Baby and pet essentials would be tax exempt under McCarthy Patrick proposals

Baby and pet essentials would be tax exempt under McCarthy Patrick proposals

Bethanne McCarthy Patrick

TRENTON, N.J. – Residents struggling amid rising costs of living could find some relief in bills Assemblywoman Bethanne McCarthy Patrick introduced this week to make certain baby and pet supplies exempt from the state’s sales tax. 

“The only permanent way to make New Jersey more affordable is to cut taxes. Lowering the price of baby and pet essentials by exempting them from the state sales tax is a step in the right direction, and acknowledges that there are certain basic costs that come with raising a family here,” McCarthy Patrick (R-Salem) said.

One study reported that because New Jersey is so expensive, nearly one-third of residents did not have sufficient resources to afford basic necessities. Garden State families need to make 300% more than the federal poverty level to live without public or private support. This means a family of four making under $90,000 a year is living in poverty in New Jersey.

“A baby adds more than $26,000 to a family’s budget and a dog can increase costs by about $1,400 annually. Parents and pet owners deserve a break on purchases that feed and protect their families,” she added. “Savings on the sales tax can really add up on large purchases like car seats, which moms and dads are required to buy multiple times in their child’s lifetime.”

While New Jersey exempted diapers and baby formula from the state sales tax nearly 40 years ago, car seats, bottles, cribs and strollers are all subject to the 6.625% tax. The state also imposes the sales tax on all pet supplies including food and medications.

“Pets are part of the family. Their loyalty and unconditional love are priceless, but basics like food and medicine can strain finances. This measure eases some of that stress for residents with four-legged family members,” she said.

Under McCarthy Patrick’s bills, baby cribs, car seats, nursing bottles and strollers (A5453), as well as pet food and medication (A5454) would be exempt from sales tax.

“Keeping families healthy and fed in New Jersey shouldn’t be such a burden or taxable,” McCarthy Patrick said.