesses will receive more than $800 million in tax breaks if the governor signs a number of bills passed by the Legislature earlier this month as part of its “Back to Work NJ” package.
January 17th, 2011 by NJPP Staff | No Comments
Today, the nation pauses to honor the life and work of a true American hero, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Because Dr. King practiced the non-violence that he preached when he protested poverty and injustice, his ideas carry a special resonance for many of us today. We will hear Dr. King’s best-known line, “I have a dream” many times today, and we will gladly rejoice in those words and be uplifted by their aspiration.
January 10th, 2011 by NJPP Staff | No Comments
Amid the celebrating about extending federal income tax cuts to everyone in the year ahead, New Jersey is ringing in the new year with a substantial tax increase. Not to worry, though, the only ones who will be paying more in taxes are those who can least afford to pay more.
January 3rd, 2011 by NJPP Staff | No Comments
Every year 40 to 45 percent of American adults make one or more resolutions to change certain behavior patterns. Among the top personal goals are weight loss, getting more exercise and quitting smoking. People also want to act more responsibly with respect to their finances and get out of debt.
December 27th, 2010 by NJPP Staff | No Comments
As the holiday season winds down, many have said thanks by tipping the people who take care of them during the year. These are the people who take care of their children, clean their houses and cut their hair. They are the people who walk their dogs, deliver their newspaper and prepare and serve their food. And, because many of these people are only guaranteed a fraction of the full minimum wage from their employer, they rely on these tips to help them make ends meet.
Tipped workers earn less than one-third the $7.25 an hour New Jersey state and federal law guarantees to minimum wage workers. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act allows employers to pay workers who rely on tips as a major source of income as little as $2.13 an hour, as long as the worker earns at least the full minimum wage when his or her hourly wage and tips are averaged over a full work week. The definition of a tipped worker is one who earns at least $30 a week in tips. That includes waiters and waitresses, bartenders and parking lot attendants whose wages averaged about $11 an hour in 2009 when tips were included.
December 20th, 2010 by NJPP Staff | No Comments
This Christmas, we’ll all be getting a gift from Congress – two more years of Bush-era tax cuts. Never mind that Congress is paying for them with a credit card; they’ll square up the $860 billion bill with the Obama Administration down the road.
The thing is, the biggest gifts went to the wealthiest taxpayers.
A recent analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice, a Washington-based public interest research and advocacy organization, estimates that the compromise plan agreed to between President Obama and Republicans in Congress would give 25 percent of the total value of the tax cuts to the wealthiest 1 percent of all Americans. The President had originally proposed not extending the tax cuts for those with income of more than $250,000 a year.
December 13th, 2010 by NJPP Staff | No Comments
“The companies that join Choose New Jersey contribute $450,000 and we expect a return on that investment.”
That’s a quote about the creation of a new nonprofit corporation attributed to John Bigelow, president of the New Jersey division of American Water, a company that has 2.5 million customers in 17 New Jersey counties.
The “return on investment” American Water expects is clearly lower taxes for corporations and, ultimately, fewer services for the rest of us.
December 6th, 2010 by NJPP Staff | No Comments
Over the next three weeks, Democratic leaders in the Legislature plan to consider 30 bills they claim will “jump-start” the state’s economy and create jobs. A sampling of the first seven of these bills (all of the others haven’t yet been publicly identified) makes clear that “jump-start” means cutting corporate taxes and expanding already generous business tax credits.
Because much of this legislation championed by the Democratic majority is co-sponsored by legislators in the Republican minority, it’s abundantly clear that the bills are on a fast-track through the Assembly and the Senate. The legislation is likely to land on the governor’s desk for his signature by early January.
New Jersey has been down this road before. In fact, we’re still paying for earlier bouts of such foolishness.
November 29th, 2010 by NJPP Staff | No Comments
In New Jersey, opponents of progressive taxation, including Governor Christie, argue that tax rates are too high. Indeed, just a month before he filed his 2009 tax returns, the governor said he intends to lower income tax rates within two years in order to stimulate the economy and make New Jersey more competitive with neighboring states.
But a full understanding of the state’s tax structure shows that New Jersey is already quite competitive. And Governor Christie’s own 2009 New Jersey income tax return shows the truth often isn’t as simple as it seems. Even though their household income pushed them into the top bracket of 10.25%, the Christies actually paid just 6.2% of their family income to the state.
Much can be learned from an income tax return, which is why the average person’s return is generally not available for public scrutiny. Many politicians, however, make their returns public during their time in office to prove they are solid tax-paying citizens – just like the rest of us.
November 22nd, 2010 by NJPP Staff | No Comments
This week, most of us will enjoy a fabulous Thanksgiving feast. Our holiday will be marked by an abundance of family and football and food, all in joyous testament to the good fortune we enjoy. Our tables will be set so full that by Sunday surely there may be recriminations over the monotony — if not the extravagance — of all the leftovers from a 26-pound turkey with all the trimmings.
We must indeed find time this week to give thanks for our good fortune. We must be mindful of the shared spirit of that first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Plantation, nearly 400 years ago, when the Pilgrims celebrated the harvest in community with the Wampanoag people.
And we must also recognize that these times are not plentiful for every one of us.