TRENTON, N.J. – Workers were denied the opportunity to know the amount of taxes that are being withheld from their paychecks today in the Assembly Labor committee.
Assemblyman Robert Auth’s effort to add transparency to a bill (A-3413) that aims to alert employees how their wages are calculated was rejected along party lines.
Assemblywoman Valerie Vanieri-Huttle tried to silence the amendment with a motion to table, but Chairman Joseph Egan allowed a vote on Auth’s amendment. It was voted down along party lines, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans 6-3.
“My amendment would say that any and all amounts withheld on state and federal taxes, printed or otherwise, be represented in red ink so they know that that’s actually being taken away from them,” explained Auth (R-Bergen) to the committee. “We are showing them what they’re getting, how much they’re being paid, how many hours and all this; they need to know how much is being withheld from them too. And I think that is a very important component that should be added to the bill.”
The intent of the bill is to help employees determine if their wages are being properly calculated to increase employer accountability and protect workers from errors, according to the bill statement.
Auth’s amendment would have strengthened the intent of the bill by directly showing employees the sum of their employer’s calculation. Democrats did not make a statement explaining their reasons for voting against the amendment.
“It’s not hostile; I thought it truly incumbent on us. We are showing the employee all the hourly wage, amount of time, and all these things that are all very important, I agree. But I think it’s important for us to show the employee how much is being withheld in a highlighted way,” said Auth.
Since the beginning of Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration, Democrats have increased payroll taxes on workers by raising the minimum wage and expanding family-leave benefits, which increased the taxable wage base by 382 percent. Meanwhile, payroll tax rates for disability and family leave have decreased by .02 percent and .01 percent, respectively, from 2018 to 2019 as a result of reforms under the Christie administration.
“I believe that people should see how much they earn. I also find it equally important that they see how much is taken away. I am disappointed that the Democrats don’t want workers to know the extent of their taxes,” Auth said after the hearing.