New Poll: Most New Jerseyans Want Bold Tax Reform

TRENTON (May 10, 2018)  – New Jersey voters continue to show strong support for new revenue sources to fix the state’s broken tax code and boost funding for important public investments, according to a new public opinion poll commissioned by New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP), an independent, non-partisan think-tank.

Robust, bipartisan voter support for raising taxes on the highest-income New Jerseyans and reinstating the estate tax has not wavered since the federal tax plan went into effect, and voters show broad support for closing tax loopholes on multistate corporations. As state budget negotiations on Governor Murphy’s new tax proposals are underway, the findings of this poll show that New Jerseyans favor making the tax code more progressive by having the state’s wealthiest individuals and corporations pay their fair share.

A millionaire’s tax proposal that was passed five times during the previous administration may be losing support among legislators, but not among voters. Seven out of ten likely voters in New Jersey support a new tax on incomes over $1 million. Since the new federal tax plan went into effect, New Jersey voters’ support for a millionaires tax remains strong.

“This polling demonstrates voters’ strong support for making the state and local tax system more equitable, especially after the recent changes to the federal tax code, which voters believe to be a handout to the rich and well-connected,” said Sheila Reynertson, Senior Policy Analyst at New Jersey Policy Perspective. “Most New Jerseyans want to see renewed investment in public education and transit infrastructure, and they want the state’s highest earners to chip in to help the state make the kind of investments that expand the middle class and help narrow the economic gap.

The poll, which follows a similar poll NJPP commissioned in the fall, shows that the new federal tax law hasn’t changed New Jerseyans’ mind about the need for tax increases to help get New Jersey back on track.

“Across the country, including in New Jersey, wealthy individuals and corporations have used their lobbying power to skirt paying their fair share,” said Michael Leachman, Director of State Fiscal Research at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “This poll shows that most New Jersey voters support having the wealthy pay their fair share and see bold tax reform as an opportunity for the state to re-invest in great schools, healthy communities, and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. Research and the experiences of other states show that this is a smart strategy to grow the economy, and there is no better time than now, given the extraordinary windfall the wealthy and corporations received from the recent federal tax changes.” 

Some of the key findings include:

  • Seven in ten New Jersey voters (70 percent) support raising the income tax rate on households making $1 million or more a year – including 69 percent of independents and 51 percent of Republicans. The poll also found similar, bipartisan support (67 percent) for raising income taxes on the top 5 percent of households.
  • 49 percent of New Jersey voters say they would be more likely to support their state representative if they supported raising taxes on millionaires, while only 20 percent say they are less likely to do so.
  • Over two-thirds of New Jersey voters (69 percent) support closing tax loopholes used by multistate corporations, including 71 percent of independents and 61 percent of Republicans.
  • A majority of voters (61 percent) support restoring the New Jersey’s estate tax on heirs inheriting $1 million or more.
  • New Jersey voters also strongly support a 3 percent surcharge on businesses with more than $1 million in net income (by a 26-point margin) and rolling back the recent reduction in the state sales tax (by a 13-point margin).
  • Voters oppose the new federal tax law by a margin of 14 points, with a clear majority (59 percent) believing it will mostly help the wealthy and corporations.

The poll of 600 likely 2021 New Jersey voters, conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, was conducted April 25-30 using professional interviewers.

The full poll results can be viewed here: http://www.njpp.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Baseline-NJ-Statewide-Tax-Poll-April-2018.pdf